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Get Free Arts Tickets With Your Dallas Library Card. Here’s How.


by Anne Bothwell 22 Nov 2019

Looking for free tickets to theaters, museums and arts events all around Dallas? Grab your public library card and check out a new program called Culture Pass Dallas.  To find out how it works, I talked to David Fisher, Assistant Director of Cultural Affairs for Dallas, and Heather Lowe, Adult Services Administrator at the library.

Why are arts groups doing this?

DFOne of the things that the cultural plan told us is that we had a great resource, we have a great array of cultural events and arts events already. We have strong organizations of all sizes. But people didn’t know about them. And so what Culture Pass will be able to do is connect with those people. I mean all of the arts groups want more people to attend their events or see their exhibits. Each of the organizations controls their own inventories, and so they really can use it as a way of connecting with thousands of new possible patrons.

Why does the library want to be involved?

HLWell you know the library is all about access. So every time we have an arts program in the library, people are asking for more. It’s pretty much the number one thing people ask for, after, maybe job assistance.

Heather Lowe

And I’m so excited about this because it will really open up opportunities for families, because it’s hard to get a family of four tickets for anything.

And being an arts person myself, I know that so many artists, their first experience with art is at their public library. So it just seems like a great way to give folks access.

And how do you get these tickets?

HLSo you just grab your library card and you go to culturepassdallas.com. Click on “Reserve a ticket,” and scroll through all those great offers.

How did this whole program get started?

DF

David Fisher

Heather and I were first briefed on this idea almost two years ago, right when we were starting the process of the Dallas Cultural Plan. And it was originally presented in a competition in the Dallas Festival of Ideas.

It didn’t win the competition. But we were sitting in the audience and we were like, this is too good a program not to move forward.  So the library got the software, and the Office of Arts and Culture got the groups to participate. And we’re ready to unveil it.

Arts groups in Dallas have for years talked about some way to release free and discounted tickets. And this is handled in different ways in different cities. What was it about this particular program that attracted you?

HLReally for us, it’s the ease of use. this is the same system that News York Public Library uses. The whole state of California has a Discover and Go Pass. It’s the same system that they’re using there.

DFOn the arts and culture side, we look at the libraries as these incredible community hubs that reach engaged people. this is a way for us to connect with, not onlya citywide, there are 29 branches geographically dispersed through the whole city. But thousands and thousands of people with library cards.

HLI think, for the library, this offers an excellent opportunity to get new library users as well, because folks who love the arts and want to go to more things will get a library card. And then we can introduce them to all the things you can get with a library card.

RELATED | Get book recommendations for kids, curated by Dallas librarians every month, on KERA Learn.

And I think the library, we try to view ourselves as a cultural center, especially in those neighborhoods that don’t have access to a lot of cultural opportunities.

And be the conduit.

HLYeah, absolutely.

Here’s the press release from the City of Dallas on the program:

Culture Pass Dallas brings free arts and cultural
experiences to library cardholders

Dallas, Texas — Dallas residents can now “check out” free tickets to Dallas arts cultural events and exhibits. Through a partnership between the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture, the Dallas Public Library, and nearly 30 partner organizations, Culture Pass Dallas gives library cardholders access to free admissions when they “check out” a pass at culturepassdallas.com.  Library cardholders can use these free passes to visit local museums or attend theater, symphony, dance performances and more.

“I grew up going to Dallas public libraries, and I have long been impressed with the system’s offerings of books, movies, and engaging arts programs,” Mayor Eric Johnson said. “I am excited that Dallas residents can also now use their library cards to enjoy our city’s rich cultural scene for free.”

“Culture Pass is a major step forward for all Dallas residents with a library card. For the first time, this card will allow library cardholders to peruse not just books and materials in the Library system but also to scan the offerings at Dallas’ museums and performing arts venues and reserve their tickets. It makes our arts more accessible to all Dallasites!”, says Jennifer Scripps, Director of the Office of Arts and Culture. “We are delighted that by partnering with the Dallas Public Library, the City of Dallas is able to offer Culture Pass as one of the key initiatives to come out of the 2018 Dallas Cultural Plan.”

Dallas joins other cities, counties and states nationwide, including the greater New York City area, State of Arizona, and Minneapolis-St. Paul in making this type of resource available to its residents.  In Dallas, the initial launch selection includes free passes to Dallas Chamber Symphony, Dallas Children’s Theater, Teatro Dallas, Nasher Sculpture Center, Black Academy of Arts & Letters, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Cara Mia Theatre Company, Dallas Theater Center, the Sixth Floor Museum, Uptown Players and more.

“Culture Pass increases the value of a Dallas Public Library library card by connecting library patrons to new cultural experiences,” said Director of Libraries Jo Giudice. “Many contemporary artists first experienced art at their libraries. This is a way for us to continue and expand that experience.”

Culture Pass Dallas not only gives residents greater access and opportunity to discover the array of arts and cultural experiences in Dallas, it also helps our partner arts organizations connect with new audiences and furthers a common mission to make the arts available and accessible for everyone.

Kevin Moriarty, Artistic Director of the Dallas Theater Center remarks, “Dallas Theater Center is thrilled to be a part of Culture Pass and share the joy of experiencing live theater with hundreds of thousands of potential new audience members throughout Dallas. We are honored to partner with the City’s Office of Arts and Culture to expand our ongoing commitment to engage our community with our professional productions and our nationally recognized Public Works Dallas and Project Discovery programs. Dallas Theater Center is proud to be the theater of, for and by Dallas.”

Jill Magnuson, Director of External Affairs at the Nasher Sculpture Center, echoed this sentiment by expressing, “The Nasher Sculpture Center is pleased to participate in the Culture Pass program, reaching new audiences across Dallas and extending the museum’s mission to bring meaningful art experiences into the lives of the community we serve.”

Sara Cardona, Executive Director of Teatro Dallas, sees how this initiative benefits both the patrons and the arts organizations. “Teatro Dallas strives to reach underserved communities and potential new audiences who have not experienced the power of live theater. Through the branch libraries, Culture Pass Dallas will allow us to reach thousands of new people. It will help arts organizations like Teatro Dallas continue to connect with and inspire new arts lovers.”

The system is currently live with passes available for events this weekend, through December 2019 and into 2020. Current cardholders can visit culturepassdallas.com to learn more about the participating organizations and browse available offers. Additional organizations and offers will continue to be added.

An active library card number and pin is required. A Dallas Public Library card is free to Dallas residents, City of Dallas employees, and Dallas public school students and teachers. Visit www.dallaslibrary.org or call 214-670-1400 to find the nearest library location, or set your PIN number to log in.

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