What We Do

Russian Lounge

In 2011 to mark the Centre’s 40th anniversary Vladimir Potanin made a donation to the John F. Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts (Washington). The funds gave an opportunity to present American audiences with an image of contemporary Russia and to create the Russian Lounge.

Through decades the Kennedy Centre has been playing an important role in fostering understanding between the two countries, encouraging cultural links, exchanges and bringing people together. Over the long years of its history, the Centre has provided support to Russian arts and welcomed Russian opera and ballets of the Bolshoi and Mariinsky theatres. For 17 years maestro Mstislav Rostropovich was the Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra. In 2009 a 2-year cultural tour of Russian arts began which celebrated the rich cultural influence of Russia in the performing arts.

The Vladimir Potanin Foundation commissioned Natalia Zolotova, a renowned curator, to design a new space with an atmosphere of a Russian cultural presence in the two rooms of the Box Tier. It was decided to avoid any historical or visual stereotypes enjoyed by the tourist industry or mass culture. A design competition was held and famous Russian architects and artists were invited to take on the challenge of the Russian Lounge.

The Vladimir Potanin Foundation, working closely with the Kennedy Center, and with the support from the Embassy of Russia to the US, remodeled the Golden Circle Lounge of the Opera House at the Kennedy Center.

In May 2014 the Russian Lounge opened its doors for the audience. Designed by prominent Russia artists Valery Koshlyakov and Sergey Skuratov, the Russian Lounge offers a unique vision of Russia stepping aside traditional clichés. 

Today the Russian Lounge is the implementation of the winning project produced by the two outstanding Russian artists – architect Sergey Skuratov and artist Valery Koshlyakov who were selected by the Foundation and the Kennedy Centre. The renovated room witnesses a rare occurrence in the art today – the interaction between an architect and an artist. The space has become a powerful art venue in harmony with the general architectural style of the Kennedy Centre where the visitors can feel the energy and talent of its creators.

Photo: Alain Jaramillo
Welcome to the Russian Lounge. Presentation

The Kennedy Center: Russian Lounge. Video