Sun’s out, school’s over, and there’s no better time to culture up. Urban Gateways’ Teen Arts Pass (TAP) makes that possible without teens or their parents having to break the bank. The permanent and ongoing initiative makes live arts performances in and 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. There is no residency requirement to participate in the program.
More than 1,500 teens have already registered for this groundbreaking program and more are signing up every day. There are 25 participating partners that represent large and small music, dance, and theater venues across the city and suburbs. (Full list below.)
TAP aims to make Chicago’s arts and culture accessible to youth all over the city. 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. And teens can do it on their terms.”
Teens can access the free signup form at teenartspass.org and register for the program in a matter of minutes. Upon registering they receive a temporary digital card and later a mailed physical card; they can access event info on the website calendar. TAP is a day-ofshow program, so teens are encouraged to call the box office of the show they wish to see ahead of time to ensure tickets are still available. If tickets remain, teens should arrive at the venue at least 30 minutes ahead of curtain, present their proof of TAP membership at the box office, and they will be able to purchase a $5 cash ticket to the show (including tickets valued at upwards of $200) – giving them access to many of Chicago’s premier performance organizations in music, theater, and dance.
The Urban Gateways TAP Teen Council (comprised of 10 Chicago-area teens during the 2017-18 Urban Gateways’ Teen Arts Pass Keeps Chicago Teens Cool and Cultured This Summer school year) lent invaluable support, guidance, and enthusiasm to the program launch to ensure TAP can best serve young people for years to come. As TAP Teen Council member Jamani explained, “[Teens in Chicago] witness and go through so much in our communities and homes that it is hard to remember what being special feels like. This card will make a lot of teens feel special. Who do you know that’s 15 years old and going to see a show that’s [normally] $85 for only $5? This program will hopefully bring more art programs to the city and teach the city how to value performing arts. Also hopefully teach Chicago and other places around the world that art can change and will change society.”
“The 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 is designed to be for teens and by teens, where youth input and ideas inform the direction and growth of the Teen Arts Pass, and ideally influence the future vitality of Chicago’s arts and culture sector. We are thrilled to be partnering with such an extensive list of inaugural arts partners who are opening their doors and welcoming in new generations of artists, arts patrons, and arts appreciators.”
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, Writers Theatre.
Through TAP, these organizations welcome teens into the arts community and expose them to art forms that open their minds and expand their creativity. We hope to see more and more teens utilizing this exciting initiative and experiencing our partners’ performances for many years to come