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New Program Gives Low-Income Families Access to Cultural Institutions

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On Wednesday, the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) introduced a program that will provide low-income residents with free or reduced admission to more than 100 venues in the state. Card to Culture provides the discounts to anyone with an Electronic Benefits Transfer Card, which currently includes 758,000 residents. The program is part of a goal to expand access to museums and other cultural institutions for the many people who may not otherwise have the opportunity.

Considering IBA serves about 1,200 low-income individuals, a program like this is very positive for our community. IBA CEO Vanessa Calderón-Rosado was quoted recently in The Boston Globe speaking about the need for these kinds of programs. She notes, “access to the arts is crucial for low-income families, whose budgets often don’t stretch enough to justify taking in an exhibit or a tour of a historic house.” She believes this is a great start to engaging families into the vibrant arts and cultural institutions that Massachusetts offers.

According to MCC, one in eight residents qualify, and it is the biggest effort in the country to grant cultural access to low-income residents. What once cost nearly $30 dollars to get into the New England Aquarium will now cost only $2, and cost savings are not the only benefit of the program. As pointed out in WBUR, “arts advocates believe cultural exposure, particularly for children, can work as an important factor in achieving upward mobility for low-income families.” Also, as we know at IBA through our youth development program, exposing students to the arts can have a beneficial impact on their future.

To see the full list of cultural organizations involved in the program, click here.

IBA is dedicated to applying the arts and culture as tools for self-improvement and community building. If you are interested in learning how you can support IBA’s programs, please visit our page:

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