A ticket to change

After 50 years of service, Hougen’s ticket office closes on Thursday. And those who’ve relied on the office to buy bingo packages,…

After 50 years of service, Hougen’s ticket office closes on Thursday.

And those who’ve relied on the office to buy bingo packages, transit passes or pay Northwestel, WHTV and Yukon Electric bills, will have to find an alternative.

The ticket office is moving to Arts Underground, in the Hougen’s Centre basement on Monday. But that operation will only sell tickets for arts and community related events and the Canada Winter Games.

“We hope to provide a booking service for all kinds of community groups offering workshops and training,” said Yukon Arts Society chairperson Charlene Alexander.

“We want to become that place you go to find out what’s happening and register for events.”

The ticket office used to charge customers $1 per transaction, regardless of the number of tickets purchase.

But after moving to Arts Underground the price will rise to $1 for each ticket.

The Hougen’s office was subsidized by other activities, said Alexander.

“And it only sold about 16,000 arts tickets a year, so even at $1 a ticket that’s not going to be enough to pay a full-time position.”

Hougen’s will continue to pay the staff position until April, she said, noting the arts society already filled the post.

“So we can test it out — our goal is to carry on, if the Yukon Arts Centre is happy,” she said.

The arts centre is the primary ticket office client and supplied Hougen’s with the computerized ticketing database that will be moved to Arts Underground.

“It’s all very exciting for us, because we don’t even have the ticket office yet, and we have people coming down looking for tickets,” said Alexander.

“And it’s a new audience.”

A lot of people who’ve never been down to Arts Underground are now visiting the galleries, she said.

Alexander hopes to fund the fulltime ticket agent position by expanding the job’s repertoire.

“If we find other things for that person to do, and other projects, then we can build a full-time position around it,” she said.

The new ticket office will keep the same hours as Arts Underground, 9 to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Alexander’s main concern is accessibility.

“We don’t have an elevator,” she said.

“So we’ll just have to wait and see how that goes.”

The office shares its phone with Arts Underground, but will have an additional line during the Canada Winter Games.

The second floor of the Hougen Centre, where the ticket office used to be, is being redeveloped, according to a Hougen’s press release.