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Saving Money and Enjoying the Arts – The Ground Rules

You cannot see everything. Nor should you try – you will just feel overwhelmed. As long as what you are seeing (or hearing) is in your opinion worthwhile that is all that matters. You are out to have a stimulating good time, not to increase your “most concerts attended” cocktail party chatter. If this site allows you to enjoy twelve arts activities a year instead of six, then we will add you to our win column.
Do not spend more than you can afford. Every city we discuss in the upcoming chapters offers excellent art choices for under $30 (especially when you factor in various discounts). Have a budget and stick to it; you can do a whole year of wonderful things (even in New York) for the $450 you didn’t spend on Wicked tickets.
Do not equate size and price with quality. Three years ago, two of us saw a very small production in North Hollywood of Guys and Dolls (for $15 a ticket). The theater held 80 people and sets were minimal. But the acting, singing and costumes were first-rate. It was the best production of the Frank Loesser classic we ever saw – far better than the most recent Broadway revival at $75 a ticket (and those tickets were bought at discount). A lot of good art happens in small places.
Never avoid a cultural arts offering because you feel that you do not understand enough about it. Most performances or exhibitions require little or no background to enjoy – and if you do want to learn more before you go there are a lot of inexpensive available resources. If after a few tries you decide some cultural art happenings are not your thing that’s fine – but at least you are making this preference based on experience and not fear.
Maintain a current art news network. Knowing what is available as soon as you can is three-fourths of the battle. Under each city we list a few sources for current info including newspapers, websites and magazines. These suggestions are strictly a jumping off point; with very little effort you will find many others that may be better suited to your particular needs and interests.