History

Our History

Founded in 2011, Act One is the brainchild of two local entrepreneurs and arts patrons with a single vision: to provide access to the arts for all of Arizona’s students. By organizing field trips and offering the Culture Pass, Act One helps provide access for all to Arizona’s thriving art scene.

Act One was started by Russ and Mac Perlich to address the many issues faced by schools and arts organizations alike when organizing field trips. Although many theaters offered student matinees, low-income schools could not afford the tickets, nor the necessary transportation. The solution became Act One’s flagship venture: the Act One Field Trip Program.

Act One annually sends more than 25,000 students from Title 1 schools on educational arts field trips and covers the cost of admission tickets and transportation. Act One facilitates the field trips with arts organizations and schools, schedules the transportation and provides educational materials that teachers can use to integrate the field trip into their curricula and prepare the students for their arts experience. The program is available to students in both Maricopa County and Pima County.

In 2013, Act One adopted its second program, the Culture Pass. By “checking out” a Culture Pass at one of 54 local libraries, library cardholders receive free admission for two to one of the many museums, theaters and cultural sites that participate in the program. In its first year under Act One, the Culture Pass was expanded to include passes to performances, providing nearly 2,000 performance tickets to families in Maricopa County. In 2014, the Sedona Public Library joined the list of partners, bringing the Culture Pass to Northern Arizona. In October 2015, the program launched in Pima County and is available at eight Pima County Public Libraries.

As Arizona struggles to provide its students with adequate arts education, Act One helps to fill the void by providing educational arts field trips and by improving access to the arts in our communities. Since its inception, Act One has provided arts and culture field trips for more than 100,000 students from Title 1 schools in Arizona. During the 2015-2016 school year, Act One’s field trip schedule served more than 25,000 students in Maricopa and Pima counties. The Culture Pass program furthers this impact, with the annual potential for more than 400,000 individuals to visit a museum, theater or cultural site for free.

In November 2015, Act One founder Russ Perlich received the Piper Trust Encore Career Prize for an Exceptional Individual. CLICK HERE to learn more and watch the video about the Piper Trust Encore Career Prize and the founding of Act One.