Kansas City is full of individual and collective creative talent. With all this talent in one place, how does a young professional meet the right people? There are two well established organizations that support the creative professionals and students of Kansas City: The American Advertising Federation– KC (AAF-KC) and the American Institute of Graphic Arts– KC (AIGA-KC). Joining one or both of these organizations is a great way to get to know your community, network with professionals, aid in a job search and create greater visibility of your work in the Kansas City creative community.
Who are the members?
Advertising and design agencies big and small, in-house creative departments, designers, illustrators, art directors, creative directors, writers, photographers, architects, printers, videographers, animators, educators and students.
Benefits of membership
Expand your world. Go beyond your school experience and add a level of professional interaction to your life. Build professional relationships with diverse creative individuals from all over the city. These new relationships will serve you today and well into your professional future.
Get exposed. Attending, participating, and volunteering in the club events will broaden your professional community. You will gain a better understanding of the types of creative agencies located in KC and the kinds of clients they serve. Volunteer for events. You may be volunteering for an event alongside a creative leader who is looking for their next hire. Now, they know who YOU are.
Be part of a community. Participation in these organizations will allow you create friendships with other like-minded creative folks. Share your work, share your experiences, inspire and be inspired.
Get noticed. Enter the competitions held annually such as the AAF-KC’s ADDY awards and AIGA-KC’s A9 awards. Both have student categories for entry. Getting your work selected and gaining recognition for amazing work gets you in front of the creative doers, thinkers and decision makers in KC. These folks pay attention to student winners recognized at these events.
Attend events and presentations. Take advantage of the opportunity to see and hear nationally known creative leaders and thinkers speak right here in KC. Some past AAF-KC speakers include: Art Chantry, David Carson, Gary Baseman and Chip Kidd. Who knows, you may even get to meet one or two of them.
In a Nutshell: What is the AAF-KC?
The AAF-KC is an advertising club in Kansas City founded in 1902. AAF-KC is a member club of the American Advertising Federation (AAF), a national network of 200 local chapters within 15 districts across the United States, representing 40,000 members. Kansas City is one of the largest chapters with 1,200 members. There are two clubs within the AAF-KC tailored to individual members specific needs.
Art+Copy Club provides more creatively inclined events. Members include designers, illustrators, copywriters, art directors, photographers, printers and others in the creative realm of advertising on both the agency and client sides. Art+Copy events include: Clio Reel Party, Speaker Series, Gallery Night and the Cheeky Award.
Ad 2 provides more networking events for members 32 and under. Ad 2 events include: Virtual Agency, Art of the Call and Ad Wars. Membership to AAF-KC gives access to any event held by the entire organization.
The annual ADDY awards attract the best of the best creative shops in Kansas City. This juried event showcases the foremost work of the past year. The upcoming ADDY awards will take place February 15, 2014. The student deadline for entries is January 13, 2014. There is still time to enter.
In a Nutshell: What is AIGA-KC?
AIGA was founded in 1914 and is the oldest organization with a focus on exceptional design and its disciplines. AIGA includes more than 22,000 members in 66 chapters around the United States. AIGA Kansas City was founded in 1989, and now is a chapter of more than 450 members. Local student chapters include KCAI’s Graphic Design Group. This group organizes social and educational events that enhance the school experience for students. This is a great way to expand your creative world beyond your school courses.
AIGA-KC hosts a number of special events and speakers. More recent events include: Homegrown: Music, (Guest: Tyler Galloway, KCAI Design Chair), Get Schooled at Paper + Printing 101, Open Studios: Garmin and the A9 Gala & Exhibition to name a few.
AIGA-KC’s annual juried design exhibition, A9, was recently held this past September. The event featured the best design from professionals and students in the field. There were over 400 entries submitted with only 76 pieces chosen for the exhibition. This is a great venue for a student to get noticed for exceptional work in Kansas City.
Find the right club for you. One or both might be a good fit. AAF-KC is focused on advertising while AIGA-KC is more focused on design. Both have cross over appeal (great design and Illustration) and both have benefits for the student and professionals. AAF-KC and AIGA-KC both have tiered membership fees for students, making it affordable on a limited budget.
Get started. Becoming a member of these organizations is a great first step. The exposure to great people and great work will open up a world of opportunities for you. These clubs are among the best ways to stay relevant in the ever-changing world.
Join, get involved, attend the events, compete in the competitions and get noticed.