Teen Arts Pass Builds an Influential Audience Segment for Chicago: Teenagers

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Teen Arts Pass invests in young people to foster future arts engagement today.

CHICAGO, IL (January 10, 2019) – 25 Chicago arts institutions have joined up with Urban Gateways’ Teen Arts Pass (TAP) to build unparalleled access and equity for youth participation in the arts. The permanent and ongoing initiative makes tickets to live arts performances around Chicago available to TAP members for only $5. Teen Arts Pass membership is free of charge to all teens between the ages of 13 and 19 and provides access to live arts and culture events year-round.

Since launching in May, more than 5,100 teens have registered for this groundbreaking program and more are signing up every day. The 25 participating partners represent a wide range of artistic disciplines, sizes, and geographic locations to help ensure excitement and access for all TAP members. (Full list of partners below.)

TAP aims to make Chicago’s arts and culture accessible to youth from every part of the city and region. Commissioner Mark Kelly of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events said of the program, “[There is] so much culture around us, but there’s a sense that ‘it’s not for me,’ ‘it’s not affordable,’ that ‘I’m not going to feel comfortable,’ that ‘I’m not going to be welcome.’ And now with TAP, $5 for incredible performances from our artists and artists from around the world, Urban Gateways has opened doors, avenues, and perceptions that otherwise wouldn’t be available to teens.”

TAP registration is free for any teen regardless of residence or student-status; they can sign up at teenartspass.org in a matter of minutes. Upon registering they receive a temporary digital card and later a mailed physical card; the information for all eligible events is available on the website calendar and soon on the TAP app, set to launch within a few months. Companion

Tickets are also available for select shows; a teen can purchase an additional $5 ticket for a friend, a parent/guardian, a sibling, etc.

“Teen Arts Pass is a formal invitation for all young people to engage in the civic and artistic discourse of our city,” said Urban Gateways Executive Director Eric Delli Bovi. “This far-reaching initiative will influence the future vitality of Chicago’s arts and culture sector.”

But the benefits don’t stop there. “Young people who are exposed to live performing arts are more likely to become empathetic, creative, curious, and open-minded citizens – something we want for our society,” said Urban Gateways Associate Director of Programs Tarah Ortiz Durnbaugh.

Through TAP, Urban Gateways and participating organizations welcome teens into the arts community and expose them to art forms that open their minds and expand their creativity. Urban Gateways’ hope is to see more and more teens utilizing this exciting initiative and experiencing partner performances for many years to come.

“We are thrilled to participate in the Teen Arts Pass program,” said Kiana DiStasi, Goodman Theatre’s Audience Development Manager. “Inclusion is the fabric of our institution, and we are grateful to work with Urban Gateways to remove barriers that might prevent Chicago’s youth from participating in all the great arts and culture that this city has to offer.”

The 25 inaugural partners include: Auditorium Theatre, Barrel of Monkeys, Black Ensemble Theater, Chicago Philharmonic, Chicago Sinfonietta, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Court Theatre, Dance Center of Columbia College, eta Creative Arts, Fulcrum Point New Music Project, Goodman Theatre, Harris Theater, The Joffrey Ballet, Reva & David Logan Center for the Arts, Lookingglass Theatre, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA Stage), North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, Northlight Theatre, Old Town School of Folk Music, Ruth Page Center for the Arts, Steep Theatre, UChicago Presents, Victory Gardens Theater, and Writers Theatre.

Teen Arts Pass Promo video >>


For more information contact Abby Prescott, Director of Communications, at 312.445.2755 or [email protected]

Urban Gateways engages young people in arts experiences to inspire creativity and impact social change. TAP is a program of Urban Gateways; with the Teen Arts Pass, teens can experience live arts performances all around Chicago for only $5. Sign up or learn more at teenartspass.org.