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Here’s a Worry: Will High Gas Prices Hurt Arts Attendance?


by Jerome Weeks 22 Jul 2008

They haven’t so far in Southern California, says the Los Angeles Times: The Pacific Symphony in Irvine had its highest-grossing July Fourth fireworks concert ever, drawing more than 10,000 people to its summer home, the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre — a venue that does not list any mass transit options on its website…. Officials at other […]

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They haven’t so far in Southern California, says the Los Angeles Times:

The Pacific Symphony in Irvine had its highest-grossing July Fourth fireworks concert ever, drawing more than 10,000 people to its summer home, the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre — a venue that does not list any mass transit options on its website….

Officials at other cultural destinations — including the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Pasadena Playhouse, the Bowers Museum and Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana and the Laguna Art Museum and Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach — said that shows and exhibitions since the spring run-up in gasoline prices have drawn good crowds or had normal ups and downs….

All the same, some arts organizations have been experimenting with ways to draw people without drawing down gas tanks. For more than a year, the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, with a Red Line subway stop at its doorstep, has been offering a 20% “Wicked Tuesday” discount to Metro riders who present a monthly transit pass. As of two weeks ago, 1,486 riders — or about 25 per week — had seen “Wicked” under the offer. But the takers have slowed to a trickle lately, despite high gasoline prices, said Martin Wiviott, general manager of the Pantages….

Los Angeles Opera, on the other hand, is discontinuing last season’s venture in mass transit, in which it sponsored a single bus from Westwood to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for select weeknight performances of each production.

“It didn’t meet expectations, but we can reinstate it at any time” if the surge in gas prices fuels demand, spokesman Gary Murphy said.

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