Explore Volunteering

Volunteer weekly as a Friend of the Kennedy Center, or serve when you can as a Festival/Event volunteer!

There are two special subgroups when applying for either the Friends or Festival/Event team: NexGenFriends, volunteers age 40 and under, and Global Friends, volunteers from other countries. 

How you can serve


The Friends program was founded in 1965, and over a half century later, the Friends continue to provide invaluable service every day of the year.

Friends serve in nine areas throughout the Center, including tours, Retail Operations, the Millennium Stage, the Visitors Center, and the REACH.

Festival/Event Volunteers

Love to volunteer, love the arts, but have only a limited amount of time available? Consider joining the Festival/Event team of volunteers, who assist the Friends with one-day opportunities, festivals, Opera in the Outfield, and more!

Implemented in 2010, there are now over 2,500 individuals serving as part of this group, with more joining every day. 

Global Friends

Hailing from 65 countries, Global Friends are a special group of volunteers who believe that supporting the arts is a message that needs to be spread globally. 

Global Friends assist either as Friends or Festival/Event volunteers.


Bond with other volunteers age 40 and under who love the arts and want to serve.

NexGenFriends are advocates for volunteers support in the arts and assist with promoting Kennedy Center performances.

NexGenFriends assist either as Friends or Festival/Event volunteers.

Friends over the years

Since the inception of the Friends program, volunteers have been an important part of this vibrant institution. We would love for you to consider giving your time and joining in!

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.



Find out what the volunteers are up to by reading our newsletter!


  • My working in a department replete with millennials is one of my most rewarding experiences. From them, I'm able to keep up with what's going on in stage production, video broadcasting, and technology. 

    Vivian Lock

    Multimedia broadcaster

  • Thank you, Kennedy Center, for the 'mental health benefit' of giving tours for the past 49 years!

    Geri Lewis

    Tour guide since 1968

  • I view my volunteering at the Kennedy Center as an escape from the run-of-the-mill life to an exhilarating atmosphere where the arts prevail. Helping patrons in that atmosphere is a gift to me and I feel better about myself for doing it. 

    Barbara Swecker

    Visitors Center

Volunteer Story: Geri Lewis

Geri Lewis has given tours of the Kennedy Center since 1968, 3 years before Leonard Bernstein's MASS marked its inauguration. Watch as she talks about her adventures—50 years and counting—as a Friend of the Kennedy Center.

Apply now

Friends: Volunteer weekly

Festival/Event volunteers: Serve when you can

Global Friends: For international arts lovers. Serve as a Friend or a Festival/Event volunteer 

NexGenFriends: For arts lovers 40 and under. Serve as a Friend or a Festival/Event volunteer