You’ve got your favorite gallery, your family traditions for annual theater productions or concerts. And that’s fine.
But it’s always good to expand your horizons. If you want to try something new, or engage with your favorite form of art in a whole new way, there’s no shortage of opportunities around the Triangle.
So, try these tips:
1. Take a chance, cheap.
If you’re a student, a senior citizen or in the military, your ID is a ticket to discounts from just about every major arts organization around. But if you’re in that in-between age, don’t despair. Some organizations – including the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University and CAM Raleigh – offer free admission to everyone on regularly scheduled days (Thursday nights at the Nasher, First Fridays at Raleigh’s contemporary art museum). Call the box office or check the venue’s website for information.
2. First Friday (or Second, or Third).
An autumn evening is a great time to stroll the streets of your own hometown, meeting new friends and checking out new arts venues. Galleries, museums and other art spaces expand their hours and have staff and artists on hand who are eager to engage with visitors. These events are less formal and are a great way to beat the intimidation factor if you’re feeling a bit outside your element.
Raleigh holds its arts open house on the first Friday of every month. Chapel Hill and Carrboro take their turn on second Fridays. And Durham’s monthly event, which includes designated “buskers” playing music, is on the third Friday.
You’ll work hard, but you’ll get an up-close view of the art you love. Local theaters often need ushers and crew workers, and museums appreciate help with tours, educational activities, clerical work and more. Most arts organizations are nonprofits working on a shoestring budget, so if you have a useful skill or a willingness to learn, you’ll find nearly unlimited opportunities.
4. Take a class.
Maybe you’ve got an artist within you. Explore that side with classes in painting, acting, music – just about anything you can imagine. You might just launch a new hobby (or even career!). But if nothing else, you’ll gain an appreciation of technique and the vocabulary and experience to talk with others who share your interest.
5. Go alone.
If no one’s available to come with you to the theater Saturday night, don’t stay home. Many people find that going solo to an arts event opens up new levels of appreciation. You’re free to engage with your own thoughts about the work, and without the distraction of a companion. It might feel awkward at first, but you might find you can be your own best company. And in the arts, you’re always among friends.
6. Think high school musical.
If your budget limits the number of big-ticket shows you can see, consider your local high school. Most area schools have drama departments and choral groups that offer a couple of shows each year. Some of these kids are already tromping the boards in local theatrical productions and the enthusiasm can be infectious. To find out when the shows are, check school websites or ask neighbors with children in school. It’s a great way to support the community and tomorrow’s stars.