How does your area provide art to all?

The arts are sometimes criticized for catering only to the elite of our society, with admission prices and other costs far above the means of many members of the community.  How can arts organizations help to bridge this gap and provide access to those of low income, while also maintaining the income they need to budget for high quality work?

One common method is to provide specific performances that are “pay what you will.”  This can work well, allowing patrons attending those performances to pay the amount they are comfortable with.

Arts for AllBut here in the Portland, OR area, our Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) has coordinated another approach.  The “Arts for All” program enables those on low income to access performing arts at most any performance of any participating organization in the area very affordably.

Oregon Trail Card

Patrons who have an “Oregon Trail” card can show it at the box office of a participating organization and receive a ticket to the performance for only $5.  The Oregon Trail Card, or EBT card, is Oregon State’s method for providing food and other discounts to those in need. Details on the card can be found at: http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/ASSISTANCE/FOOD-BENEFITS/Pages/Oregon-Trail-Card.aspx.

The RACC Arts For All program is detailed at https://racc.org/artsforall/.

How does your organization or area provide for those in need when it comes to performing arts programs?  If you don’t currently have a program such as Arts For All, how might you help develop something similar?

When we introduce the arts to under-served groups within our communities, we build a love of the arts, we may allow new people to discover a formerly unknown passion, and everyone wins.

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