Taken from the Cape Cod Times – October 1, 2017
By Geoff Spillane
HYANNIS — Arts and cultural organizations on the Cape and islands are embracing a new program offering state electronic benefit transfer — or EBT — cardholders free or reduced admission to events and museums.
The EBT Card to Culture program was launched in August by the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The goal of the initiative is to make arts and cultural experiences affordable and accessible for low-income families.
There are nearly 443,000 households in the state receiving benefits with EBT cards, according to Tom Mills, director of external affairs for the Department of Transitional Assistance.
“The reception statewide has been great,” said Mills. “We’re rich in Massachusetts with a great number of cultural institutions, not only in Boston, but across the state.”
The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod is an early participant in the program, offering free admission for a family of four to its annual Pops by the Sea concert in Hyannis.
At this summer’s concert, nine families — 36 people — took advantage of the program.
“It’s not just a nice thing to do, it’s necessary – we want everyone to have access to arts and culture,” said Julie Wake, executive director of the foundation. “This (program) really helps create patrons of the arts at a young age. It just takes that one moment to change a child’s life.”
Many arts and cultural programs already have discounted or free admission programs in place, but Wake urges all the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod members to join the EBT Card to Culture initiative.
“We’re hoping for 100 percent participation,” she said.
The Provincetown Art Association and Museum offers EBT cardholders 50 percent off its regular $10 admission charge.
“We have a very long and rich partnership with the Massachusetts Cultural Council,” said Christine McCarthy, executive director of the Provincetown Art Museum and Museum. “We want to make our museum as accessible as we possibly can for everybody.”
The organization already offers free admission on Friday evenings during the summer, but it has seen an uptick in the use of the EBT discount with its current exhibition of the permanent collection of Edward and Josephine Hopper, according to McCarthy.
“We’re hoping this will attract more families to come see what we have going on,” she said.
Wake stressed that there is no stigma attached to using the card to take advantage of the offers, and all participants need to do is show a card – no information is collected.
She also invites EBT cardholders interested in participating in the program to contact the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod at 508-362-0066 or firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.