All for arts and Arts for All

You haven’t heard about Arts for All, have you? It’s simple: Arts for All is a program sponsored by the Portland-area Regional Arts & Culture Council, started in 2011 to make concerts and other high culture events affordable for low-income folks like you and me. RACC maintains a list of participating organizations, all of which offer $5 tickets to anyone who receives SNAP benefits and has the Oregon Trail Card to show it.

I’ll bet you’re still sneaking into the museum and the symphony and the ballet like the kids in From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. No shade intended: Sneaking into things is a time-honored American tradition, and I’m certainly not going to stop you or bust you. In fact, they’re about to start up this Brahms symphony…can I get a drag on that joint?

Ahhhhhh. Acapulco Gold. Fine choice. OK, so next time, here’s what you gotta do: You gotta do what I do. Scrape together five bucks, stick ‘em in your pocket with your Oregon Trail Card, and show up at the box office early to buy tickets to the Oregon Symphony, the Portland Opera, the Portland Ballet, Artists Repertory Theatre, Montavilla Jazz Festival, Lan Su Chinese Garden, Northwest Film Center, the Portland Art Museum, Portland Center Stage, Post5 Theatre way the hell out on NE 82nd, Bag & Baggage way the hell out in Hillsboro, and several other High Culture Institutions all over town.

It’s not just the venues either: A whole bunch of local arts organizations participates in Arts for All regardless of where their shows happen. Classical groups like Resonance Ensemble, Third Angle New Music, Chamber Music Northwest, and Friends of Chamber Music all participate, as do dance companies BodyVox, White Bird, and Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre/Northwest. Portland Taiko participates, as does Indian performing arts organization Kalakendra (bet you weren’t expecting that, even in Portland).

Everyone in the High Culture world wants you at their events, their concerts, their museums. (This includes the present writer, a classically trained composer and percussionist.) As students, you can usually get Student Rush tickets to this stuff…but, as students, you are probably also the perfect combination of “hard-working” and “totally broke” that spells “eligibility for food assistance.” So get yourself an Oregon Trail Card and get yourself to the symphony! I’ll see you there!

This is nowhere near an exhaustive list of participating organizations. Visit for more information.