[image-1] Pay-as-you-go patronage.
That’s one way the new Palmer Club at the Gaillard hopes to attract Charleston’s art enthusiasts under the age of 40 to the city’s star performance venue. Catherine Brack, the center’s Director of Development, hopes to cash in on the popularity of subscription-based services such as Spotify and Dollar Shave Club by offering a $12-per-month option to maintain membership. The introductory rate for an individual annual membership is $99, and $198 for dual.
Brack’s vision for the club is to lay the groundwork now for people in their 20s and 30s to eventually become the stewards of the Gaillard, which is after all the community’s building. “Let’s face it,” Brack asserts, “this building isn’t going anywhere. Classical music has always and will always skew towards an older crowd.”
The goal of the Palmer Club, however, is to provide a space where younger enthusiasts can meet and begin to develop a relationship with both the Gaillard and each other, and to provide their input now to help shape the nature of the programs offered in the future. Brack joked that it’s hard to find your friends in a crowd of 1,800 people (the capacity of the performance hall), so the Gallery Lobby will be a dedicated gathering space for the Palmer Club members before and after shows.
Perks of membership include exclusive events, private receptions, behind-the-scenes tours, and happy hours, harkening to some familiar existing programs geared toward the city’s youths such as Spoleto SCENE.
In celebration of the occasion, the Gaillard hosted a decent sized crowd who braved the late afternoon heat yesterday, June 21, to show support at a free launch party on the terrace. Attendees of all ages enjoyed live music by Becca Smith and Zoe Child, snacked on pimento cheese sandwiches, and guzzled Firefly Vodka spiked lemonade while huddling under whichever oak tree happened to provide the most shade at any given moment.
For those penny-pinching youngsters out there who would like to dip a toe into the world of the arts but aren’t quite sure where to begin, the Palmer Club seems like a good choice. The subscription-based membership option tempers the air of exclusivity so often associated with the fine arts, and the Club itself will usher in a new generation of patrons to ensure the center’s legacy continues to flourish long after the purple-haireds and 40 year olds of today have perished.