Oh The Places You’ll See When You Can Ride The Rail For Free

Last week CityLab wrote about the European Union’s plan to offer 18 year old residents a free 30 day Interrail pass this summer.  What this means is that potentially 20,000-30,000 teenagers will have the opportunity to travel across 30 countries this summer.

Why fund a bunch of free trips? The intent is to broaden young participants’ horizons and hopefully instill some sense of Europe’s connections. “Education is not only about what we learn in the classroom, but what we discover about the cultures and traditions of our fellow Europeans,” Tibor Navracsics, E.U. Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said in a press release.

This reminded me of a program I wrote about a couple years back where the Italian government provided a culture voucher worth €500 to 18 year olds.

As I quoted from an article on The Stage (UK):

It can be used to buy books, pay for entry fees to parks, museums and archaeological sites, and instead of cash for theatre, cinema and concert tickets. The euros in the app are spent by the young people and the arts organisations then reclaim this money off the state.

I will have to see if I can find an article about how well Italy felt the program went. It bears reading The Stage article because it explores the idea of funding culture on the demand side versus the supply side.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker (artshacker.com) website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (http://www.creatingconnection.org/about/)

I am currently the Director of the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts at Shawnee State University. Among the things I am proud to claim are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.

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