Welcome, Monique Courcy, our New Executive Director!

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Today we are so thrilled to share that Monique Courcy will join us in October as our new Executive Director!

Monique grew up in the Yakima valley before earning a BFA in Dance from the University of Washington and an MFA in Arts Leadership from Seattle University. She has spent the last six years working at TeenTix partner organization On the Boards, where she manages Digital Media and OntheBoards.tv, a pioneering project that makes high-definition recordings of contemporary performances accessible to an international audience through streaming and downloads. In this role, Monique has expanded the program’s national reach, producing films and developing a video-on-demand platform that now reaches thousands of students at over 100 universities across the globe. OntheBoards.tv has been profiled in the New York Times, and is the winner of a 2015 Arts Entrepreneur Award from Fractured Atlas.

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Graduation & Gratitude

​A special message from TeenTix Executive Director Holly Arsenault

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Hello TeenTix family! I have some news to share. Earlier this afternoon, the board of TeenTix announced that I have decided to step down as Executive Director of TeenTix and given them my notice. October 28th will be my last day here.

I love TeenTix. Doing the work of elevating teens' voices in the arts community for the last decade has been more rewarding than I could have imagined. If you have the opportunity in your lives to do work that you believe in, that makes the world little bit better, and that puts you in contact with excellent people, I highly recommend it. The most rewarding part has been watching our members leave us and go off and become even more amazing adults than they were teens--which is really saying something, because TeenTix teens are basically the greatest.

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Actual Live Teens Talk About the Arts

On Wednesday, April 9th, representatives of TeenTix partner organizations, supporters, and other friends gathered at the Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at Benaroya Hall for the First Annual TeenTix Partner Meet-Up. The Meet-Up closed with a half-hour-long panel where members of The New Guard, TeenTix's Teen Arts Leadership Society, talked about their experiences as avid arts-goers, and answered questions from the audience.

Our panelists jotted down their thoughts after the panel, and we provide them here for anyone who is interested in a glimpse into the world of an arts-going teen. Enjoy! Our panelists:

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’Wicked’ is NOT TeenTix-eligible, BUT…!

​We know you want to see Wicked. We are here to help.

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Hey there TeenTixers!

It appears that Wicked-mania is upon us. We've been getting a lot of calls and emails in our office wondering whether Wicked at The Paramount is TeenTix-eligible. Some of you have even been showing up at The Paramount hoping to buy Wicked tickets with your TeenTix pass. We're sorry to have to tell you that WICKED AT THE PARAMOUNT IS NOT TEENTIX ELIGIBLE. You see, Wicked is presented by STG, which is not a TeenTix partner organization. (Shout out to STG! We love you! Thanks again for that rad party you threw us!)

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Look What You’ve Done!

​Read our 2014 Annual Report and find out!

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Here at TeenTix, we love our supporters more than life itself. Without you, there are no $5.00 teen tickets to the arts, no TeenTix Press Corps, no New Guard, no empowered young arts citizens, no bright future. Nothing. Seriously, you are ensuring the future of civilization. So, hey, thanks for that! We put together this little report as a thank you, a celebration, and a manifesto. Please check it out and learn more about the movement we call TeenTix.

Read our 2014 Annual Report by clicking here.

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Welcome, Ashraf Hasham, TeenTix Deputy Director!

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Today, I am super thrilled to share that TeenTix has hired Ashraf Hasham to fill the newly created position of Deputy Director. Ashraf's association with TeenTix began when he joined The New Guard (then called the TeenTix Steering Committee) as a 16-year-old junior at Ballard High School. After graduating from Ballard, Ashraf earned his degree in Arts Administration from Wagner College in New York, and then returned to Seattle, where he has held positions at TeenTix partner organizations Henry Art Gallery and On the Boards. I knew Ashraf was special right off the bat--anyone who has met him knows what I'm talking about. He's got an incredible spirit, and he's super smart, dedicated, and driven. It's really exciting to have someone on staff who came up through our programs. Who could be in a better position to make sure that we are doing a great job serving young people? Put that together with the expertise that Ashraf has gained through earning his degree in working in arts nonprofits, and you have someone who is going to do really good things for this organization. I could not be happier.

Please join me in welcoming Ashraf!

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Member Survey: Results!

​The results of our annual member survey!

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Hi! I'm Holly and I run TeenTix. Every year, we do an annual member survey to learn more about how our members are using TeenTix and engaging with the arts, and to find out how we can do better. This year, 505 TeenTix members took the survey. Here are some of the results. Tomorrow, I will respond to some questions and comments that came up in the survey responses. Enjoy! And thank you for being a part of the TeenTix community. 68% of TeenTix members say they attend the arts "more" or "a lot more" often than they did before joining TeenTix.

Question: How did you first hear about TeenTix?

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2014 Parent Survey: Results and Answers

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Thank you to all of the TeenTix parents who took the time to complete our first-ever parent survey! Your answers have already helped us make the program better for you and your kids.

Today I wanted to share some of the results of the survey, share some of your comments, and answer some questions that came up a lot. Of course, if you have any questions or thoughts about to improve TeenTix, I would love to hear from you. My email address is [email protected] and my phone number is 206.233.3938. Thank you for being a part of the TeenTix community and for all that you do to support your children's art explorations!

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So long, Pete! Hello, Pete!

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Hello TeenTix community!

As many of you are already aware, TeenTix is in the midst of a huge transition. We are leaving the comfortable nest of Seattle Center (our home since 2004) and striking out to conquer the world as an independent organization. (We're not *literally* leaving Seattle Center--our offices will still be here--but we are no longer a Seattle Center program.) While this change is mostly a really happy and exciting one, there's one part that's not so happy, and that's saying goodbye to someone who has been an integral part of our team for five years: Pete Rush.

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We’re a Third of the Way to Our Goal!

​Help get us to $5,000 by December 31st!

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You can keep arts experiences within reach for everyone.

Hi, this is Holly, the director of TeenTix. Did you know that TeenTix receives no money from the ticket sales we make possible? That money goes straight to our partner organizations, and that's how it should be. But a groundbreaking program like TeenTix still costs money to run, and that's where you come in.

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Join the New Guard and Shape the Future of the Arts!

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TeenTix and Seattle University’s Arts Leadership Program invite high school students with a passion for the arts and an interest in arts leadership to apply to join The New Guard: Teen Arts Leadership Society (formerly known as the TeenTix Steering Committee).

WHAT IS THE NEW GUARD? The New Guard offers 14- to 18-year-olds the opportunity to play a central role in guiding TeenTix, while progressing through an ever-deepening curriculum in arts leadership. Committed members who have served at least 20 hours on the TeenTix Steering Committee will be matched with mentors at TeenTix partner organizations. Mentorships may focus on arts management, arts marketing, fundraising, or artistic planning. This multi-year program culminates in the opportunity to attend classes in Seattle U’s BA in Arts Management Program.

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A Message from TeenTix parent Betsey Brock

​Please join me and other TeenTix parents at the First Annual Teeny Awards Dinner

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Hi, my name is Betsey Brock. I am a TeenTix parent and a member of the TeenTix Advisory Board.

TeenTix makes Seattle a better place. TeenTix makes the arts accessible for teenagers. TeenTix talks to teens about art, film, dance, music, literature, and theater on their own terms. TeenTix energizes them to talk with each other about the shows they see. TeenTix is helping create the next generation of artists, art consumers, and philanthropists.

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You’re Coming to the Teeny Awards, Right?

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Hi.

This is Holly, the director of TeenTix. Hello.This is an invitation. I wish I had to time to make a beautiful card and mail it to every single TeenTix member and thank you for participating in this community. But I don't, because I'm too busy planning an amazing party for you, and I really hope you will come to it. Seriously. You. Even though this is the 5th year that we've given out Teeny Awards for the best in Seattle arts as decided by you, this is the first year we've ever given them away in a big ceremony. THE FIRST YEAR. This is a really big deal and we really really want you to be there. So, here are some of the enticing things we have planned for you: Red Carpet! Cupcakes!Custom button-making! A carnival game with prizes!A raffle where you can basically win an entire year's worth of tickets to things! A dance party on the stage at ACT Theatre with DJ J-Justice!LINDY. FREAKING. WEST. (Wait, you don't know who Lindy West is? She's only Seattle's hottest young celebrity! What's that you say? Mackelmore WHO?)

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Why Do We Need An Award For Outstanding Teen Critic?

Hello, Holly Arsenault here. I am one of the people who run the TeenTix program. In case you haven't heard, this year's Theatre Puget Sound Gregory Awards will include a new category: Outstanding Teen Critic. The nominees for this year's award were all drawn from this very blog--they are members of our Teen Press Corps who wrote theatre reviews during this year's eligibility period. On TPS's facebook page recently, a theatre colleague raised some perfectly valid questions about the necessity for the award, and I found that my answer was getting a little too long for a facebook comment, so I thought I would share it here (in hopes, also, that some of the readers of this blog will chime in with your opinions.) So, Gerald's comment was this: "Not really sure I understand this one. Why? I understand getting teens involved in theatre, but do the Gregorys really need to have an award for Teen Critics? Just how many teen critics are out there? Should we have an award for regular critics? It seems that the Gregorys are still low on a number of categories for theatre awards. Couldn't the time and energy be spent to get another award to deserving theatre artists?" Here's my answer: Gerald, I appreciate your question, and I think I can help with some part of the answer. First, there are lots of teen critics. The TeenTix Press Corps has about 100 or so members. Since we started the TeenTix blog in 2006, they've written over 300 reviews of local arts events. Next year, this awards will be opened up to young people writing arts criticism for their school papers, as well. Arts writing is featured in almost every school paper in our region, so that represents a lot of young writers. I was thrilled when TPS approached me about finding a way to include teenagers in the Gregory Awards, and I think that choosing to bring attention to the great contributions that young writers, including those who write for this blog, are making to our local discourse about the arts, is a great way to do it. Why? Because if we are serious as a community about welcoming young people into our audiences, we must also welcome their voices into the critical conversation about our work. Why recognize teen critics and not adult ones? Because it sends a crucial message to young people that their voices matter to us. I don't work for TPS and I can't speak to what motivated this award, but I don't think it's an award just for awards' sake. I think it's a little piece of activism--a contribution to the effort to dismantle the barriers that keep young audiences out of our theatres. One of those barriers--perhaps the most significant one--is the pervasive belief on the part of young people that our art form is not for them. (They're not totally wrong about that, by the way. Most theatre is not programmed with younger audiences in mind. But that's a subject for a different post.) The offspring of that conviction is the sense that their opinions are worthless--that they are not entitled to any opinions about the work that they are seeing. And who wants to engage with work that you're not allowed to have an opinion on? Nobody.

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You asked, we answer

Hey guys, This is Holly. I'm one of the people in charge of the Teen Tix program. As you know, we ran a survey in the month of September, asking you to tell us about your experience with Teen Tix. A lot of you took it, and a lot of you had very nice things to say about us. Thank you! We love you, too. We're also glad to see that so many of you are using your Teen Tix passes frequently and without problems. Hooray! There were a few questions, comments, and confusions that came up over and over again in the survey, so we thought we'd address them here. Here we go: 1. "Teen Tix should go to 19!" It DOES! We know, we know. The Teen Tix website still says 18. Forgive us. But Teen Tix works for people 13 - 19 years old. We swear! 2. "Teen Tix should go to 21!" We understand how you feel, but we can only do so much. Teen Tix is for teens, and in order to best serve our teen members, we have to stay focused on that mission. However, there's no need to despair if you're turning 20. Most of our participating organizations offer substantial discounts to students and/or to people 25 and under. Oftentimes, those tickets are as cheap as $10, and you can buy them in advance! Check out their websites for offers, and keep seeing art. 3. "We should be able to buy Teen Tix in advance," "Buying tickets on the day-of-show is too inconvenient." Again, we know how you feel, but here's the thing: $5 is an incredibly cheap price to pay for most of what we make available to you. In a lot of cases, the person sitting next to you might have paid $100 or more for their ticket (and that still only covers a fraction of what it actually costs to produce the art). So, with that incredible ticket price comes some compromise. Our participating organizations are able to make $5 tickets available to you *because* you're buying them at the last minute (and we love them for it!) But if you do need advance tickets, you can still get them at a discounted price. Most of our participating organizations offer discounted tickets (sometimes as cheap as $10) to people under 25 and/or to students that you can buy in advance. So, the next time you are wishing you could plan ahead, check out the organization's website and see what kinds of youth discounts they offer other than Teen Tix. 4. "More music events!" We heard this a lot this year - more than we ever have before. So we just want to let you know that we're listening, and we'll work on it. In the meantime, remember that Teen Tix is good for Seattle Symphony's entire season, and all of the music events at Cornish College of the Arts, which include performances by top national and international musicians in Jazz, World Music, Chamber Music, and Classical Music. Also, if you're not going to The Vera Project, you're really missing out on one of the best things for teens in the history of the universe. Vera is a volunteer-fueled all-ages music and arts venue that focuses on people 14 - 24. The shows that they bring in include a lot of the pop, rock, alternative, and hip-hop music that we know you crazy kids are into these days. Their shows are not Teen Tix eligible, but the tickets are only $11 (or $10 if you're a Vera member.) 5. "Better website!" "Better calendar." All we can say is we know, and we're on it. We really appreciate your feedback, and we've tried to incorporate all of it into our new website design, which we hope to launch in the New Year. Also, note that, with the exception of the calendar and the sign-up form, pretty much all of the info from the website can also be found here on the blog. We also heard a wide range of responses to our question about how to make the arts more teen-friendly: everything from Choose Your Own Adventure theatre where the audience decides what's going to happen via text message (we'll definitely pass that one along,) to pleas for less technology and more sitting quietly appreciating the art. Which just goes to show that teens don't all think the same way, and what's "teen-friendly" to one person might be highly "teen-unfriendly" to another. Which is why we have to keep talking to you guys and trying new things. Which we will. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your time and your considerate, thoughtful, funny responses to our questions. If you have a specific question that we didn't address but you'd like answered, BY ALL MEANS, send us an email ([email protected]) or leave your question in the comments on this post. We will answer it. We promise. Now, go get some art. Holly

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Capturing the Experience

Last night I had dinner with a friend who was talking about looking around at the Sonic Youth concert at the Capitol Hill Block party last week and being saddened to realize that she was standing in a sea of phone cameras pointed at the stage. Then today, this article came out in the New York Times. The author, Michael Kimmelman, wonders about our modern tendancy to sprint through museums snapping pictures of only the "important" works housed in them, without ever pausing to actually look at the art. Cameras replaced sketching by the last century; convenience trumped engagement, the viewfinder afforded emotional distance and many people no longer felt the same urgency to look. It became possible to imagine that because a reproduction of an image was safely squirreled away in a camera or cell phone, or because it was eternally available on the Web, dawdling before an original was a waste of time, especially with so much ground to cover.

Photo by Valerio Mezzanotti for The New York Times Kimmelman's article incited this interesting blog post on the Brooklyn Museum's blog called "Does tech engage or distract?" From the comments on that post:

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Au Revoir

Hey there Teen Tixers, I’ve got some news: I’m running off to join the circus. And, by “running off” I mean “going to France” and by “join the circus” I mean “teach English.” Here’s a little public service announcement, from me to you: Studying abroad is a really good thing to do, especially when you are young and poor anyway and you don’t have a lot of obligations. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience here: I never got around to studying abroad when I was in college, so I have to do it now, when I’m old and, um…obligated. And I’m going to be teaching, not studying (unless cheese counts as a research subject, in which case, I’m going to be doing some HEAVY studying). Anyway, my point is, if you’re getting this newsletter you probably haven’t gotten to college yet, and so there’s still hope for you. Study abroad. Go somewhere weird and foreign and eat weird foreign food and meet weird foreign people and see weird foreign art and when you get back you can do the annoying things that people who study abroad always do, like affecting an accent (even though you were only there for 3 months) and constantly saying “Well, when I was living in such and such…”. It’ll be awesome. I do plan on seeing a bunch of art while I’m over there, and I’ll be blogging my adventures right here on the tt blog, so be sure to check in from time to time (and leave comments! I’m going to be lonely!) And I’ll be back in May. In the meantime, I am leaving you in the capable care of Pete, who is going to be the Interim Teen Tix Program Manager, and Montana, The Duchess of Teen Tix. So, never fear. Teen Tix will go on without me, and, hopefully, I will return from my time abroad a more interesting, well-rounded individual (with a fake accent and an obnoxious tendency to say “Well, when I was living in France…” YES! I’m so excited.) Have a great year. See lots of art, and, y’know, do your homework and stuff, and dream about where in the world you might want to someday live. Do it for me. À bientôt! Holly

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What is that? They’re in a bubble!

Yesterday, I stumbled across this interview with Marianne Owen and R. Hamilton Wright, two of our most accomplished and revered local actors. I loved this part, from Marianne, about her first experience at a professional theatre production:

MARIANNE: Mine — well, I went to — how old was I — 14. I think 13 or 14; I can't recall which — anyway, my high school class went to Beverly Music Theatre in Beverly, Massachusetts for a matinee performance of The Tempest. This theatre was sort of under a tent in the round, and I happened to have a seat on the aisle. I'd seen a few shows before, but that was the first professional show I'd seen. I had no idea what the play was I about, I just knew it was Shakespeare and we were studying it in Sister Mary Amadeus's Shakespeare class. Ariel was wearing a leotard — probably a cheesy sort of green-mauve leotard with sort of, not fairy wings, but diaphanous fabric coming off her — and she had a whole handful of sparkles. And every time her hand moved, the sparkles would go into the air. And she was about two feet away from me, in the aisle, and she was talking down to Prospero on the stage, who was in white robes, old — he looked like Charlton Heston in Moses— and I looked at her, and I think some of the sprinkles hit my hand, and I looked there, and I thought "What is that — they're in a bubble! What is that air? What is that? I want to know what that is!" I can still see it in my mind's eye.

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