Arts Access Program
How does the program work?
The Arts Access Pass Program is designed to give eligible members increased opportunities to participate in the arts in their communities. In order to be eligible for the program, you must be currently on income based Public Assistance (SNAP, Medicaid, TANF, HEAP, etc.) and present an active benefit card, with your name on it, when signing up for the Arts Access pass. Medicare is no longer being accepted as a viable form of NYS benefits for this program, as it is not distributed based on income. If you do not have a current, active card you will not be eligible to sign up.
Registration forms are available at sites throughout Western New York. A list of signup locations for the 2020-21 season will be published on this page when finalized.
After you register, a welcome packet will be sent to your home address. It will include your Arts Access Pass, more information about the program, and a list of participating organizations that offer Arts Access tickets. Please note that the pass is only good for one year and expires on August 31st. After that date you are responsible for renewing your pass for the following year. You will be required to show an updated form of income-based public assistance at this time.
The Arts Access season runs from 9/1-8/31 (similar to the WNY theater season).
How do I reserve tickets?
With your pass you can reserve 2 tickets for you and a guest. Some organizations allow up to three extra tickets with your Arts Access pass if you are using them for your family, we ask that these tickets are used for children only. This is entirely up to the discretion of the organization you are visiting and they may only allow you to reserve two tickets. We recommend for you to call ahead to clarify the specific guidelines each organization has in relation to the Arts Access pass.
To reserve tickets, you must call the venue and tell them you need to reserve Arts Access tickets. The venue will then reserve them at the box office for you to pick up. You must show a valid Arts Access pass at the box office when picking up your tickets. If you do not have your pass, you cannot pick up your tickets. Reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis so you might not always get to attend the date (or event) you choose.
Some organizations have age requirements for children, so be sure to ask about age recommendations.
For ticketed arts & cultural events make your reservation by phone at least 48 hours in advance. You may be able to reserve tickets for multiple shows/events depending on the organization. Call them for more details.
What if I cannot use the tickets I reserved?
If you and your household cannot attend an event that you have reserved tickets for you MUST call ahead to cancel so someone else can use the tickets. If you don’t call or show up three times in one year, your pass privileges could be suspended for the rest of the year.
Are there any restrictions to the pass?
For ticketed arts & cultural events, the pass can only be used once per event. For example, you may use the pass to see every show at a certain theatre offers once during their season. Passes can only be used once per month at galleries and museums.
Specific restrictions can also be put in place by individual organizations, these will either be listed in your Arts Access packet or they will notify you when you call to reserve.
What if I don't have a form of transportation?
Free transportation is available for locations within and around Erie & Niagara Counties. There is a mileage restriction of 20 miles between pick up and drop off points.
Shuttles can typically hold 3-12 people depending on your needs and can accommodate either four wheelchair clients, a combination of wheelchair and ambulatory, or ambulatory only. Anything more than 2 wheelchairs will reduce the number of ambulatory individuals able to fit. For parties of 12 or may, more than one shuttle can be booked. Transportation services are also able to accommodate service animals, please state in your request if this is the case.
Drivers will pick you up at a single location and drop you off at the arts or cultural venue of your choice. Please coordinate with the shuttle driver to determine specific times for pick up. Your destination must be an Arts Access participating partner.
Two weeks' notice is preferred for all transportation requests, but a minimum of 48 hours notice is required for all trips. In some cases, more notice may be required so please call as soon as possible to reserve transportation. The transportation for each month opens on the first of the previous month. For example: if you would like to schedule a trip for April, the earliest you can schedule is March 1st. Transportation is limited and fills up fast, we suggest you call as early as you can to reserve a trip.
To schedule transportation please email or call 716-833-3004 x514.
You can also go to nfta.com for train and bus schedules in your local area.
What else should I know?
Please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to show time to pick up your tickets and you will be ushered to your seats. Live performances require that audience members turn off cell phone and electronic devices – no texting or taking photographs during the show! In many instances, there will be an intermission where snacks and beverages will be available. Many performances request that you do not eat or drink during the show at any time. Stay for the entire performance and show your support for the performers during bows with your applause.
Arrive at the venue for admission. In many instances you will be able to experience the exhibit on your own and peruse works of art at your leisure. Guided tours may be available to enhance your visit and understanding of the exhibit. In most cases you cannot touch the artwork or frames so make sure to stand away from the piece. Children should be monitored at all times and everyone is asked to be respectful of others by not running or yelling.