A major grant from the Walmart Foundation will support free and low-cost tickets for every TheatreSquared performance in the upcoming season, officials announced Tuesday.
The $68,500 gift will fund the new Lights Up! For Access program designed to help low-income families and individuals who might otherwise face a cost barrier to attending shows.
“A community member’s ability to experience arts of the highest quality should not be determined by their income bracket,” said Martin Miller, TheatreSquared’s executive director. “In Northwest Arkansas, where the cultural landscape is being reshaped before our eyes, we have an opportunity to define who can participate in the arts for generations to come.”
The program’s tickets are limited only by availability with no blackout dates, and can be purchased for seats in every section throughout the entire 2016-17 season.
There are three options for obtaining Lights Up! tickets:
- Low-income families who qualify for federal SNAP assistance can show their current EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card just once in person at the Walton Arts Center box office to gain access to $5 tickets all year — online, by phone or in person.
- Non-profit organizations serving low-income community members will be given tickets to distribute throughout the year. Current partners include 7Hills Homeless Center, Ozark Literacy Council, LifeStyles, Inc., NWA Children’s Shelter and the Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter.
- Lights Up! also supports the 30 Under 30 $10 ticket program for school-aged students and young adults under the age of 30.
Solomon Burchfield, director of operations at 7Hills, said he is excited about the new program.
“Often people struggling with the demands of everyday life have a hard time affording and accessing the cultural experiences our community has to offer,” Burchfield said. “We are grateful that this opportunity helps brings our whole community together to be educated, entertained, and inspired. Great art should be a part of every person’s life.”
Additional organizations serving low-income community members in Benton and Washington counties are encouraged to contact TheatreSquared for information on becoming a non-profit partner.
TheatreSquared’s 2016-17 season includes productions of “All the Way,” “I and You,” “Great Expectations,” “Detroit,” “Intimate Apparel,” “The Dingdong,” as well as the two-weekend series of performances in the 2017 Arkansas New Play Festival.