The Card to Culture program is an unlikely partnership between two state agencies: The Department of Transitional Assistance and the Mass Cultural Council. In the program’s first year there were about 220,000 admissions to arts events for people living on food stamps and getting cash assistance, Anita Walker of the Mass Cultural Council said.
To participate in the program, food stamp recipients just have to show their EBT card, which is issued by the state Department of Transitional Assistance.
“One of the EBT card holders wrote to us and said, it's hard to describe the feeling of being able to do something 'normal' when everything else isn't,” Walker said.
It's up to the venues to decide how big a discount to offer. But with 800,000 people on state assistance at any given time, Walker said the program offers an opportunity for arts groups to reach new audiences.
This report comes from the New England News Collaborative: Eight public media companies, including Rhode Island Public Radio, coming together to tell the story of a changing region, with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.