By Rosalie Tirella
All the hand-wringing over the Worcester Craft Center makes me think of other Worcester cultural institutions. So often these places whine about their precarious financial states, yet they keep admission prices so high that they pretty much lock out half the population of Worcester – that is we Worcesterites who live on the other side of Park Ave – the East Siders! We East Siders are a hard-working lot! We love our kids and care about the arts, but too often working-class families think like this: Yeesh! We’d love to go to the Ecotarium and take our three kids (let’s say said kids are all over the age of 12), but we can’t afford to shell out $44 – almost 50 bucks for an afternoon of fun!
The Ecotarium’s admission price of $10 per adult and $8 per kid (babies under 3 years get in free – big deal) make it too pricey an adventure for lots of families. Yes, there are public school trips and museum passes, but everyone knows that one of the reasons upper-middle class kids do so well in school and on standardized tests is their parents supplement their school days with FREQUENT trips to museums/cultural happenings. Let’s say the Ecotarium has a special event. The West Side family says: Hooray! Let’s go gang!
They do this for lots of events; their kids spend lots of time at museums, learning, learning, learning.
The kid in Green Island is left to … learn other things.
If the Ecotarium reduced its admission price to $5 per adult and $4 per kid over 12 years, the place would be swarming with kids all the time – not be the dead zone that it so often is. Very depressing/disturbing!
We hope Worcester’s Craft Center stays open – really! But it needs to broaden its outreach – get the other half of Worcester involved. I hope its board members do not kiss rich asses for more money. That will only be a stop-gap measure. Regular folks are the key to long-term flourishing!
Let’s go, Worcester!