By Arista Burwell-Chen

Teen Tix is the Seattle Center’s best kept secret. But it shouldn’t be. It is a free program that offers teens ages 13 to 19 access to five dollar tickets to dozens of local arts organizations in an effort to encourage youth to frequent the arts. “The best aspect of Teen Tix is that it makes our arts community stronger,” says Program Manager Holly Arsenault, “It brings needed age diversity to arts audiences.” By helping to engage a new generation of audiences, Teen Tix has proven itself to be an essential part of Seattle’s cultural landscape. But why bother?

Arsenault explains, “Arts experiences are valuable. Being an audience member can be just as enriching as creating art, and those experiences should be available to everyone regardless of age and income.” Plus, Teen Tix is a great way for what Arsenault calls “arts curious teenagers” to find and form their own communities. Teen Tix is designed to allow young people access to a wide variety of programs ranging from the Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet to the Experience Music Project and Michael Jackson Laser Show at the Seattle Center, and to give them opportunities to further engage with art through special meet-the-artist events, leadership opportunities, and the chance to write reviews for the Teen Tix blog.

The only bad part about Teen Tix is that this fabulous opportunity ends at age 20. However, that is all the more reason to get involved in the arts earlier. Just take it from Holly, who says, “There’s a whole community of art lovers out there who like the same things you do.” Teen Tix wants you to find them.

Arista Burwell-Chen is an 18 year-old Seattle resident and Teen Tix member. She is a recent graduate of Holy Names Academy, and was one of 13 local youth selected to participate in Teen Tix’s 09-10 Young Critics Workshop, an arts journalism seminar for 11th & 12th graders. To learn more about Teen Tix and to sign up for a free Teen Tix pass, visit
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