The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is a world-renowned arts complex on the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. It opened in 1971 as a living memorial to the 35th President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Designed by architect Edward Durrell Stone, it was built by Philadelphia contractor John McShain and is administered by a bureau of the Smithsonian Institution. It is often referred to as the “National Center for the Performing Arts,” serving as the home of the National Symphony, Washington Ballet, Washington National Opera, and the Washington Performing Arts Society. Thousands of art performances are given annually on the various stages and theaters that exist within the structure.