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Enjoy a season of the arts

Do you consider yourself a lover of music and the arts? If you do, you are in very good company. According to the 2012 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts from the National Endowment for the Arts, nearly half of American adults (roughly 115 million people) attended at least one type of visual or performing arts activity that year. Nearly the same amount participated in some type or artistic activity.

Going to the theater or attending a concert are popular ways to indulge one's passion for the arts. Fortunately, there are many additional ways for men and women to support the arts.

• Become an arts patron. If you find yourself attending shows multiple times a year, it may be worth the investment to become a patron of a performance group or a particular theater. Membership may entitle you to advance notification and the opportunity to purchase tickets before they go on sale to the masses. Many organizations even provide complementary offerings to members, including free beverages, complementary tickets to certain performances and entry to member lounges before and/or after the show. Don't dismiss local theater groups, either, as even high school and college students put on impressive shows.

• Join a discount ticket membership group. Free enrollment in a ticket benefit group is a perk available to men and women who work for certain organizations. Such groups offer discounted ticket rates to members and can help you save a good deal on the purchase of tickets over the course of a year, so speak with human resources personnel at your place of employment to determine your eligibility for such groups.

• Make it a group night out. Spread the word about a favorite play or performance by taking in a show with friends or family members. Inviting others to share in the experience may encourage a love of the arts in your loved ones. Plus, it can be more fun to attend as a group, sharing the experience and making critiques afterward. Theaters and other performance venues are often centrally located, so you can make the most of a night out with dinner before the show and drinks afterward.

• Explore different genres. If you have a tendency to gravitate toward musicals, stray from the norm and try a drama on your next night out. Expand your musical horizons as well. Don't shy away from a particular type of music because it isn't what you're accustomed to. You never know what you may discover when you experiment with different musical styles. It's quite possible you will fall in love with a new style of music.

• Shop well in advance. Although you may periodically earn discounts if you wait until the last minute to purchase tickets, it's often wise to shop around months before a performance. Shopping early affords you your choice of seats and reduces the risk of losing out to a sellout.

There is no time like the present to enjoy the arts. Don't miss the bevy of artistic endeavors that take place locally and in city centers.

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