The arts belong to everyone.
According to research provided by Americans for the Arts, 40% of people feel more positive about their community after taking part in the arts. Arts participation builds community by reducing isolation, encouraging cooperation, and building community networks. And, many arts participants reported feeling more in control of their lives and more activated as citizens.
So why is participation in the arts often costly, gatekept, and inaccessible to many Western New Yorkers?
That's the question that led to the creation of Arts Services Inc.'s Arts Access program in 2013.
What is Arts Access?
The Arts Access program was created to remove the barriers that prohibit many Western New Yorkers from experiencing the arts, including cost, transportation, language, and effort. Any individual or family who receives income-based public assistance in WNY is eligible to apply. ASI also provides free safe and accessible transportation through our partners at Hart Transportation to and from partner events at the passholder’s request.
Arts Access passes can be used at any of our 45 partner organizations, all of which believe that the arts belong to everyone. Some of these incredible partner organizations include: Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Aquarium of Niagara, Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, Buffalo Museum of Science, Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village, Burchfield Penney Art Center, Theater of Youth, and Irish Classical Theatre Company.
This year, over 900 Western New Yorkers from Erie, Niagara, and Chautauqua Counties have signed up for an Arts Access pass.
What's Next for Arts Access: Introducing "Arts Access Plus"
Until this year, Arts Access has relied on the generosity of our partner organizations. For the 2022-2023 Arts Access season, ASI has cooked up something new that will provide more opportunities for passholders as well as partners - Arts Access Plus.
Previously, some Arts Access partner programs were precluded from Arts Access passholders; this included special exhibits, on demand touring events, or special guest performances through presenting companies.
Arts Access Plus allows ASI a pool of funding to purchase tickets to some of these special events for passholders while patronizing the hosting partner organization. Think events like Yo Yo Ma at the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Antarctic Dinosaurs Exhibit at the Buffalo Museum of Science, or Broadway touring shows at Shea's.*
Passholders can request tickets to these events through a moderated lottery system and we will accommodate as many requests as we can with the funding available. Like Arts Access, passholders will be able to bring a guest with them at no extra charge with a new option to accommodate family requests as well. Then, ASI will take care of ordering the tickets and delivering them to the passholder securely. Free, accessible transportation through our partners at Hart Transportation is available for Arts Access Plus events.
*Events offered through Arts Access Plus are subject to change due to ticket availability.
What Your Gift Today Means:
We've made it our goal to raise $3,600 during Give 716 so that we can provide $300 worth of tickets each month through Arts Access Plus. If we exceed this goal, that means that we can provide even more tickets per month allowing more Arts Access passholders to take part in this new initiative. The success of this pilot year of Arts Access Plus will determine if it is continued as a permanent part of the Arts Access programming.
Your donation of $71.60 could secure any number of possibilities for our Arts Access passholders, such as:
- 2 Adult and 2 children passes for the Buffalo Zoo
- 3 Adult passes to a specialty exhibit at the Buffalo Museum of Science, such as the Antarctic Dinosaurs Exhibit
- 2 tickets to see a Broadway tour at Shea's Performing Arts Center, such as Beetlejuice or Six
- 2 tickets to a premium show at the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
Why We Love Arts Access:
Arts Access passholders represent the very best of Western New York. They are parents, caretakers, guardians, neighbors, and friends who deserve to be welcomed at the arts and cultural activities and events that make our region so special. Your gift might mean a special birthday present for a child who gets to see their first Broadway touring show, a night out for a couple who hasn't heard live music in over three years, or lifelong memories from a museum trip for a grandmother and her grandchildren.
“I cannot stress enough how important the Art Access program is! I'm low income and disabled, without this program I could not afford to go to museums, plays and with transportation provided it really is a blessing! I live in a senior/handicapped building and have utilized this program to go with mostly seniors to a museum and a play.” - Passholder testimonial
Let's show the world that Western New York believes that the arts belong to everyone!
Arts Services Inc. (ASI) empowers the region’s artists and arts organizations with connections to funding, learning opportunities, and community access to the arts. We are a resource hub for the Western New York arts and cultural sector.