PITT ARTS Cheap Seat Sales Soar 20 Percent

Issue Date: 
May 26, 2009

PITT ARTS, which connects Pitt students to the city’s cultural hub, reached a new milestone during the 2008-09 academic year with more than 12,000 tickets sold in its Cheap Seats Program.

The program allows Pitt students, faculty, and staff to purchase deeply discounted tickets to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Pittsburgh CLO Cabaret Theater, Quantum Theatre, MCG Jazz, and other area arts presenters.

The ticket total—12,182—represents a 20 percent increase in Cheap Seats ticket sales compared to sales during the 2007-08 academic year.

PITT ARTS director Annabelle Clippinger says online ticket purchasing has played a key role in the program’s success. In 2006, Pittsburgh Opera was the first participating arts presenter to develop a Web site that allowed Pitt constituents to pay the same price for a Cheap Seats ticket purchased online that they would have paid at the PITT ARTS office. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, MCG Jazz, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre followed suit. Patrons making purchases online or at the PITT ARTS office in the William Pitt Union pick up their tickets at the performance venue’s Will Call window,  where they show their Pitt IDs.

The total 2008-09 participation numbers for PITT ARTS programming was 42,843, 11.5 percent more than in 2007-08. The Free Visits program, which allows students to swipe Pitt IDs for free admission to five Pittsburgh museums and the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, benefited 19,018 students in 2008-09, 250 more than in the previous year. Nearly 8,000 Pitt undergraduate students took advantage of Arts Encounters, which provide Pitt students with free transportation to performances, catered receptions, and opportunities to meet artistic directors or performers; that number was also higher than the previous year’s figure.

PITT ARTS was founded in 1997 as a way for Pitt undergraduate students to experience arts and cultural programming at little or no cost. The PITT ARTS staff conducts regular surveys to observe and understand what young adults value in arts experiences.