ALBANY ─ After being delayed nearly a month by Hurricane Michael, young professionals in the Albany area will be able to party in funkadelic style on Friday when the AMA Contemporaries bring “What the Funk” to the Albany Museum of Art.
“Funk is inclusive,” said Beau Sinyard, a member of the Contemporaries Committee. “It’s fun, it crosses gender barriers, it crosses economic barriers and it crosses racial barriers.”
Set for 7:30-9:30 p.m. at the AMA, “What the Funk” will feature music by DJ Billy Ocean, a cash bar and ‘70s-themed food, including local favorite Jimmie’s hot dogs. Those attending will get three complimentary drink tickets, a chance to view the museum’s three galleries and a sneak peek at the Saturday Holiday Open House at the Hodges Sales Gallery, where locally created art and jewelry will be on display and AMA members get a 10 percent discount on gift purchases.
Admission to the event, sponsored by Phoebe Family Physicians, is free for those who have Contemporaries membership at the museum ($15 per adult in a $75 or higher family membership). With “What the Funk” and two more Contemporaries events coming this season, that still is an appealing option. Advance tickets for non-members are $30, with the price at the door $35. Tickets may be purchased online at albanymuseum.com/contemporaries or by calling (229) 439-8400.
“The Albany Museum of Art is setting the standard for young professional organizations in Albany,” AMA Executive Director Paula Williams said. “The Contemporaries represent the next generation of leadership for the Museum, so this is about connecting a young audience with each other — and having fun.
“Our goal is to build a flourishing community and to help grow the AMA’s collection while mingling with friends and enjoying the artwork here. This group has an opportunity to engage with the arts and champion the AMA. We encourage both the young and young-at-heart to join the museum and become involved in the museum’s activities throughout the year.”
Bridges said Friday’s event will build upon the Contemporaries’ inaugural event at the AMA last summer.
”The first event (‘Bar Fight’ on July 26) was a lot of fun and incredibly successful,” Bridges said. “We had more than 300 people there. For this event, we’re expecting no less than that. On Facebook, we’ve got more people saying they’re coming now (a week out) than we did on the night of the last event. That speaks for itself.”
A fan of funk music, Contemporaries co-chairwoman Julia Temples said she will dress in a way “expressing my style.”
While dressing in funk style is not required, it’s being encouraged.
“We left it open,” Temples said. “People shouldn’t feel like they have to dress up like that. This is just about getting people back out and having fun.”
And just what is funky attire? Sinyard said it’s “whatever that means to you, whatever you feel is funky.”
Contemporaries events this season are usually set for Thursday nights, but “What the Funk” was scheduled for Friday so that it wouldn’t compete with the Corey Smith concert — which was twice postponed — set for Thursday at the downtown Veterans Park Amphitheatre.
“I think that’ll actually be advantageous for us,” Sinyard said. “The last event was a huge success. It was a lot of fun, and it was a great way to get young people from throughout Southwest Georgia involved in the Albany Museum of Art.”
The Contemporaries events also allow young professionals in the area to get outside their “personal social bubbles,” he said.
“There are folks I’d like to hang out with and just never seem to have the chance,” Sinyard said. “But they’re here and I’m here, and we suddenly all get to hang out together and have a good time. And it also proves that this art museum is not just for older people. It also can be an exciting place for a younger crowd.”
Following the hurricane, the storm cleanup and the contentious election season, “What the Funk” is a an opportunity for people to relax, enjoy themselves and find reasons to come together, he said.
“People are fatigued after the hurricane, and the elections seem to just split the community down the middle,” Sinyard said. “They just want to do something different, something fun.”
The Contemporaries are adding to the foundation of the Albany Museum of Art’s mission of building and strengthening community through art.
“We’re going to continue to have these events,” Sinyard said, “and they are going to continue bringing our community closer together.”