Online ticket sales coming for Jasper arts

By LEANN BURKE
lburke@dcherald.com

JASPER — Online ticket sales are on the way for performances at the Jasper Community Arts Center.

At its meeting Tuesday night, the Jasper Community Arts Commission approved a handful of changes to the ticketing structure for the performing arts shows, including a change in box office software that will allow online sales of tickets for individual shows beginning in late July. Package tickets will still need to be purchased by phone or mail order.

Beginning in June, the arts commission will use software from Arts People of Portland, Oregon, to manage ticket sales. The Jasper Parks Department already uses the company to sell tickets for excursions on the Spirit of Jasper train.

“(The parks department) has had no complaints with their use of it,” Arts Director Kyle Rupert told the board.

Rupert said the department must change software because their current system will no longer be supported in the next few months. He recommended Arts People from a handful of ticketing software providers in part because Arts People does not require a long-term commitment from its customers.

Rupert told the board that he thinks the flexibility to change companies if need be is what the arts commission needs since the department is in a time of change with adding the Astra Theatre on the Courthouse Square to its list of venues and with the Jasper Cultural Center project. The Cultural Center will bring the arts commission and Jasper Public Library together under one roof at the corner of Third and Mill streets, and is slated for completion in the next few years.

The board agreed with Rupert.

The cost of Arts People depends on how many tickets are sold. The company charges a per-ticket processing fee of 25 cents for phone and mail-in orders and $1.25 for online orders. Based on past ticket sales, Rupert estimated the cost to be $3,400. If people continue to only get tickets by mail or phone, Rupert said, the cost will be around $2,000, less than the department pays for the current software. Rupert said that those estimates are just guesses, however, because changes to the performance series and ticketing schedule going into effect this year could change sales.

For the upcoming season, individual series’ names and the number of shows in each series have changed. The department combined the traditional and new directions series into the main stage series, referring to shows that will be shown at the Jasper Community Arts Center, 951 College Avenue. For 2018-19, that series will have five shows.

The department also added the Astra series, which includes shows that will be shown at the Astra Theatre on the Courthouse Square. For 2018-19, the arts department has two shows booked at the Astra, independent of the shows Next Act Inc., the nonprofit responsible for renovating and reopening the theater, has planned.

The backstage and family fun series will stay, but for 2018-19. The family fun series has two shows, down one from three last season.

Overall, the arts department is still bringing 12 shows to Jasper with ticket prices remaining steady.

“The fact that we’re (making changes) without increasing prices is probably a good thing,” said Gary Moeller, the board’s vice president.

For those who want to buy package tickets for a series, a 15 percent discount will be applied across the board. In the past, each series had a different discount. Larger discounts will be applied for customers who buy a package of tickets for all 12 shows. Another change is that for each adult ticket sold for a family fun show, one free child ticket will be included. The idea behind offering a free ticket was to generate more ticket sales, particularly among families with multiple kids.

“If you have two kids, one can come free, but somebody’s going to have to buy a ticket,” said Mike Jones, board president.

Letters to current series package ticket holders will go out in June to offer renewal purchases for the 2018-19 season, and new package ticket sales will open in early July. Sales for individual shows will begin in late July.




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