Kennedy Center Reviews

Updated Jan 26, 2021

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3.3
45%
Recommend to a Friend
66%
Approve of CEO
Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter (no image)
Deborah F. Rutter
44 Ratings
Pros
  • "Jobs here can be a great start to a career continued at other organizations- great place to cut your teeth(in 7 reviews)

  • "Discounted tickets to performances(in 6 reviews)

Cons
More Pros and Cons
Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.
  1. "Excellent place to begin a career in the arts!"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Administrative Assistant in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Kennedy Center part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Positive work environment, great benefits, wonderful mentors.

    Cons

    Limited office space, work/life balance can sometimes be hard to find.

    Continue reading
  2. "Development"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

    I have been working at Kennedy Center full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    It is a very collaborative working environment

    Cons

    You will sometimes have to work weekends


  3. "great place to start a development career"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Development Assistant in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Kennedy Center full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    attention to detail is superior. great place to start if you are interested in philanthropy. this is a large development shop where you will see best-in-class development practices, but because it is so big, there is an inability to innovate and do things differently. a big 'this is the way we have always done it' culture. opportunity to move up is there, but competitive. great benefits, awful pay.

    Cons

    not a lot of diversity. high turnover in the department. old-school management. lack of training for new managers.

  4. "Great place to get your start / unsustainable work-life balance"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Program Coordinator 
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Kennedy Center full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Access to amazing artists and programs, great coworkers who are passionate about the arts, great place to work when you're newly graduated/entering the work force

    Cons

    Work/life balance is very difficult, not much room for growth in terms of moving up to new positions and new salary, institution can be set in its old ways and processes

  5. "Preschool Teacher"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Preschool Teacher 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Kennedy Center full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    The pay is good compared to other companies

    Cons

    It doesn’t have much morale

  6. Helpful (2)

    "Long hours, low pay / Good benefits, fun perks"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous 

    I have been working at Kennedy Center full-time

    Pros

    Check out the cons - the pros are buried within

    Cons

    If you live and breathe the arts (i.e., you're willing to give them a huge chunk of your personal time over the course of your life, and you're willing to forego a much better salary you could make elsewhere), then the Kennedy Center is the place for you. Healthcare coverage and costs are excellent (though getting less and less so, as they look to shave overhead costs). And the perk of discounted tickets is nice if you tend to spend a lot of your hard-earned income on cultural experiences, and if you're willing to keep your schedule open up to the last minute in order to see if discounts will be offered to staff. Young people are valued for their willingness to work long hours for entry-level pay, which explains why there is such a high turnover in several departments there. Young people tend to work there to get solid experience in a top arts organization, and then leave after a year or two to move on to a much more impressive job title and salary. Mid-level managers and those with years of "institutional knowledge" tend not to be valued there as much as they used to be. These employees are typically referred to as "legacy" employees by senior management, and their insight and experience is rarely respected - it's rather seen as more of an obstacle to "innovation" and putting butts in seats. Quantity over quality, and chaos over communication, is the name of the game. Over the past few years, the culture there has moved to an "ask forgiveness, not permission" sensibility. You'll be told dozens of times that thousands of people would kill to have the job you do for half the salary you make, because you work in the arts and you're just lucky to be where you are. Ok, sure! Not everyone is there to just talk a big talk, though. Look for the helpers. They are there, hidden, and nice, doing the real work.

  7. "Amazing Community of Colleagues"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Assistant Manager Advertising Marketing in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Kennedy Center full-time

    Pros

    Good benefits, access to shows (sometime), and shared camaraderie for the arts.

    Cons

    Lack of transparency from executives at times.

    Continue reading
  8. "Treated me well, grateful for my time there"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Graduate Student in Durham, NC
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Kennedy Center full-time

    Pros

    Supportive atmosphere, good colleagues, the ability to do work that meaningfully impacts the art we produced

    Cons

    A little bit of the harried feeling that you're always behind, there aren't quite enough people to do what needs to be done, and turnover that plagues most non-profits

  9. "Good place to work"

    5.0
    Current Employee - Software Engineer 

    I have been working at Kennedy Center full-time

    Pros

    The culture and work life balance

    Cons

    i liked everything about this place

  10. Helpful (2)

    ""Old American Institution...""

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Assistant Manager in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Kennedy Center full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great benefits and good people to work with at the AM level

    Cons

    The first time anyone told me anything about the Kennedy Center was that "it is an old American institution, and that means everything you think it means." If you know you know. You have to work in the Kennedy Center, which means all of the offices are in the negative spaces between the theater and the outside walls (aka no windows and low ceilings with pipes overhead) low light levels, and occasionally mice. In my time here there have been restructurings in the department, which were not transparent. They made an effort to solicit our feedback but ignored most of if not all of it. Benefits are good, but the pay is very low. Especially considering that the DMV area is a very expensive region for the cost of living. Limited opportunities for growth or professional development. Seems like there was a lot of bad financial management at the senior leadership level as well.

    Continue reading
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