NASAA Notes: November 2023

November 1, 2023

Virginia: Passport Program Partnership with the Virginia Department of Health

Youth programming from Passport Program participating organization Encore Stage & Studio

The Virginia Commission for the Arts (VCA) has engaged the Virginia Department of Health to pursue a new partnership that provides free and discounted tickets to arts organizations for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program cardholders across Virginia. The new Passport Program will provide discounted or free tickets to cultural venues and events for WIC cardholders, with no additional card or registration needed. The program is designed to make the arts more accessible to low-income families and to promote community engagement through the arts.

The organizations providing discounted tickets must register for the Passport Program with the Virginia Commission for the Arts. VCA encourages participating organizations to make the discounts available for as much programming as possible, but organizations will be able to set their own admission price and limits depending on their programming. Thirteen organizations have enrolled for the pilot program, which is still open for onboarding, and VCA will feature the discounts and participating organizations on its website. In the first year of the program, applications are accepted from current grantees and state entities, with goals to expand the network of participating sites in the future. Participating organizations are required to track the number of beneficiaries to report back to the state.

Within the state arts agency network, Massachusetts and New Jersey have developed similar programs. Such initiatives, each attuned to a different cultural ecosystem, can help state arts agencies to attain a number of policy goals: to strengthen connections between arts organizations and families, to facilitate access to cultural programming for economically distressed households, and to promote positive public health outcomes (as new research from Massachusetts Cultural Council and Tasha Golden has shown in her study of the impact of social prescribing on patients and medical providers). For more information on the VCA Passport Program, contact Virginia Commission for the Arts Deputy Director & Accessibility Coordinator Casey Polczynski.

In this Issue

From the President and CEO

State to State

Legislative Update

The Research Digest

Announcements and Resources

More Notes from NASAA




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