Joe and Jill Biden attended the Kennedy Center Honors on Sunday evening in Washington to celebrate five individuals and groups for their artistic accomplishments.
The president and the first lady first went to the annual event in their current offices in 2021, donning masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Donald and Melania Trump, the Bidens’ predecessors, skipped the celebration, which is customarily attended by the president.)
This year, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts honored actor and human rights activist George Clooney, singer Amy Grant, performer Gladys Knight, composer and conductor Tania León and Irish band U2.
“Growing up in a small town in Kentucky I could never have imagined that someday I’d be the one sitting in the balcony at the Kennedy Center Honors. To be mentioned in the same breath with the rest of these incredible artists is an honor. This is a genuinely exciting surprise for the whole Clooney family,” Clooney said in a statement on the Kennedy Center’s website.
Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff were also slated to attend Sunday night’s event.
The Bidens’ appearance came after the couple welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron for a state visit last week. The president also traveled to Boston to greet Prince William at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
The center each year honors artists for their impact on American culture. Honorees celebrated in 2021 included “Saturday Night Live” showrunner Lorne Michaels, singer and actress Bette Midler and singer Joni Mitchell.
The celebration often serves as a magnet for Washington politicos and Hollywood mainstays, drawing them to the Kennedy Center, situated on the Potomac River in the nation’s capital.
The recipients of this year’s Kennedy Center Honors were announced in July.
Besides recognizing honorees’ artistic talents and contributions, the ceremony is also intended to raise money for the Kennedy Center, which puts on an array of shows throughout the year.