L.A. has no shortage of world class art, theaters and performing arts organizations. We are lucky to have such a vibrant arts scene at our fingertips. However, not everyone has easy access to L.A.’s museums and theaters, especially teens. Seattle based nonprofit, TeenTix, aims to change that.
Founded in 2004 by arts, educational and entertainment center, Seattle Center, TeenTix helps young people access and participate in the arts by breaking down the usual barriers like ticket cost, transportation and knowing where to look for events. The original Seattle chapter has grown to over 70 partnerships throughout the Puget Sound region and now they are ready to expand. First stop: L.A.
“We are starting off in L.A. because while Los Angeles is extremely rich in culture, with so many diverse arts organizations, it remains out of reach for so many,” says Allison Whorton, Program Director of TeenTix LA. “We are endeavoring to dismantle barriers that prevent teens from experiencing the arts in their community, particularly in a county as culturally diverse and geographically sprawling as Los Angeles.” Those barriers include cultural barriers, as well. “TeenTixLA tries to dismantle the notion that the arts are for a certain age group or demographic—the arts are for everyone. We believe teens should be influencers of culture, not just receivers, and our arts partners do as well.”
TeenTix LA, which had its soft launch in December, is a one stop shop for youth ages 13-19 to learn about arts events in the city. Teens can sign up for their free TeenTixPass at la.teentix.org and explore the calendar of events by date, genre, venue or organization. The TeenTix Pass gives them access to $5 day-of-show tickets to places like East West Players, A Noise Within, The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Skirball Cultural Center and more. Teens can buy online or over the phone in advance at some partner organizations. Their website features a map of all TeenTix Arts Partners locations, including driving directions and public transportation information. TeenTix hopes to explore more ways to make transportation to arts events even easier, like collaborating with LA Metro or partnering with rideshare companies.
Although most of TeenTix LA’s current partners are theatres and performing arts organizations, they plan on adding more visual arts-focused organizations like museums, galleries and places that offer film screenings, as well. “We want to be a resource for teens to experience a wide, eclectic range of arts organizations and art forms across Los Angeles,” says Whorton. “We hope to increase the visibility of art that is representative of different communities and encourage young people to explore art that addresses diverse world perspectives.”
Teens who commit to using their Pass in the first three months are invited to offer feedback about the program. Teens can stay in the loop through TeenTix LA’s active Instagram page and weekly newsletter. More information can be found at la.teentix.org.