The Price is Right

This article came out last week in the Seattle Times. In it art critic Sheila Farr does a check in on the new Seattle Art Museum, noting a decline in admission, possibly tied to an increase in ticket prices. Some people in Seattle have deemed $15 too much for an afternoon of art.

Last year on the other side of the country (and in a different sort of arts venue), Signature Theatre Company in New York did something unthinkable: They made every ticket for every seat $15. People came out in droves, especially young people.

The Rep's $10 ticket for anyone 25 and under is certainly popular, though not close to that level (every one of Signature's productions sold out). It costs $10 to see a movie, but when I ask my under-25 friends if they want to see a play for that price, they quite often balk, "That's a lot for something I don't even know if I'll like."

So where's the line? I'm curious how people decide what's too much for art. I know my measures: trust in the company/venue, knowing people involved, interest in the subject matter. I myself have hesitated to pay $15 for a fringe theater show but now that I'm putting up my own fringe show I have no hesitation in setting a $15 ticket price. All that work...of course it's worth the price of two cocktails.

What do you think? What will you pay for art?

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