duARTS’ new Art Card program allows students to score free food simply by supporting the arts on campus.
Students can pick up art cards at arts-themed campus locations such as the Bryan Center box office, Arts Annex and participating restaurants. The cards can be stamped at most on campus arts events, such as a visit to tahe Nasher Museum, a Hoof’n’Horn production or a Duke Performances concert. Students who rack up 10 stamps will receive a free item from local vendors like Monuts Donuts, Cocoa Cinnamon and Pompieri Pizza.
“We want to incentivize people to go to arts events but also just say ‘thank you’ to people that are already going,” said duARTS president Anshu Vipparla, a senior.
Vipparla brainstormed the idea of an arts reward card with duARTS board members last spring. The group wanted to encourage students to try a variety of arts events rather than merely attending their friends’ performances.
“There’s always so much going on that [students] just limit their options and go to the [events] that their friends are involved in,” Vipparla said. “We’re bridging the gap to get them to go to all of the events.”
To make this happen, Vipparla approached Vice Provost for the Arts Scott Lindroth and Amy Unell, a Career Center alumna in residence and a point person on campus for arts initiatives. Both Lindroth and Unell were immediately on board and called in Wendy Hower, the Nasher Museum of Art’s director of engagement and marketing, for advice. Hower had implemented a similar rewards program last year with the museum’s Miro exhibit and was happy to help.
“Any new reason we can give students to enjoy the arts at Duke, we’re in,” Hower said.
With the administration’s support, Vipparla began reaching out to local vendors and received overwhelming enthusiasm from on-campus venues like Joe Van Gogh and Saladelia and Durham favorites alike. The individuals involved approached many of the same restaurants that participated last spring with the Artstigators campaign.
Joe Van Gogh owner Robbie Roberts said he is always a fan of encouraging customers to find a creative outlet. He hopes arts-themed menu items may get them to think about art themselves.
“For people who are so inclined, it’ll give them a jumping-off point for thinking about being creative or other people that are being creative,” Roberts said.
Although the University offers an array of concerts and visual arts programs, Lindroth said student tickets are often not sold out.
“Arts events at Duke attract a growing campus and community audience,” Lindroth wrote in an email Wednesday. “But in general, we can always find seats for students at arts events,”
Vipparla said she hopes to expand the card’s benefits to Durham arts events as well.
“That’s the next step—to make sure we reach out into the vibrant arts community in Durham,” she said.
Correction: This story was updated to reflect Hower's proper last name, which was incorrect in the original story. The Chronicle regrets the error.
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