ticket prices, really?

Over at HuffPo Michael Kaiser opines on how we have to lower ticket prices for the arts.  He says:

…the favored technique used to fill budget gaps has been increasing ticket prices. When we increase prices, typically at budget time, we hope that a small increase will not be noticeable and we need the added revenue to break even. However, we have been doing this for so long that tickets prices are now too high for many people to afford regularly. It is not unusual to see tickets for major opera companies cost $250 or more and the best theater tickets are now well over the $100 mark in many cities. […]No wonder so many people have stopped going to performances.

Dude. I know I’m not the head of the Kennedy Center and I’m not going to argue that ticket prices aren’t high, I’m just saying that ticket prices are not the major problem. It is being completely out of touch with the public.

David Byrne talks about the ethos of the big museum/opera shows and says this:

This isn’t about learning to play for enjoyment, creation, expression or fun — it’s purely about valuing the classics more than anything you and your pathetic friends can make.

We live in a 2.0 world where, to be honest, people are looking to be participant/creators – or at least feel like it.  It isn’t about how much it costs so much as it is about attitude, access and relevance.  Access is not just defined by money, it is by tone of voice, it is about perception and it is about the experience.

Right now, in NYC, starting tomorrow there will be more art than you can shake a stick at, most of it for under $20. And a lot of it will be well-attended. Admittedly there are a lot of professionals in town, so its a bit of a fix, but at the same time, it is fun. Because people like they’re seeing their friends, seeing their friends’ work and just generally having a good time. Maybe if the arts felt less like an obligation and more like fun, that’d be a step in the right direction. Arts education wouldn’t hurt either – not just reinforcing the canon but educating people to enjoy their own creativity and expression. If people felt engaged in their own creative spirit they’re more likely to enjoy the creativity of others. (Big blanket statement I can’t back up).

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