Art for everyone: $5 tickets are now available at Orcas Center

Orcas Center Box Office Manager Susannah Weaver (left) and Development Manager Artha Kass.

Kara O’Toole wants everyone to enjoy Orcas Center, regardless of their ability to pay.

“As an arts lover, it always hurt my heart to hear from people: ‘I would love to come but I can’t afford it,’” said O’Toole, who is the executive director.

Thanks to a grant from the Orcas Island Community Foundation, 20 seats for every Orcas Center-produced show will be available for $5. The new program is starting with the April Verch show on Sept. 18. Subsidized ticket prices only apply to shows that are presented by the center – not events produced by community groups like benefit concerts or festivals.

O’Toole says in the past they have worked with the Funhouse Commons and Orcas Senior Center to help families and seniors with less expensive tickets through a voucher program.

Now there aren’t any qualifications other than coming to the box office in person and securing a ticket, which are on a first-come, first-serve basis. The discounted seats cannot be purchased online or by phone.

“It means a lot to us to be able to offer this to the community,” said O’Toole. “We want to reduce any barriers for community members not coming to Orcas Center.”