Coming soon: Urban Gateways plans to significantly increase teen access to Chicago’s wealth of performing arts venues, and build the city’s future audiences, by offering $5 day-of tickets to performances all over Chicago for audience members age 13-19. Based on the TeenTix model in Seattle, this new Urban Gateways program will allow Chicago youth to access the city’s wide array of music, dance, theatre, visual arts, movies, and more – at a price point that works for them.

Through this initiative, youth will be empowered as new arts consumers while arts partners will cultivate a new and important audience segment. We believe that this mutually-beneficial program will play a critical role in future sustainability for Chicago’s arts and culture sector.

We’ve already gathered input from over 1,000 Chicago-area teens, and we know they’re excited about this initiative: 80% said that if a $5 performance ticket were available to them, they would be likely or very likely to purchase the ticket and attend the event.

Now we’re seeking feedback from adults – teachers, parents, representatives of arts or community partner organizations, and anyone else who is invested in this program or in the creative development of Chicago teens. Take the survey by May 1st and you’ll be entered into a raffle to win free tickets to a Chicago performance!

$5 TEEN TICKET SURVEY (for adults) 

Interested in more details about how this program will work? Just scroll down!

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Why is this program important?

Youth participants will gain significantly more access to our city’s vast artistic and cultural resources, and help foster an appreciation for and expanded interests in new art forms. More importantly, the program closes the opportunity gap that so many Chicago teens face, while adding the intrinsic value of making their own choices through the individual purchasing power of a $5 bill. For the arts and culture sector, this service is a cost-effective and simple strategy to further audience expansion goals, while leveling the playing field across small, mid-size, and large institutions through direct and affordable youth outreach and access. It will also help venues build stronger and sustainable relationships with teen audiences, while maximizing the reach of each performance.

Who benefits?

As Chicago teens (ages 13-19) make up nearly 10% of Chicago’s population, this initiative has the potential to serve about 270,000 young Chicago residents.

How will it work?

Presenting Partner venues agree to provide any remaining tickets on the day of a show to eligible teens for $5 cash through their box office. The initiative does not require partners to donate tickets, but only to offer seats that would otherwise go unfilled. There is no fee for the Presenting Partner to participate in this program.

Transactions will predominantly occur in cash at the box office, so no new systems are required for venues. Partners will submit periodic sales reports to measure progress and impact and provide feedback to continue improving the quality of service for both venues and teen audiences.

Teens sign up for a free pass through a simple and quick process, and show this pass at the box office of a Presenting Partner venue to purchase any available day-of-show tickets for $5 cash. Urban Gateways will create and host a new website where teens can find information about the program-eligible events across the city, all in one place.

When will it happen?

The initiative began with an informational kick-off meeting in March 2017 to establish support and gather feedback from stakeholders. Urban Gateways will form Advisory Committees through the spring; we will work with these committees and with TeenTix to finalize the program framework and prepare for a soft launch by the end of 2017.

Where will it take place?

This initiative will be housed within the Urban Gateways organization. All program activity occurs at participating venues across the city. Teen registration, information, and venue promotion occur online through a new, project-specific website created and hosted by Urban Gateways.

How you can help:

Urban Gateways will solicit feedback from cross-sector supporters including arts organizations, venues, civic leaders, teens, and other stakeholders to inform strategies for the program framework and implementation. Once the project is underway, two Advisory Committees will be formed: one for teens and the other for professional leaders. In addition, TeenTix in Seattle will act as a consultant in order to support Urban Gateways in creating a unique model for Chicago. Right now through May 1st, adult stakeholders should take a quick survey to share your thoughts about this program!

Questions? Contact Tarah Durnbaugh:
312-445-2750 /