Monday, November 23, 2009: Congressman James P. McGovern joined the Worcester Cultural Coalition and leaders of the City’s political and business community today at the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, 2 Southbridge Street, for a ceremony unveiling the Coalition’s new WOO Card program – a program designed to open the door to Worcester County’s vibrant cultural community by offering discounts and special offers for cool concerts, dynamic theater, unique museums, magical music, street festivals, outdoor adventures and more – throughout Worcester County, throughout the year.

“In the City of Worcester alone, arts and culture organizations account for more than 1,300 jobs, generating a total economic impact of more than $64,000,000,” noted McGovern, citing 2009 data from Americans for the Arts. “It is imperative that we continue to support this critical industry and the WOO Card program opens the door to doing just that.”

Begun in 2007 in partnership with the Colleges of Worcester Consortium, the WOO Card program had previously distributed some 12,000 cards exclusively to Worcester area college students as means of providing students with discounted access to area cultural venues. Public WOO Cards are now available for purchase by the general public for just $20 online at http://www.WOOCard.org , weekdays at the Worcester Cultural Coalition’s Office located at 44 Front Street, as well as at select cultural events including the Worcester Center for Crafts 40th Annual Festival of Crafts November 27th – 29th and at stART at the Station on December 6th.

In addition to offering well over $250 in savings, WOO Card users will also earn points each time they use their card making them eligible for monthly drawings for fantastic prizes.

There are presently nearly twenty area cultural venues participating in the WOO Card program, including: American Antiquarian Society, ARTSWorcester, Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, EcoTarium, Fruitlands Museum, Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, Higgins Armory Museum, Mechanics Hall, Music Worcester, Museum of Russian Icons, stART on the Street, Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Traina Center for the Arts, Worcester Art Museum, Worcester Chamber Music Society, Worcester Hibernian Cultural Centre and the Worcester Historical Museum.

Savings at each venue varies from $2-$5 off tickets and general admission to buy-one-get one free deals and other special offerings – including $20 tickets to Legally Blonde The Musical playing Thanksgiving weekend at the Hanover Theatre and 50% off tickets to Hanover Theatre’s upcoming production of A Christmas Carol. All who purchase a WOO Card before the end of the calendar year will be entered into a drawing to win airfare for two aboard Direct Air.

City Manager Michael V. O’Brien said, “The WOO Card program has been incredibly well received and has introduced Worcester’s wealth of cultural opportunities to our student population. We look forward to expanding the program and sharing the gift of culture with the citizenry of greater Worcester.”

Hoping to capture some of the upcoming holiday gift buying market, the Worcester Cultural Coalition is offering discounted rates for bulk purchases of the WOO Cards, touting the program for employee recognition and client rewards to the City’s corporate community. At today’s event, Congressman McGovern announced that the Hanover Foundation will purchase 750 WOO Cards with the intention of distributing the cards to cultural ambassadors within the Worcester Public Schools.

“The Hanover Foundation is planning to purchase a block of WOO Cards and use them to help build connections between our public school educators and the cultural gems in our city.  Our intent is to provide a complimentary WOO Card to AVID educators and other teachers in the Worcester public schools  to strengthen awareness and generate ideas for learning in and outside of classrooms using our plethora of local cultural gems,” Linda M. McGowan of Hanover.

Anita Walker, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council which has supported the WOO Card program since its inception, noted, “Worcester is a city with tremendous cultural assets, and the Worcester Cultural Coalition has been instrumental in harnessing those assets to draw visitors and businesses. The MCC is proud to support cultural development in Worcester, whether it’s through an investment in the Coalition’s economic development efforts, new cultural facilities such as the Hanover Theatre, or established institutions such as the Worcester Art Museum. We believe these investments go a long way in making Worcester a great place to live or to visit.”

Where to Buy your WOO Card

Public WOO Cards are now available for purchase by the general public:
online at http://www.WOOCard.org,

•Weekdays 8:30-5 p.m. at the Worcester Cultural Coalition’s Office located at 44 Front Street,
•40th Annual Festival of Crafts at the Worcester Center for Crafts, 25 Sagamore Road, November 27th – 29th,
•stART at the Station at Union Station, 2 Washington Square, on December 6th, and
•Central Mass High School Idol Competition at Mechanics Hall on December 6th.

Funding and support for the Worcester Cultural Coalition’s WOO Card program is provided by the Massachusetts Cultural Council Adams Grant Program, the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, the City of Worcester, and the Fred H. Daniels Foundation.

The Worcester Cultural Coalition is the unified voice of Worcester’s cultural community. Its mission is to draw on the City’s rich and diverse cultural assets to foster economic revitalization and create a strong cultural identity for the Central Massachusetts region. For additional information please visit the Worcester Cultural Coalition online or contact Erin Williams, Cultural Development Officer, at (508) 799-1400 x265.

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