Our History

Donate Now

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.

Mission & Vision

Act One provides meaningful arts experiences that enhance the academic and creative potential of children and families in Arizona. We envision a time when all Arizonans acknowledge the value of creative arts experiences as a significant component of educational advancement and personal well-being.

What We Do

Act One makes the arts accessible to more than 530,000 children and families in Arizona each year through field trips for K-12 students from Title 1 schools and the Culture Pass.

The Founding of Act One

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 theater companies 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.

Field Trips – Act One sends 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 from start to finish: securing tickets with the arts organizations, working with teachers to book field trips, paying for the transportation and providing educational materials that teachers can use to integrate the field trip into their curricula and prepare the students for their arts experience. In the 2018-19 school year, Act One brought more than 43,000 students in Maricopa County and Pima County on arts field trips and has capacity in 2019-20 to bring more than 50,000 participants on field trips.

Culture Pass – In 2013, Act One adopted its second program, the Culture Pass. By “checking out” a Culture Pass at one of 64 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, and today more than 10,000 performance tickets are available annually to library cardholders in Maricopa and Pima counties. 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 11 Pima County Public Libraries and the Pima Community College Desert Vista Campus Library.

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 200,000 students from Title 1 schools in Arizona. During the 2017-2018 school year, Act One’s field trip schedule served more than 43,000 students in Maricopa and Pima counties. The Culture Pass program furthers this impact, with the annual potential for more than 500,000 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. Read More

Learn more about the Piper Trust Encore Career Prize and the founding of Act One
Get Involved with Act One

Find out how you can help!

Your support helps bring students on arts field trips who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity.

Donate Monthly Get Involved

Our History