Teen Arts Pass Launches New Mobile App

News • Press Releases

Arts & technology intersect with the new Teen Arts Pass Mobile App, bringing thousands of live performances to teens across Chicago

CHICAGO, IL (October 28, 2019) Teen Arts Pass has launched a brand new mobile app for iOS and Android mobile devices to help enhance teen engagement with live performances. 

Teen Arts Pass (TAP) enables anyone age 13-19 to purchase day-of-show tickets for only $5 with 27 arts partners all around the city. The program, launched by Urban Gateways in 2018, prioritizes teens as a critical audience segment and encourages young people to pursue their artistic interests and broaden their worldviews. The new TAP App makes information about thousands of eligible performances each year readily accessible to over 8,000 TAP members to date.

Prior to developing an app, TAP information (including registration and performance details) was housed solely on the website, teenartspass.org. However, based on feedback from teens, Urban Gateways knew that TAP members needed access to information on the go. 

A recent Pew Research study found that over 95% of all US teens regularly use mobile phones regardless of income, while only 88% have access to a computer or laptop. Combined with feedback from the TAP Teen Council, this research compelled Urban Gateways to maximize the program’s impact by making TAP available where teens spend significant time – on their phones.

Urban Gateways took the plunge to develop this brand-new technology nearly a year ago through a partnership with the Thierer Family Foundation, whose mission is to help Chicago nonprofits increase their impact through technology.

The vibrant arts and culture scene of Chicago, and the educational opportunities that come with it, can feel intimidating and out of reach for young people. The Teen Arts Pass program makes these important cultural and learning experiences affordable and accessible to teens, a historically overlooked audience. With the development of the TAP App, Urban Gateways is scaling the level of access and agency for young people throughout Chicago.”

>> Meghan Zimmerman, Director of Strategy & Business Development, Thierer Family Foundation

As with the creation of the Teen Arts Pass program as a whole, The TAP Teen Council was instrumental in the development of the TAP App, providing feedback and recommendations on everything from button colors to avatar designs, screen flows, and specific word choices.

Being a member of the TAP Teen Council offers me practical experience; [we contributed] ideas to the TAP App. It’s exciting, designing an app that makes the program even more accessible and captures the energy and enthusiasm of the Chicago arts scene.”

>> Brandon, 2018-19 TAP Teen Council Member

The beautifully-designed TAP App was developed by Chicago-based firm TangoCode for both iOS and Android platforms and seamlessly connects with teenartspass.org, as well as other Urban Gateways data systems. The app boasts a comprehensive events listing for TAP-eligible shows throughout Chicago, in-app program registration/sign-up, an option for users to “favorite” events to save them for later, as well as a robust check-in feature which allows teens to check-in to a show when they purchase a ticket. The TAP App follows current trends to create simple and intuitive user experiences; its design features custom avatars, emojis and animations, and a teen-designed workflow.

Being able to have feedback on the design directly from the teens during each Sprint was a major plus for the success of this project. I have never seen so many people in my company requesting to work on a project once they knew about the social impact behind this app.”

>> Jean Pierre Valencia, VP of Engineering, TangoCode Inc.

Additional partners on the project included Gimbal, which provided the hardware iBeacon technology for in-person check-ins, and the Zell Family Foundation, which provided additional funding necessary to create the systems infrastructure that integrates the iBeacon technology with the app.

Urban Gateways’ hope is to see more and more teens utilizing this exciting initiative and experiencing performances with our arts partners for many years to come, using the mobile app to help take their arts exploration to the next level.


For more information contact Abby Prescott, Urban Gateways Chief Communications Officer, 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. View the full calendar of eligible events, browse a complete partner list, and find free teen registration at teenartspass.org or by downloading the app today; search for “Teen Arts Pass”. Teen Arts Pass visuals including promo video, photos, and app demo can be found here: http://bit.ly/TAPMediaKit