Info You Can Use: Tix, Pix, Kits and Internships

I am a busy, busy boy this week which is why I ended up not posting yesterday. Hopefully things will calm down a little by next week. So by way of recompense for not posting yesterday, I offer you four links to practical information for use in your arts organization. I am sure at least one of these links will prove useful to you.

First up, Richard Kessler recently posted a toolkit for getting parents involved in arts education, Involving Parents and Schools in Arts Education: Are We There Yet? What is special about this guide is that it is written by parents for parents. Presumably, parents will know what best motivates them to get involved. As Kessler says, “You have to admit, there’s something to be said about a guide that emerges directly from the work of parents, educators, and partners, rather than from staff.”

I haven’t gotten a chance to look at the whole thing, but I am encouraged that the second chapter is “Understanding Parents” and the fifth chapter is “Motivating Parents” with the “Educating Parents” in between. In the arts I think we often want to skip past the understanding and educating parts and move straight to motivating audiences into the action of attendance. The handbook reminds us of the proper order of things. The guide is 45 pages long. Fifteen pages are devoted to interacting with parents, the other 30 odd are sample forms, checklists and templates to use in organizing parents toward a school arts event.

Next, a link from our friends at the Non-Profit Law blog to the Department of Labor’s fact sheet about what is allowed during an internship under the Fair Labor Standards Act. It should be noted that these rules only apply to for-profit businesses at the moment, but a footnote they state (my emphasis) “Unpaid internships in the public sector and for non-profit charitable organizations, where the intern volunteers without expectation of compensation, are generally permissible. WHD is reviewing the need for additional guidance on internships in the public and non-profit sectors.” So it might be prudent to design your current internship program with the for-profit guidelines in mind.

Chad Bauman talks about a plan that the Arena Stage formulated to wean people off student discounts. They used to offer $15 tickets to people under 30 during the week prior to the performance. The problem was, once they turned 31, their ticket price went up to $60. It appeared this steep price jump was discouraging people from continuing to attend.

Now their plan is to offer a “pay your age” pricing for 3% of the seats starting two months before the first performance. The hope is to not only create the idea of paying an increasing amount as you age, but also emphasize the importance of buying tickets early rather than the week of the performance.

This program is still only available to people under 30. You don’t pay $85 if you are long lived. In the comment section of the entry, Bauman addresses the potential sticker shock a person might get upon turning 31 and finding they now have to pay $60 instead of $30. I really appreciate his view of cultivating a person over 10-15 years.

“Once a patron turns 31, and we have already gotten them into a pattern of buying early for a discount, we would then offer them a 3-play preview subscription acquisition promo probably in the range of $99 for three plays (or $33 per ticket). After they “age-out,” my next major priority is getting them to subscribe. Then once they subsribe, I will work to get them to upgrade their subscription packages. This is a long term strategy that really looks at the customer over a span of 10-15 years. From first time PYA buyer to full season subscriber and donor will probably take 15 years.”

Finally, if you use images from the internet and are confused about the difference between royalty free and copyright free images or aren’t really even sure about acquiring images to use, Tentblogger has a good comprehensive guide (with supporting images, of course) dealing with all these questions and more.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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