METRO, PARTA, SARTA, NEORide join Arts Now drive to increase access to arts and culture
The conversation began in July when Katherine Manning, PARTA's Director of Planning, read an Akron Beacon Journal article about Museums for All (MFA) a program sponsored by Arts Now, the non-profit group dedicated to promoting arts and culture in Summit County. According to the ABJ story, five museums and attractions in the county: Stan Hywet Hall, the Akron Art Museum, the Akron Children’s Museum, the Akron Historical Society, and the Akron Zoo were about to begin offering substantially discounted admission prices to residents who presented their U.S. government-issued Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card when they arrived at the venues.
To Manning, Museums for All represented an opportunity to create a new dynamic partnership between the arts community and METRO, PARTA, and SARTA. "I thought we would be a perfect fit for two reasons: first, because many people who qualify for EBT benefits rely on public transportation and, second, because Arts Now and the region's transit systems are both devoted to enhancing the quality of life in our community."
By coincidence, MFA was being launched just as NEORide was kicking off the second year of its Free Fare Friday promotion. "I was certain we could significantly increase the impact of both programs if we marketed them together," Manning said. "So I reached out to Arts Now Executive Director Nicole Mullet and asked if her group would be interested in working with us. Her answer was an immediate and enthusiastic 'yes.'"
Less than two weeks later representatives of the three transit agencies, Arts Now, the Akron Zoo, and Stan Hywet Hall met and agreed to develop and execute an ongoing, multi-platform, cross-marketing campaign. The first step: adding instructions on how to use public transit to the websites and social media pages maintained by arts and culture organizations. “The sites almost always offer driving directions,” Manning said. “We think it’s important to also let people know they can use METRO, PARTA, and SARTA to reach the locations.”
Along with placing transit info on their websites, Arts Now has also produced a brochure featuring the bus routes that service the five MFA locations. Both the transit agencies and Arts Now will make printed and electronic versions of the brochure available to the public.
Other components of the cross-marketing campaign will be rolled out in the near future. "We've all agreed to put considerable resources behind the new partnership," Manning said. “We’re off to a great start and confident we’ll be able to accomplish the dual goals of increasing access to the arts and the use of public transit in our region.”
Akron Art Museum: $3.00, 18 years of age or older; up to four adults per EBT card. Children under 17 years are always free and everyone is admitted free on Thursday.
Akron Children’s Museum: $1.00, up to four guests per EBT Card.
Akron Zoo: $3.00, up to 4 guests per card; kids or adults.
Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens: $3.00
Summit County Historical Society: $1.00
Click the image to view, download, print, share the Museums for All/NEORide brochure