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TeenTix developing next generation of patrons of the arts

  • Written by Shannon Michael

If you have teenagers who love the arts, chances are they already know about TeenTix, the popular program founded in 2004 by Seattle Center to generate increased teen attendance to the 10 arts venues located at Seattle Center.

Since its inception, the program has grown to 53 arts venues throughout the Puget Sound region. To date, TeenTix has facilitated over 40,000 ticket sales to arts events at such venues as Seattle Symphony, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle International Film Festival, EMP Museum, 5th Avenue Theatre and ACT Theatre.

The premise of the program is simple. Any teenager (13-19) can sign up for a free TeenTix pass at teentix.org. The pass entitles them to purchase $5 day-of-show tickets at any of the program’s partner organizations.

In addition to giving access to arts tickets that are palatable to a teen’s budget, TeenTix also offers opportunities to teens to engage in the arts, from arts leadership training in The New Guard: Teen Arts Leadership Society, to even trying their hands at arts criticism through the TeenTix Press Corps. The TeenTix blog is considered a great source of arts coverage from teens’ perspectives, as over 80 teens contribute to the blog.

For older teens in the Northshore area, taking the 522 Sound Transit bus from Woodinville, Bothell or Kenmore into downtown Seattle can provide access to many of the arts venues, while also helping build independence and navigation skills, traits that will be necessary in a few short years when they head off to college.

TeenTix is easy to use, too. Teens are encouraged to visit the TeenTix website’s calendar or subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter to look for events or venues they’re interested in attending using their TeenTix pass. When they’ve selected the event, TeenTix recommends calling the venue to ensure TeenTix tickets will be available at the box office that day. At the venue, go to the ticket desk or box office, show them the TeenTix pass along with school ID or a driver’s license, then buy the $5 ticket using cash only (no debit or credit cards are allowed).

For the month of May, the TeenTix calendar suggests two musical theatre productions, “A Room with a View” at the 5th Avenue Theatre through May 11 and “Little Shop of Horrors” at the ACT Theatre through June 15.

Another sub-category sure to appeal to teens is the Weird of the Week, with exhibits such as The Seattle Art Museum’s Miró: The Experience of Seeing special exhibit running through May 22. In the TeenTix blog, contributor April P. explains why: “Miró’s overwhelming use of the eye reminds the viewer that observing and perceiving is pivotal to enjoying art and really taking it in.”

Another regular event offered is the Laser Dome light shows set to popular music at the Pacific Science Center. The shows each have a theme, ranging from classic music from the Beatles, Queen and Pink Floyd to more current music including dubstep and Lady Gaga.

TeenTix tickets cannot be reserved in advance. The fact that tickets are only available on the day of an event if space is still available keeps the cost so low for teens. Some venues do allow phone sales on the day of the event, and those participating organizations are listed on the TeenTix website.

While generally the program only allows purchase of one ticket to an event or venue, it does offer 2-for-$10 days where a TeenTix member can buy a second “companion” ticket for $5 on Thursdays at participating museums, and Sundays everywhere else. The companion can be of any age — a parent, sibling, or friend — but the TeenTix member must be present to purchase the tickets.

So whether it’s a drama or a musical, an opera or a choral concert, an improv show or a film festival, a museum about music, art or history (or all three!), the choices for teens to explore and learn about the wealth of arts culture we have in the Puget Sound region are expansive.

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