Last year, members of Go Classical PDX, an association ofclassical music organizations in the Portland tri-county region, designed Music for All to offer deeply discounted tickets to locals in need. Portland arts organizations, such as Portland BaroqueOrchestra, Portland Youth Philharmonic and Friends of Chamber Music, built this program from scratch, and took what they learned last season to expand the program, reaching performing arts groups of many disciplines.
When Music for All returned they chose October 3rd, during Oregon Days of Culture, the 8-day week celebrating arts, heritage and humanities roles in our daily lives, under a new name – Artsfor All – 32 arts organizations spanning disciplines such as theater, dance and music were also on board, practically tripling the options.
Afterthe pilot season, word spread among Portland arts organizations about theeffectiveness of this program in breaking down barriers; Go Classical led thecampaign to expand the program beyond classical music. By this fall, 20 more groupssigned up, representing a full range of performing arts. Five-dollar ticketswill now be available from organizations across the arts spectrum, such asPortland Center Stage and NW Dance Project. Details on all the participatingorganizations and the mechanism for purchasing tickets are available at artsforallpdx.org.
Ross McKeen managing director of Oregon Children’s Theatre,explains why they joined on: “Providing opportunities for all kids and theirfamilies to experience the performing arts is at the heart of our mission. WhenMusic for All was launched last year, my first thought was, ‘What a great idea.I wish we could be part of that.’ Now, with the expansion of the program asArts for All, we’re joining our colleagues in removing barriers to access tothe arts.”
Hunger remains a significant problem in Oregon. One in fivehouseholds in the state have an Oregon Trail card that’s part of the federalSNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) plan. Nationally, that numberis one in seven households. Arts for All helps make life-enriching arts eventsand experiences more accessible and affordable for these citizens and is madepossible by the support of participating arts organizations, the Regional Arts& Culture Council (RACC), Work for Art, the City of Portland and AllClassical 89.9 FM.
SNAP enrollees can buy a minimum of two tickets for five dollarseach to eligible events by showing their Oregon Trail Card at the time ofpurchase and paying with personal funds. SNAP benefits cannot be used topurchase tickets or other non-food items.
For those wishing to buy five-dollar tickets, a complete andregularly updated list of participating arts organizations is available at artsforallpdx.org. All ticket costs are sponsored in-kind byparticipating organizations; printing and marketing are sponsored by Work forArt, RACC, Business for Culture and the Arts, and the City of Portland; marketingdistribution is in partnership with the Multnomah branch of the OregonDepartment of Human Services.
If you know anyone who might benefit from this program, pleasespread the word.