Local Arts

Want more arts, but worried about your budget? Take a look at these Charlotte options

Keep your head, as “Bug Lab” heads over to Discovery Place in December.
Keep your head, as “Bug Lab” heads over to Discovery Place in December. Courtesy of Discovery Place

If you got to some new places during the Arts & Science Council’s all-free “Connect with Culture Days” last weekend, you might be up for more. Wondering who’s got discounts or free days? Bookmark this list for a look at these deals throughout the year.

(Know of others? Let us know and we’ll add to this list.)

One general note: Many places have special rates for sizable groups (think 10 and up) and many offer memberships, which in turn offer discounts on everything from performance tickets to the gift shops, and can confer other perks, like early peeks at the newest stuff, or talks from visiting performers or artists. Also, if you’ve donated to the Arts & Science Council and got a “Connect with Culture” card, some places offer accompanying discounts.

At lunch uptown: “ArtBreaks” are free lunchtime museum tours, noon to 12:30 the third Thursday of each month, at the Bechtler Museum or Modern Art, the Mint Museum and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture.

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Destiny Stone as Nina Simone in Actor’s Theatre’s “Nina Simone: Four Women.” Ryan Sumner/ Fenix Fotography

Actor’s Theatre: For every show, tickets to the two preview performances go for half-price. Each show also has a Pay What You Can Night, at which you pay … what you can. Students, teachers and military personnel also receive discounted tickets.

Arts +: Free festivals and workshops are sprinkled throughout the year for families, along with student and faculty recitals. Next up: Register here for a DIY Valentines workshop Feb. 9. There’s financial aid for students to music or art programs; families can submit a financial aid application by April 19, and can receive tuition support of 10 to 90 percent, based on need. It also offers merit scholarships for students to receive private lessons based on talent (students apply and audition for these).

Bechtler Museum of Modern Art: Kids (17 and younger) get in free to “Family Days” (Feb. 9 is the next one; they run noon to 4:30 p.m.); admission is $9 for adults. “Bechtler by Night,” the third Friday of each month, offers free admission and activities 5-9 p.m. On the first full weekend of each month, Bank of America card-holders get one free general admission (but not to special exhibitions, ticketed shows or fundraising events.) Admission is discounted for seniors, college students, teachers and kids. Those younger than 10 get in free, as do active or retired military personnel, National Guard, reserve, and their families.

Blumenthal Performing Arts: Student rush tickets are discounted; they’re sometimes offered in advance, sometimes the night of the show, two hours before curtain time, at the box office. Sign up for alerts at the website. You can also sign up for alerts for “Last Minute Tickets”: These go on offer two hours before curtain time for some events.

Other ways to get discounts: If you’re a teacher (public and private schools; all grade levels), join the Teachers Lounge (no dues) and you’re eligible for free pre-show parties and some ticket discounts. If you’re a young professional in your 20s or 30s, join Club Blume (no dues) and you’ll be able to attend free talks and get some discounted tickets.

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“Walking Mad” returns to Charlotte Ballet. Jeff Cravotta Jeff Cravotta

Charlotte Ballet: If you’ve got a student ID, you can get advance or at-the-door $10 tickets, depending on the performance. Children’s tickets for family-matinee performances are $15. For $12, seniors can go to special dress rehearsal performances. In education: The Reach scholarship program provides need-based scholarships for young dancers (families that qualify for free and reduced lunch in North Carolina qualify to apply).

Charlotte Symphony:Music for All” allows community members with EBT cards (federal assistance) to go to any concert for $1, with the tickets sold beginning one hour before any performance, for best-available seating. Student rush tickets cost $15 for some concerts, and free summer concerts and programs are offered in neighboring towns. Two free learning opportunities: Project Harmony is an intensive after-school youth program in some Charlotte communities, and Symphony 101 is a series led by Davidson College Symphony Orchestra Music Director Tara Keith and held at WDAV in Davidson.

Children’s Theatre of Charlotte: Families with EBT cards can purchase tickets for $2 each (first-come first-served), and can request up to six tickets per production (all must be for immediate family members in the same household). Families apply online and, if approved, have a two-year window for ticket purchasing. CT also offers scholarships for its Creative Drama program, School of Theatre Training Classes and summer camps.

Discovery Place: Families with EBT or WIC cards or vouchers get $1 admission per person, for up to six family members, to any of Discovery Place’s museums. Seniors (60 or older) get $2 off at Discovery Place Science (that’s the uptown location), and members of AAA get $1 off admission to any of the museums for up to four people.

Certified teachers (K-12 and homeschool) in North or South Carolina can get discounted educator memberships, and get in free on Saturdays in September. Active members of the U.S. military (with proper ID) and their family members get $2 off each admission (and active military and veterans get in free on Veterans Day).

Family memberships offer unlimited admission to two adults and all kids 18 and younger who live in the household, for a year, plus some discounts on parties, early access to some exhibitions and summer camps and more. Details and some other deals are here.

The Lightning Thief Company. Photo by Jeremy Daniel (5).jpg
Photo: Jeremy Daniel Jeremy Daniel

Gantt Center: It’s free to get into the monthly “Art After Dark” (next up: Feb. 1), the quarterly “Gantt After Dark” and the “Talk About It Tuesday” series (next up: Feb. 26) happening each month. Discounted admissions are offered to family reunion groups, and people visiting to attend conferences. Also discounted: Educators, students, veterans and visiting groups, and kids younger than 5 always get in free.

Mint Museum: Both the uptown and Randolph Road locations offer free admission every Wednesday 5-9 p.m. Free admission and workshops with artists and designers go to high school teens ages 14-18 who join the NexGen Mint’s teen program (register online). Some scholarships are available for summer camps (those will be online this spring) and museum members get a 25 percent discount on classes and those camps.

Opera Carolina: If you’ve never been to the opera, contact the office and ask about the “first time opera goer” ticket deal. Also: Student tickets are $10 one hour before a performance at the Belk Theater box office ($20 usually), and discounts are also offered for kids up to 18 (half off if attending with an adult paying regular price), members of the military (20 percent off) and seniors (10 percent).