Power of Culture Blog
78.5% of awardees are first-time Mass Cultural Council grant recipients
Mass Cultural Council is grateful for the generosity of the 270+ cultural sites that voluntarily provide discounted admissions through this program.
As art, music, theatre, and live performance-lovers, we are all looking forward to the day when we can step back into a performance or gallery space together to enjoy that shared cultural experience. But beyond the social distancing and capacity limitations that came from COVID-19, there are very real financial limitations that make those experiences unavailable to many Massachusetts residents and families.
That is why Mass Cultural Council is incredibly grateful for the generosity of 270+ cultural sites across the Commonwealth that voluntarily provide free or steeply discounted admission to residents through our Card to Culture program.
Card to Culture’s interagency partnerships increase access to cultural experiences for:
Despite the economic crisis facing cultural organizations in the state due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the rising number of state residents enrolled in eligible assistance programs, every Card to Culture participating organizations maintained their discounts through 2020, and many transitioned to offering online programming that was free for all.
Additionally, more cultural organizations saw the need in their communities and joined Card to Culture for the first time. Backyard Growers, a Gloucester-based organization that supports low- to moderate- income households in growing their own fresh food, has provided free garden beds, grow bags, seeds, seedlings, and other resources since signing on in 2020.
“When the pandemic struck last year, we felt an urgency to get even more growing resources out to folks, particularly those in need who would be disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. We were poised to do this in a unique way last spring because we had just launched our customized, portable containers for growing called GrowBags. By participating in the Card to Culture program we were able to offer a significant discount on our GrowBags, getting more growing resources into the hands of more people to provide affordable access to healthy food,” said Corinne Lippie, Program Director at Backyard Growers.
Despite overall admissions being down in 2020, the percentage of Card to Culture admissions held steady or increased at organizations. Overall, there were 90,958 visitors using Card to Culture discounts in 2020. This total includes both in-person visits and virtual attendance once the pandemic hit.
There have been at least 571,295 visitors through the program to-date. The vast majority of visitors come with EBT cards (76,992), followed by WIC cardholders (12,016), and ConnectorCare health insurance members (669).
As sites continue to open and COVID-19 restrictions continue to lift, we encourage organizations to consider what other burdens and barriers to participation they can address.
“To see the weight lifted from someone’s shoulders when they realize they’ll be able to attend a live production without much financial stress…makes it all worth it!” said a Greater Boston Stage Company representative.
Cultural organizations that are not currently part of Card to Culture can sign up at any time.