Posted September 9, 2010

For Temple students, PEX is the passport to Philadelphia arts and culture

  • Ryan S. Brandenberg/Temple University The Philadelphia Experience Passport (PEX passport) gives students free or reduced-price access to 62 Philadelphia-area arts and cultural destinations.
  • Courtesy National Constitution Center The National Constitution Center, a new PEX participant, is one of 62 cultural organizations students with the passport can access free or at reduced admission prices.

The Philadelphia Experience Passport program is back for 2010-11, and it’s bigger than ever. Even better, PEX Passports — the coveted coupon booklets that offer Temple University students access to a breathtaking range of arts and culture destinations in the region — are available for the first time in limited quantities to all Temple students, not just freshmen.

Each of the handy gray 2010-11 PEX Passports contains coupons for free or significantly reduced entry to 62 Greater Philadelphia area museums, galleries, theater companies, concert venues, dance studios, film festivals, historic homes and more — a dramatic increase since last year, when 37 institutions participated in the program. The coupons in each passport represent a potential savings of at least $675, up from $450 in 2009-10.

Although the PEX Passport program remains focused on first-year students (freshmen received passports in their orientation packets), Temple’s General Education program is making a limited number of 2010-11 passports available to any Temple student on a first-come, first-served basis. Students can pick up a PEX Passport at the main information desk in the Howard Gittis Student Center by showing their OWLcard (limit of one per student).

Some of the arts and culture outlets participating in the program for the first time are the Philadelphia Film Society, the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, the National Constitution Center, the Melanie Stewart Dance Theatre, the Asian Arts Initiative and the Scribe Video Center in Philadelphia, as well as the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown.

One of the hottest new arts and culture venues in the passport is close to home: the newly renovated Baptist Temple on Main Campus. The PEX Passport includes a coupon for one free performance during The Baptist Temple’s inaugural 2010-11 season.

To gain admission at a participating destination, students simply show their passport and their OWLcard, after which a coupon stub will be torn from the passport. Each coupon can be used only once. The 2010-11 PEX Passport is valid until Sept. 1, 2011.

“The PEX Passport offers great opportunities for students at all levels to take full advantage of the Philadelphia region’s growing cultural and artistic off erings,” said Istvan L. Varkonyi, the new director of GenEd at Temple.

“PEX does more than just get students out into the city for Friday night fun; it sends them out on a mission of critical reflection and preparation for the real world,” Varkonyi said. “Students will be able to take what they learned from their out-of-the-classroom experiences at Temple to their next destinations around the world.”

Later this month, Temple’s GenEd program will launch a new web site ( with special Philadelphia Experience content. Eight students have been hired to blog about PEX Passport opportunities in the city at the GenEd site’s “Correspondence Corner” page. In addition, representatives of the 62 participating arts and culture outlets will be able to post on the site, opening up what Varkonyi calls “a dynamic dialogue” about arts and culture in Greater Philadelphia.