Young Friends of Art know how to have fun.

Image22Young Friends of Art (YFA) is a group of Nelson-Atkins members in their 20s and 30s who are passionate about supporting the arts and culture in Kansas City. The group began 26 years ago and accounts for more than 300 members.

Like many of our members, I was introduced to the organization through a friend. I was new to Kansas City and an old college buddy, who volunteered with YFA’s Steering Committee, invited me to Poetry Pileup (think Magnetic Poetry with cocktails and prizes). After that evening, I was hooked. A year and three fridge-worthy poems later, I joined the Steering Committee myself.

Now that I’m behind the scenes, I appreciate the programming we offer even more. Our monthly Second Friday Happy Hours are a unique opportunity to catch up with old friends, engage with new contacts, and see the latest and greatest at the museum. They’re casual, free, and open to all. We also host artist meet and greets, and annual events like Art Trivia Smackdown in February and White Party, our big summer bash, in July.

But we’re best known for Party Arty, a glamorous celebration held every January. Planned over the course of 10 months this signature event raises more than $100,000 each year, funds which go keep the Nelson-Atkins a free and stunning attraction for the entire region.

This year’s theme was Eternal Spring, a nod to the museum’s upcoming exhibition, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Masterpieces of Modern Mexico from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, which runs from May 25 through August 18. For one night only, party-goers basked in the aura and allure of a lush indoor paradise complete with white orchids, the sultry sounds of marimba music, a live muralist, and even a peacock or two. Everyone enjoyed fabulous food and premiere cocktails while DJs kept the dance floor going all night long.

From poetry to parties and everything in between, Young Friends of Art is the ideal way to connect with other young professionals. And joining is easy! Simply become a member of the Nelson-Atkins Museum, and select YFA as your special interest group. Members receive free parking, free admission to special exhibitions, discounted tickets to events like Party Arty, and even 10 percent off at KC Originals restaurants. The benefits are endless, but none is greater than supporting a place so vital to Kansas City.

So make plans to join us at an upcoming event! Stop in for one of our Second Friday Happy Hours, or reserve your spot for Pinot & Pottery, a night to learn about sculpture, enjoy a cocktail or two, and create your own ceramic piece in the Nelson-Atkins Education Center. Find all the details and more on our Facebook page,

–Erin Canty


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