June 23 (UPI) -- The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced on Tuesday that it is delaying the 43rd annual Kennedy Center Honors and the 23rd annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Kennedy Center Honors will now take place on March 7, 2021 and air at a later date on CBS. The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor will be presented on June 20, 2021 followed by a later broadcast on PBS.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has canceled most previously announced performances and events through the end of 2020 including the National Symphony Orchestra Opening Night Gala that was set to take place on Sept. 26.
The center's leadership, programming and education teams are exploring ways to present digital and physically distant programming that falls within D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser's current guidelines for re-opening.
New programming will be announced in July. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts expects to lose an estimated $45.7 million in tickets sales and other earned income during the 2020-2021 season. The center will be looking at cost saving measures to protect as many staff and artistic positions as possible.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts closed on March 13 and has provided digital programming through YouTube and Facebook.
"Our lives as we have known them have been upended by COVID-19, but the world continues to spin forward and we need artists now more than ever to help light the way," Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter said in a statement.
"I am deeply proud of our staff and artists who have been forging new digital stages for audiences in the nation's capital and across the country and I am equally excited by the work being done to safely allow us to experience the arts once again in person as well. For our patrons with tickets to fall performances, we do as for your patience and flexibility as we readjust season schedules," she continued.