The Tennessee Performing Arts Center is making changes to keep arts outreach in the Nashville community, and it will cost some season ticket holders more out of pocket.

TPAC has changed up its donor levels for the first time in 20 years, and for some who never had to donate as a season ticket holder, it will cost them to keep their seats.

“The difference between this year and 20 years ago is we have 6 programs instead of the one,” said Charles Stewart, the vice president for institutional advancements.

Story Continues Below

TPAC helps encourage arts in communities and facilitates programs with schools to grow performing arts. As Nashville has grown, the need for funding those programs also grew. Stewart said the growth forced them to turn to season ticket holders for money, particularly the ones sitting in the best seats in the house at Andrew Jackson Hall. TPAC sent a letter asking for donations anywhere from $500 to $1500 a year to stay in those seats.

“I think most of the people who were not used to becoming donors were a little taken aback,” said Stewart. “But once we explained that this is how we fund our nonprofit mission, they basically understand what we are trying to do.”

News4 heard from one longtime ticket holder who can’t afford to pay more and doesn’t want to lose his seats.

Story Continues Below

“We understand that and this is not a decision that we certainly didn’t take lightly nor in haste,” said Stewart, who explained the decision was two years in the making.

Season ticket holder Micheal Walley sits just outside the new donor level rows. He understands the frustration and the need to help arts programs.

“I had tickets in the balcony before I could afford tickets further up so I think there are some other options as well and it is unfortunate that they would be losing the seats that they’ve had for years,” said Walley.

TPAC said it is working hard to find options for those who don’t want to or can’t become donors.

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.