By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s major museums are offering steeply discounted entry fees to low-income residents, in a new program called “Access Admission.”

The hope is to open the arts to those who may never have been able to afford it before.

(An “Access” card is an electronic benefits transfer card used to provide benefits to Pennsylvania residents.)

“Art doesn’t belong just to the wealthy,” says Philadelphia city councilwoman Cindy Bass.  “Art belongs to everyone.”

Bass (at left in photo) was on hand for the announcement of the $2 admission fee being offered at seventeen museums to people receiving state welfare benefits.  A family of four, for example, will be able to visit for eight dollars.

Bass says it will particularly benefit the people in her district who are so bound by poverty that they seldom leave their neighborhoods.

“This is going to open up horizons.  It’s going to let you see things you haven’t seen before,” Bass said.

The program has been in the planning for three years, according to Art-Reach director Marion Young (at right in photo), but the museums signed on quickly.

“I think they all recognized what kind of wonderful and simple way this was to reach audiences they knew they wanted to reach,” she said today.

Visitors simply have to show their state benefits card.