Being a teenage college student in Seattle can be frustrating. With a slew of 21- and- over events happening every weekend, it can seem like fun is exclusive to those with the right age on their ID. TeenTix, a local nonprofit organization, might be a solution to the underage agony.
ANNIE CHANG • THE SPECTATOR
TeenTix has been working since 2004 to empower teens ages 13-19 to experience a diverse array of arts events. Teens can register for TeenTix free online. After a TeenTix user is signed up, they can browse the event calendar, choose an event at any one of their 69 partner organizations, and pay only $5 to enter.
Some partner organizations include the Seattle Art Museum, the Museum of Pop Culture, the Seattle Repertory Theater, Seattle Symphony, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Laser Dome at Pacific Science Center, and more.
Oftentimes, these experiences would have costed double, triple, or quadruple the TeenTix price. “Sometimes people think it’s too good to be true,” said Ashraf Hasham, director of Partnerships and Programs for TeenTix.
Hasham grew up in Seattle and graduated from Ballard High School in 2008. When he was a teen, he used TeenTix too. He said that when he went to go study on the East Coast, he never found anything comparable to the TeenTix program.
“It’s super mutually beneficial. These organizations get a new teen audience—and possibly future donors—and teens get arts access,” he said.
Hasham also reiterated some of the core values of TeenTix, explaining that “the underserved are also the under-invited”, and that TeenTix is working to extend an invitation to communities who may not otherwise be reached. TeenTix works with other organizations to reach out to homeless youth, LGBTQ youth, and Latino and Native youth populations. Hasham said that about 200-300 new teens sign up for TeenTix weekly.
“So many teens sign up just by word-of-mouth that we haven’t had to do much outreach,” he said.
This growing organization has hopes in the future to implement many new projects, such as adding a barcode to the TeenTix pass that could be scanned at box offices to collect user statistics.
“We know 10,000 uses will happen next year but we don’t know if the same teen is going four times in one weekend or brought four friends that weekend,” Hasham said.
Teen undergraduate students at Seattle University, Miranda Navarro and Carmen McCoy, both expressed interest in the Seattle arts culture. Neither of them had heard of TeenTix before.
“I love theater; I did theater all through high school,” McCoy said. “If the Seattle Repertory is in it, it would be cool to have something like that with discounted ticket prices.”
The two both mentioned that they were required to go to the Seattle Art Museum for past school assignments, and said that buying those tickets was inconvenient.
“I would probably go to the Seattle Art Museum More often,” Navarro said about the TeenTix discounts.
TeenTix is looking to expand their reach outside of the Puget Sound area. Currently, Hasham is working on adding a handful of partner organizations in Tacoma.
Hasham also addressed the negative stigma that teen consumers of art often get from adult audience members. He said that he knows the feeling of getting “the side eye” for being a young person in an “older” environment and that it can detract from what should be the overall goal of the arts and entertainment community.
“Essentially, we’re filling seats that would not be filled. You have a potential audience members for life if you invite them in the right way,” he said.
TeenTix sends out an optional newsletter every week that highlights a “Pick of the Week” and chooses other events to showcase. For the entire month of March, there is a minimum of 10 and as much as 65 events happening any given day.
“What TeenTix tries to do best is to put art-going on teens’ own terms. Nobody’s forcing you to go and there’s no book report due. Go try out new things, see a weird, cool dance performance,” said Hasham.
TeenTix registration can be found online, free of charge for anyone 13- 19, at www.teentix.org.
Haley may be reached at