Arts pass looks to introduce students to arts

For nearly five years, the West Bank Arts Quarter threw around ideas about how to collectively introduce students to the arts community on campus. This year, they hope they figured it out. The Arts Pass , now on sale, is a new season-ticket program allowing students to attend a number of campus arts events for a discounted price. Director of University Theatre & Dance Sherry Wagner-Henry , who helped create the pass, said the idea was generated a few years ago, but couldnâÄôt become a reality until the University centralized all ticketing into one system last year. âÄúThe biggest challenge was once we figured out [the departments] could do it together, was figuring out how to get the word out,âÄù she said. Similar to athletics season tickets, the Arts Pass can be purchased for $50, giving students six vouchers for performances from the School of Music , the West Bank Arts Quarter and a number of other on-campus arts venues. University Opera Theatre is one of the many groups participating in the pass program. Director of Opera Theatre David Walsh said he hopes students will be encouraged to try out different types of shows performed on campus. âÄúThe opera is a very dynamic art form,âÄù he said. âÄúPeople mistakenly connect it âÄî I hate to use the cliché âÄî but fat people just standing on stage singing.âÄù No matter what the show entails, Wash said students may be surprised at the high level of performance within their own peer group. âÄúWe have the difficulty of persuading students or the general public that what we have to offer is high caliber,âÄù he said. Students donâÄôt need to spend $40 or $50 at another venue in the Twin Cities to see a good show because the students in the art departments are talented and will soon be professionals, Walsh said. Theatre arts senior Doug Tiede said students shouldnâÄôt be intimidated about coming to shows if they havenâÄôt before. âÄúI hope that [the Arts Pass] gets new people coming over to this side of campus to see things that fellow students work hard to put on every year,âÄù he said. The Arts Pass has the potential to give anyone on campus the opportunity to get involved with the arts without knowing much about it, junior theatre arts major Rachel Piersdorf said. Student tickets usually run about $10 for each individual show, so Piersdorf said those who purchase the Arts Pass essentially get one free ticket âÄî or six shows for the price of five. Alicia Bernards , a sociology sophomore, said if she had extra money this semester she would definitely buy the pass. âÄúI am a huge supporter of the arts,âÄù she said. âÄú[Fifty dollars] is a really good price considering football tickets are more expensive and not nearly as entertaining.âÄù But not all students thought the pass would be worth the money. Pre-physical therapy first-year Jordan Nelson said he doesnâÄôt attend plays enough to purchase the Arts Pass. âÄúI go to shows every once and a while,âÄù he said. âÄúBut I would rather purchase tickets separately.âÄù Nelson said he did think the pass was well advertised to new students, however, because some of his friends in the residence halls mentioned looking into purchasing one. First-year students and transfers were the target of the Arts Pass marketing, Wagner-Henry said. âÄúWe want to establish a climate of going to and attending the arts in addition to all of the other things you can do like sports or events at Coffman,âÄù she said. Walsh said there is a lot of diverse art going on at the University and he wants to make students aware. âÄú[The Arts Pass] is like an appetizer plate,âÄù he said. âÄúStudents can try out a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and hopefully be stimulated to come again.âÄù