Secret life hacks for Mercerians to save money on a night out | Arts at Mercer

Mercer students at the Grand Opera House to see the Macon-Mercer Symphony Orchestra. Photo by Christopher Ian Smith.

It’s the beginning of the semester, and I know what that means for Bears everywhere around Macon — sorting out a busy social calendar of campus and community events. While deciding among the offerings is never easy, I encourage Mercerians to head downtown for some of the best culture around the world. 

An artist talk for “Storm Songs” by Alexa Kleinbard will take place at 6 p.m. Sept. 2.

Now is a great time to check out a show at The Grand Opera House or go to an art showing at McEachern Art Center (the MAC), and here’s why. There are a few hidden ways to get a discounted or entirely free night out, just for Mercer students, faculty and staff.

First up, on Sept. 2, the MAC opens the new exhibition “Storm Songs.” This show brings in painter Alexa Kleinbard, an internationally renowned artist who resides in Tallahassee, Florida. Her work explores nature’s remarkable garden of biodiversity and how human destruction threatens the beauty of the natural world. Kleinbard will give an artist talk at 6 p.m. about what inspired the show.

Here’s the hack: Both the artist talk by Kleinbard and a reception featuring refreshments are free. The MAC is open Thursdays-Saturdays from 4-8 p.m. and is always free to enter, making a sophisticated date that is easy on the wallet. 

To make an evening out of it, walk over to The Grand Opera House for its Open House and Cocktail Challenge, which will take place 5-8 p.m. Sept. 2. The Grand is opening its historic doors for fun — simply to chat about the shows we have coming up and to show off our elegant bar. We will be giving exclusive behind-the-scenes backstage tours during this event and hosting a cocktail challenge by bar manager Nikki McKinney in which we will be testing out two signature cocktails. Order one and vote for your favorite, and you’ll be entered to win a free pair of tickets to one of The Grand’s signature season events.

The Grand Opera House. Photo by Christopher Ian Smith

Speaking of The Grand, there’s another life hack students, faculty and staff should take advantage of to get the most out of their time at Mercer. Bear Rush Month — an exclusive discount program for Mercerians — is happening now! 

That means a ticket to any of The Grand Opera House-presented shows, from national Broadway tours to classic film screenings to rocking concerts, is 15% off for anyone with a Mercer ID during the month of September. Purchase tickets online by going to and using code GOHMU or call the box office at (478) 301-5470 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Remember, this code is exclusively available during September, so don’t wait to plan out the entire years’ worth of shows and events.

Finally, there’s a program that isn’t super secret, but the best way to save on it is only for Mercer Bears. The Macon-Mercer Symphony Orchestra (MMSO) is a program that will wow you. From hip-hop to Haydn, this performance marries the raw power of orchestral performance with a classical revolution. The second season promises to be a big one, starting with superstar guest conductor Roderick Cox returning to Macon.

Students of all ages can get free tickets for all performances of the MMSO. You can claim a ticket with a student ID on the day of the show when the box office opens. Don’t want to wait? Student subscriptions allow a student to reserve a seat for each performance for just $20 for the entire season. Call the box office to get yours.

For Mercer faculty and staff, there’s a great deal in store. Normally, subscriptions are $112, but there is a $60 Mercer faculty and staff rate that works out to just $15 per concert. This savings gives you world-class music at affordable prices.

With these secret tips — well, they’re not secret anymore! — Mercerians can fill up their year in advance this month. Pencil in the best of the arts, and experience a calendar full of joy and wonder with friends and family.


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