Being an art enthusiast is hard. Whether theatre, visual art, music, dance, or anything under the sun is your passion, indulging in the wonders of artistic enrichment is time consuming and, more importantly, can take some serious dough. On top of tuition, room and board, and various other costs staying up-to-date on the latest in entertainment and culture is agonizingly difficult. But, rest assured, there are ways to do what you love without going broke.
I am a theatre geek, and one of the best discoveries I ever made was student rush tickets. A show on Broadway this season can cost upwards of $100 per ticket for even the cheapest seats, and the average student just cannot swing that. For that reason many shows — musicals, plays, dance concerts, etc. — offer student rush prices. The procedure varies for the show, but most of the time to get these tickets a student must come two hours before the performance with a student ID and buy up to two tickets. The best part is these tickets are usually only $20 to $30! Again, this can change depending on the event, but no matter what it’s a great deal.
Some theaters also do a lottery a couple of hours before the show. It works like student rush in that an ID is required and there is a two-seat maximum per ID. The difference is that each person gets a number and a handful of people will be drawn to get cheap (again, $20-$30) seats that are in the first two rows. Take advantage of being a student while you can. While there are people sitting in the third row who paid hundreds for their seats, some crafty college students are sitting in the first row with only $30 out of pocket.
If getting to New York or any other big theatre city is not possible for you, these rules often apply to touring productions. Be sure to check out the show’s website or call the box office to make sure they are doing student rush and see what the exact guidelines are.
For the visual artists out there (or anyone who appreciates a good painting or installation) there are both large and small scale venues to explore. On the large scale, there are surprisingly easy ways to spend a relaxing day perusing a fancy gallery. Big shot museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City have optional admission prices. There is a ‘suggested price’ that works as a donation so the gallery can stay cared for, but technically just visiting is free. Of course if you can give anything it’s worth it to support the arts, but you don’t have to make a huge sacrifice. Big galleries around the country also offer little-to-nothing admission as long as you know where to look for that little asterisk.
Wherever you call home, don’t overlook the localized art scene. Student and local artists are phenomenal, so be on the lookout for special exhibits and take in the wonders of art that may even be a product of someone you know!
On bulletin boards plastered with a rainbow of flyers and in a cluttered email inbox it’s easy to miss some of the great opportunities that wait just outside your dorm room door. Forms of entertainment that you might never even have considered crop up from student organizations that find creative and funny ways to appeal to their college peers. Improvisational comedy clubs and student dance companies have periodical performances as well. Student assemblies are pros at bringing in outside entertainment at little to no cost to the student body, including comedians, bands, magicians, and anything else under the sun. Even a $5 entrance fee is much better than the $20 it may cost elsewhere to see keynote speakers or singers. Don’t delete those ‘what’s happening around campus’ emails as soon as the notification pops up, as tempting as it may be, and be sure to check out those crazy bulletin boards. Real, quality culture experiences don’t just live in New York.
Money may be tight in college, but there are still ways to treat yourself and enrich your artsy side at the same time! As long as you can surf the net and snoop for special deals, there is never an excuse to miss out on a good show or gallery.