Are you a TEEN interested in this program? Click here for more information!

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, the Teen Arts Pass (TAP) will allow Chicago youth to access the city’s wide array of music, dance, theatre, and more – at a price point that works for them.

Through the Teen Arts Pass (TAP), 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: 81% of teens surveyed 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.

Learn about TAP Sponsorship Opportunities >>

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, helping them to foster deep appreciation for and interest in the arts – and lending new creative experiences to crucial years of self-discovery. 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?

Teens (ages 13-19) make up nearly 10% of Chicago’s population, which means this initiative has the potential to serve about 270,000 young people in the city alone. But the program is not limited to Chicago teens; teens from the larger metro area, as well as teens visiting the city from elsewhere in the U.S. or abroad, are also welcome to sign up and take advantage of TAP – which makes the program’s possible reach much larger. And teens aren’t the only ones who stand to benefit; creating artistic access for young people means new audiences for our city’s arts venues. It also means a more vibrant, artistically responsive city and society.

How will it work?

Arts Partners agree to provide any remaining tickets on the day of a show to eligible teens for $5 cash through their box office. Teen Arts Pass does not require partners to donate tickets, but only to offer seats that would otherwise go unfilled. There is no fee for the Arts 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 quick and easy process, either via the program’s website or app or in-person at schools, community organizations, etc. A teen participant then shows their pass (physical or mobile) at the box office of an Arts Partner venue to purchase any available day-of-show tickets for $5 cash. Urban Gateways will create and host the new TAP website and app, where teens can find information about the program-eligible events across the city, all in one place.

Where will it take place?

Teen Arts Pass (TAP) 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 the Teen Arts Pass website and app, hosted by Urban Gateways.

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 then worked with an Advisory Committee consisting of representatives from Chicago-area arts and community organizations, as well as with TeenTix as a consulting organization, through summer and fall 2017 to finalize the program framework. We convened TAP’s inaugural Teen Council in fall 2017, and the Council’s 14 talented and dedicated teens are lending their support and guidance as we prepare to launch the program. We plan to officially launch TAP, fully equipped with website, app, and an exciting roster of Arts Partners, in May 2018!

Stay tuned for more info in spring 2018!
Questions? Contact Tarah Durnbaugh:
312-445-2750 /

Thank you to TAP supporters: