Mix and match

What If There Were a ClassPass for the Arts?

A revamped subscription platform may be the best way for Houston arts lovers to sample the scene.

By Holly Beretto September 6, 2018

When Paige Myrick, executive director for Opera in the Heights, created Circle of Fifths two years ago, her idea was simple: bring together several small- and mid-sized arts organizations, and let them offer a series ticket package to Houston arts lovers. Now, that effort has been re-branded as Houston ArtsPass, and Myrick said she’s excited to see its progress.

For a flat fee—$209 for tickets to 10 shows or $119 for tickets to five—ArtsPass members can mix-and-match programs from such Houston groups as Opera in the Heights, Main Street Theater, Mercury, Catastrophic Theatre, Da Camera, METdance, Musiqa, and others. Each performing arts group offers two or three shows from its season to ArtsPass users, with the bundle deal offering a noticeable discount compared to the cost of individual tickets.

“The idea is to make it easier for people to try different offerings,” says Myrick. “But it was also a chance for arts organizations to look at new ways of marketing their performances.”

Smaller arts organizations, Myrick points out, often don’t have the deep pockets necessary to cast a broad outreach net. Houston ArtsPass, structured like the popular ClassPass that gives buyers access to different fitness classes, provides them with greater reach to find audiences who might not normally come to their shows.

“It’s a chance for people to hop around Houston and see all that’s here in terms of great performances,” she says. “Certainly, there’s a hope that those who see a show via ArtsPass will also find an organization—or maybe more than one—that they’d like to support down the line.”

Myrick said that ArtsPass was designed to make it easy for people to browse shows and make their purchases. The website currently lists performances through November.

“I really believe that when people come together to see a show, it’s a space to build community,” she says.

Read more about the revamped program at houstonartspass.com.

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