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Camelot Comes to Walnut Creek

Famous photos of President Kennedy and family star at the Bedford Gallery


Even though historians and gossip writers have spent the past four decades exposing John F. Kennedy’s flaws as a person and a president, the myth of Camelot has been indelibly etched in the popular imagination. For many of us, JFK will forever remain a visionary world leader assassinated at the peak of his greatness, as well as a loving husband and father whose young family embodied America’s post–World War II prosperity and idealism.

Look magazine photojournalist Stanley Tretick was a key contributor to this myth. After befriending Kennedy during the 1960 campaign, he was invited by the new president to shoot up-close, personal photos of Kennedy with his glamorous wife, Jacqueline, and their adorable young children, Caroline and John Jr. The images have entered our collective visual memory. And now they are coming to the Bedford Gallery in the Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. The exhibition, The Kennedy Years: Photographs from the Archives of Stanley Tretick, runs from February 5 through    April 16.

The gallery, along with cohost John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, is pulling out all the stops for this exhibit. Kennedy family members and other notables are scheduled to come to Walnut Creek to celebrate the show with a gala reception and a special lecture series. Tickets to any of these events are available by calling (925) 943-7469 or by visiting www.dlrca.org.

February 4: Private gallery tour with Kitty Kelley, best-selling biographer of Jacqueline Kennedy and other celebrities and politicians. 4:30–5:30 p.m., $150 per person, includes admission to opening night gala.

February 4: Opening Night Gala. California First Lady Maria Shriver, niece of John F. Kennedy, and Kitty Kelley are invited guests. 6–8 p.m., Bedford Gallery, $75 per person.

February 22 and March 25: Kennedy Speaker Series. “Living Out the Legacy,” February 22. Ted Kennedy Jr., a health-care attorney and son of Senator Ted Kennedy, will talk about growing up a Kennedy and living with a disability. “The Camera Doesn’t Lie: Social Change Through Documentary Filmmaking,” March 25. Filmmaker Rory Kennedy, daughter of Senator Robert Kennedy, will speak on using documentary film to inspire social action. 7:30 p.m., $35 per person or $50 for two lectures.

March 22: John F. Kennedy University President Steven Stargardter will discuss how the exhibit illustrates Kennedy’s life and presidential contributions. 10 a.m., Bedford Gallery, $7 per person. Reservations required. Call (925) 295-1417.

April 10: “The Vision of JFK: Still in Focus.” Academic panel with John F. Kennedy University President Steven Stargardter and Vernice Solimar, professor of holistic studies, who will discuss Kennedy’s life and legacy. 7:30 p.m., free tickets available at the Dean Lesher Regional Center ticket office. 

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