Beginning today, Jan. 5, low-income Oregonians can buy tickets to symphony, opera, ballet, chamber and vocal music for $5 each. A dozen groups in Portland have joined Music for All, a six-month pilot project to make concerts more accessible.

The program is aimed at people with Oregon Trail Cards using the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program).

Unsold seats at most performances will be available for $5, even those in the best locations that would normally cost up to $140 at Oregon Ballet Theatre, for example.

I read that (and more) here.


  1. I really hope this works. I don’t know about the USA, but I have found there are 3 categories of low-incomers: those who are down on their luck, those who don’t care and those who are base their “careers” based on ideals. Often, the 3rd kind will go to all kinds of events, when they can affor it. In all cases, I believe classical music to be an really important counter-coup to the MP3 commercial music racket.

  2. Oh how lovely! I was reflecting recently that music and the arts shouldn’t just be for the well-to-do. I really hope it works out.

  3. patti with an i

    Rob Levine, over on the blog at, has had some interesting things to say about orchestras’ mission and the elastic qualities of audience “demand” for our product, and how perhaps we should rethink the focus on earned income. I think the project referenced here is a great idea.

    But you know, I can’t help but think that those who are so quick to dismiss classical music as being “for the wealthy”, even though current ticket prices for a symphony concert are usually below those for a Madonna concert, will find fault with this as being “unbusinesslike.”

    Hmmm. Guess it’s gonna be a cynical day around here…

  4. I wonder, patti with an i, if these low income people even think about a symphony/opera/ballet performance as something of interest. When I hear people say “it’s too expensive” I question whether they are truly interested in the first place. I’ll be curious to hear how this program works out. I hope they report back about it 6 months from now.

    But YOU? Cynical? Really?!

  5. Reading what I wrote about … ack! My intention was not to diss those with low income. Truly. I just am wondering if what we do is on their radar. (And yeah, I could have just edited it, but I’d rather do this so I have to “own” my words above as written … a sort of humbling or self-inflicted punishment perhaps? Hmmm. I’m odd that way … and other ways as well, of course!)

    And I’ve certainly heard people WITH money say that we are too expensive, while they go to their Giants games (I’ve been … I KNOW how much those things cost!) and rock concerts (I’ve not been, but I’ve checked out prices online).

    I just suspect that, for the most part, people don’t go because they are either entirely put off by the thought of our sort of music or it’s simply not even on their radar.

    Okay … I’ll keep my fingers still now.