Cultural events to be more accessible to the disadvantaged

Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos unveiled the new «Culture Card» last week as part of the ministry’s «Culture for Everyone» initiative. The Culture Card is a pass that will allow people from disadvantaged sectors of society to visit, free of charge or at a sizable discount, museums, theaters, exhibitions and cultural events held by the Ministry of Culture. Already in its pilot phase since last July in Thessaloniki, the Culture Card is for groups including the unemployed who are under 30 years of age and registered with the state employment organization (OAED), families with four or more children, members of state-run senior citizens’ centers, the disabled, veterans of the national resistance movement, and people who are in drug rehabilitation programs. Individuals and groups entitled to the card must contact their local citizens’ information and service center (KEP) for a list of the documentation required for the application and the card will be forwarded to them through the mail. Benefits The card covers free entry to museums and archaeological sites all year around, events held by the Ministry of Culture or venues run by it (such as the National Opera, national orchestras) and Sunday matinee performances of the Thessaloniki and Athens concert halls. It also allows for cut-rate tickets to plays, dance performances, film screenings, exhibitions and reduced prices for books. The list of benefits card-carriers are entitled to will continue to grow and all updates will either be announced through the media or posted on the website Information is also available on the Culture Hotline, tel 8001.1100.100. Venizelos also announced that his ministry will be extending invitations to private cultural bodies to be added to the list. «The Culture for Everyone program is an initiative that helps bring everyone into the great wave of culture, creativity, knowledge, our cultural heritage and entertainment,» he said. In practical terms, it means that at all cinemas funded by the Greek Film Center (including the Apollon, Trianon, Andora, and Aphaia) cardholders will pay 5 euros instead of 7 (on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays) and at the Village, Odeon and Star Century cinema complexes, the price of a ticket will be reduced from 7 euros to 5.50. The program has also organized free-of-charge tours to 39 archaeological sites and museums starting on November 25. Until March 31, entry to archaeological, Byzantine and folklore museums that operate either as services of the Ministry of Culture or are under its authority is free of charge to everyone, whether or not they are card-carriers. The most important sites and museums are currently closed for renovation for the Olympic Games, of course, though some collections are open for public viewing.