Friends of the Kennedy Center Volunteers
Since its inception in 1965, and now into the 21st century, the Friends of the Kennedy Center volunteers have provided invaluable service to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts - eleven hours a day, seven days a week, throughout the year.
The spirit of volunteerism was thriving years before the 1971 opening of the Center, when a small group of dedicated women came together to volunteer in 1965 and worked to raise millions of dollars as a match for the funds donated by Congress. They also solicited embassies for gifts to the Center. This small group evolved into the present-day Friends - women and men, representing multiple generations from around the world, who give their time throughout the year.
Comprising more than 500 members assisting in all areas of the Center, the Friends are a diverse, educated, and arts-loving group who impart a wonderful spirit of selfless participation that serves as a model for volunteerism nationwide. And in addition the satisfaction of their contributions, the volunteers have a lot of fun as well!
Why Be a Friend
I fell in love with the Kennedy Center back in 1977, when I was a young girl seeing my first musical. I was mesmerized by the debut of "Annie" all those years ago, and knew the theatre was a special place. As a Friend who has the privilege of sharing the Kennedy Center with visitors from near and far, I feel like I get to experience the magnitude and the beauty of this place over and over through their eyes.
— Rebecca Mandir
I have always been very passionate and in particular regarding the arts. I consider artistic expression exalting to people and one of humanity's greatest and loftiest achievements. Becoming a Friend of the Kennedy Center has been a great match for me, especially because I believe volunteering is one of the most rewarding ways of giving back to our communities. As a Tour Guide, I am able to share my passion for this great institution and the arts with both guests and visitors as well as young and aspiring artists. What better place to be Friends of, right?
— Rafael Urrutia
|Invitation to the Annual Appreciation Volunteer Gala|
|Occasional ticket discounts and complimentary ticket offers|
|A subscription to Friendscript (link to Friendscript), our quarterly newsletter|
|30% discount at the KC Café and Roof Terrace Restaurant|
|25% discount on all purchases in the Kennedy Center Gift Shops|
|Use of the Kennedy Center employee canteen|
|$3 parking rate when volunteer or attending a performance at the Kennedy Center|
Learn More About What the Friends Do
Friends of the Kennedy Center volunteers serve in eight primary volunteer areas:
Whether helping with Dance Programming, Special Events, or other departments at the Kennedy Center, Administration volunteers provide administrative help on a weekly basis for the staff in various areas. Shifts are weekdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m..
Education volunteers assist the Center’s Education staff with projects ranging from translating every Kennedy Center Playbill into Braille to supporting the department’s numerous programs, including Ballet Class Series Auditions Community Partnerships, School Registration, and WNO Opera Series auditions Shifts are weekdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5:30 p. m.
Patron Data volunteers assist the Information Technology staff in maintaining the Kennedy Center’s master patron database, ensuring that the data is up-to-date and accurate. Shifts are weekdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5:30 p. m.
Web Researchers assist the web content staff by gathering and organizing performing arts–related information for the Kennedy Center websites. Web Researchers volunteer on project-by-project basis throughout the year and are able to work from home. Candidates must have excellent writing skills and possess good research skills. .
Artist Liaisons assist staff as the liaison for visiting artists on the Millennium Stage artists, as well as selling the artist merchandise when needed. Experience in the hospitality and retail industries is helpful. Shifts are daily from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.
Concessions volunteers work with staff to assist in selling show-related merchandise, and interact with patrons before performances and during intermissions in front of the theaters. This volunteer position is the perfect fit for anyone with a desire to work with the public. Shifts and times will vary depending on programming.
Gift Shop volunteers have always worked alongside paid staff, providing extraordinary teamwork and exceptional customer service to the Center’s patrons. The Gift Shops volunteers provide excellent customer service, take inventory of merchandise, and operate a cash register. A retail background is preferred but not necessary. Shifts are daily 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; 2 p.m. to 6 p. m.; 6 p.m. to 9 p.m..
Support the Friends
One way to find out more about the Friends—both the organization and its volunteers—is to buy our book, Curtain Up on the Friends, A History of the Friends of the Kennedy Center Volunteers, offers the reader a rich history about the Friends since our inception in 1965. Curtain Up can be found in the Kennedy Center Gift Shops.
Another special item featured in the Kennedy Center Gift Shops that reflects the spirit of volunteerism at the Kennedy Center is a beautiful collection of notecards produced in honor of the Friends volunteers.
Each card features a stunning photograph of the Kennedy Center, as well as information about the Friends Program. To purchase, visit the Kennedy Center Gift Shops!
NexGenFriends are individuals age 35 and under who volunteer at the Kennedy Center either on a weekly basis or as members of the Festival/Event volunteer program.They are a group who actively support the advocacy of volunteer support in the arts, as well as promoting Kennedy Center performances to younger audiences. This fledgling group works closely with the Gen X and millennial populations in Washington, D.C. to achieve these goals. NexGenFriends also enjoy volunteering alongside individuals of all generations, one of the defining traits that makes being a NexGenFriend such a rewarding experience.