BEND, Ore. - It began as an experiment to entice those shopping Bend's downtown Farmers Market to drop into the Tower through the theatre's back door on Brooks Promenade. It quickly grew into a highly-anticipated summer stop for free beer tastings and theatre tours.
The Tower's new open houses, christened "Worthy Wednesday" after sponsor Worthy Brewing, have welcomed 3,000 people in just six weeks and averaged $450 a week in membership and ticket sales.
And now, in an upcoming issue of the national publication Arts Reach Magazine, Worthy Wednesday is praised for offering a "perfect storm of exposure to potential patrons, the sponsor and the community."
Arts Reach is an association of arts managers, marketing and development professionals who regularly share case studies of "best practices" in their respective fields. Last year, the Tower's season brochure was showcased in an Arts Reach webinar as an effective catalog for small to medium sized performing arts centers.
The Tower's development director, Todd Dickerson, recruited Worthy Brewing and coordinated a team of volunteers to lead tours and pass out popcorn. So far, Worthy Brewing has offered samples of their Smash Meridian, No Quit Wit, Kolsch, and IPA craft beers.
"Most of the people who come to Worthy Wednesday have never been in the Tower before," says Dickerson. "The drop-in format is tailor-made for families and couples in their 20's and 30's. We are reaching an entirely new audience in an easy, free and fun way. Folks seem to really enjoy just hanging out in the Tower!"
Worthy Wednesdays have been extended through September.
The nonprofit Tower Theatre Foundation owns and operates the historic stage in downtown Bend. The Foundation's mission is to be Central Oregon's leading performing arts organization, providing cultural and educational programs that make essential contributions to the region's lifestyle and strength of community. Membership, program information and individual and group tickets are available at the box office (835 NW Wall), by phone (541-317-0700) or online (www.towertheatre.org). Details on events are also at facebook.com/TheTowerTheatre.
What: Worthy Wednesday -- Tastes & Tours
When: September 4, 18, 25 -- 3-7 pm
Where: Tower Theatre - 835 NW Wall Street - Bend, Oregon
Tickets: Free -- 541-317-0700 or TowerTheatre.org