How to Apply to the Friends Program | Requirements for Participation | Volunteer Services

Download FriendScript Newsletter [requires Adobe Acrobat]

The Friends of the Kennedy Center is an organization of more than 500 volunteers who contribute more than 75,000 hours of service around the building each year. The purpose of the Friends program is to provide Kennedy Center visitors and patrons with timely, accurate, and consistent information about the Center's programs and activities, and to be a primary source of administrative assistance behind the scenes at the Center.

Friends volunteers lead tours of the Center's theaters, lounges, and artworks every day of the year except Christmas and New Year's Day. They also staff the Center's Public Information Desk, offering help on topics ranging from performance schedules to the locations of the Center's restaurants. The Friends administer the Kennedy Center's Specially Priced Tickets (SPT) program, which makes half-price tickets for most performances available to students, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, enlisted military personnel, and other persons with fixed low incomes.

Friends volunteers also work in the Kennedy Center Gift Shops and in the member lounges that are open during performances. On the day of the Open House Arts Festival each fall, volunteers serve as guides directing foot traffic, as elevator operators, and as entertainers. Behind the scenes, they work in the Center's administrative offices, performing tasks necessary to the Center's continuing operation.

How to Apply to the Friends Program

If you are interested in becoming a Friends volunteer, please call the Friends office at (202) 416-8320 to receive an application form. You can also mail your request for an application to the following address:

Friends of the Kennedy Center
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Washington, DC 20566-0001

Click Here to Download the Application [requires Adobe Acrobat]

All interested persons must complete an application form and return it to the Friends office prior to orientation and training. All information is held in the strictest confidence. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

The initial orientation/training cycle includes a three-month transition period. All elements of performance are evaluated during this period, before permanent acceptance to the program is granted.

Requirements for Participation

The Friends program welcomes all individuals who meet the following requirements, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, or national origin.

Applicants to the Friends program:

Volunteers receive the following benefits during the three-month transition period:

Volunteer Services

Administrative Offices | Friendscript | Guided Tours | Gift Shops
Public Information Center | Volunteer Advisory Committee

Friends volunteer services operate every day of the year unless otherwise indicated. The weekly four-hour volunteer time slots are known as shifts. Unless otherwise indicated, daily shifts are from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., 2 p.m. - 6 p.m., and 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Friday evening shifts (6 p.m. - 9 p.m.), as well as all shifts on Saturday and all shifts on Sunday, are optional flex shifts. For these shifts, volunteers may arrange to report every other week for their volunteer assignments.

Administrative Offices

Regular four-hour shifts Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.; weekly on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., and as projects warrant.

The various offices of the Kennedy Center receive assistance from volunteers during regular business hours. Volunteers are responsible for receptionist and clerical needs in the Friends office, assisting with membership services, special events, subscription services, and assigned and special projects as they arise.


The Official Newsletter of the Friends of the Kennedy Center Meetings monthly.

Friendscript is an official publication of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, written, edited, and composed monthly by Friends volunteers in partnership with salaried staff. Friendscript helps keep the Center informed on internal activities, featuring articles about volunteer areas, special events, and individual members of the Kennedy Center family. Journalistic/writing, desktop publishing, and/or photography experience is helpful, though not required. This area does not qualify as a regular shift assignment.

Guided Tours

Regular four-hour shifts daily, Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. or 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Friends volunteers provide regular tours of the Center to the general public, specially arranged tours for Congressional constituents, and VIP tours. All tours are free of charge, although donations are encouraged. Guided tours extend to our visitors an opportunity to explore the Center's theaters, the Presidential boxes, the reception lounges, and the many gifts given to the Center by the nations of the world to honor the memory of President Kennedy. The final weekday tour begins at 5 p.m., and the final weekend tour begins at 1 p.m. Guided tours are not given on Christmas Day (December 25) and New Year's Day (January 1).

Gift Shops

Regular four-hour shifts daily, 10 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.

Prime attractions for our 3 million annual visitors, the Kennedy Center Gift Shops produce significant revenue to offset expenses of the Center's performing arts and public service programming. Friends volunteers in the Gift Shops are celebrated for their superb customer service and friendliness. Volunteers are responsible for greeting and assisting visitors and patrons with merchandise choices, as well as computerized sales transactions (by cash, check, and credit card), and upkeep and appearance of the Shops and their merchandise. Retail experience and computer literacy are helpful; retail orientation is mandatory. This is not a seated position.

Public Information Center

Regular four-hour shifts daily, 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Often the first contact a visitor has at the Kennedy Center, the Friends volunteers at the Public Information Center (PIC) in the Hall of States are the Center's front-line ambassadors. PIC volunteers are responsible for providing a cordial welcome to all visitors and patrons; distributing information on the Presidential memorial, performances, available services at the Kennedy Center such as the many free performances and events, guided tours, and the Specially Priced Ticket (SPT) program, which provides discounted tickets for persons with disabilities, senior citizens, students, and enlisted military personnel ranked E1-E4.

Volunteer Advisory Committee

Eligibility open after one year of service to the Friends program

The Volunteer Advisory Committee (VAC) is an elected volunteer board of representatives from each volunteer area within the Friends of the Kennedy Center volunteer program, as well as non-voting representatives from The National Symphony Orchestra's Education and Women's Committees, the Washington Opera, the Washington Performing Arts Center, and other volunteer organizations within the Center. Members consult and advise the Friends program on matters involving and affecting volunteers of the area they represent. The VAC Chairperson is an ex officio member of the Kennedy Center Community and Friends Board, which comprises community leaders from the greater Washington area, as well as the Chairman, President, and other senior administrative officers of the Kennedy Center.

RSVP provides eligible volunteers with free liability and accident insurance from the time you leave your home for your volunteer assignment until you return. RSVP also reimburses eligible volunteers for public transportation expenses, as well as parking in the Kennedy Center Garage during regular volunteer hours and approved Friends volunteer activities. Although enrollment is optional, Friends volunteers who are eligible for RSVP can save the Kennedy Center thousands of dollars each year. Ask about RSVP at your orientation.