foundry10 and TeenTix Partnership Paves a Path Forward in Youth Arts Opportunities

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Abby Bernstein


This year’s Teeny Awards were nothing short of spectacular, in no small part thanks to the partnership between foundry10 and TeenTix. foundry10 is an education research organization with a philanthropic focus on expanding ideas about learning and creating direct value for youth. This year, foundry10 came together with TeenTix to sponsor the 2024 Teeny Awards. I recently had the opportunity to connect with Rachel Gaudry, the Creativity, Design, and Play Team Lead at foundry10, and TeenTix’s own Deputy Director, Austin Sargent. We chatted about this year’s Teeny Awards, the partnership between their organizations, and their hopes for the future of teen arts opportunities in our communities.

During this magical event, Outstanding Teens were recognized by Arts and Culture organizations in a “20 Under 20” cohort. Guadry described the recognition of these dynamic youth as the biggest highlight of the event. She explained that “Too often, teens aren’t recognized for their contributions to the arts, and it felt meaningful to witness TeenTix’s partners honoring them on stage. And speaking of joy, it was uplifting to hear from the honorees themselves, see their short films, watch them dance, and listen to their songs. It was a privilege to attend on behalf of foundry10, and I can’t wait to see what these teens do next!”

Teens from Three Dollar Bill Cinema's Reel Queer Youth program who created Light, screened at the 2024 Teeny Awards. Photo by Brenda Palma.

I was interested to see if there were any performances that particularly stood out to Sargent and Gaudry. They both noted that it was hard to pick just one because each work and performance was stirring and inspiring, with Gaudry noting she “was moved by the unique creative confidence I saw in each of them, of how they used their voices and skills to bring complex projects to life or share their artistic vision.” Sargent reflected on the collaborative nature of Light, the film screened at the Teeny Awards, adding that he is “always inspired by teens working together, organizations working together (like Three Dollar Bill Cinema, Northwest Film Forum, and NFFTY), and the impact of creating something meaningful.”

It was clear that this year's Teeny Awards were special and revealed the vibrancy of youth voice in the arts. This idea has always been central to TeenTix. As Sargent puts it, “The work of TeenTix really boils down to two key points—Arts Access and Youth Empowerment. We want young people to know about all the options there are for finding community, identity, and fun out in their local arts and culture communities.”

TeenTix can’t do this work alone, though. It takes partners, like foundry10, to reach, connect with, and uplift the teens in our community. I asked Gaudry about how this partnership came to be and how it fits in the broader movement of supporting youth creativity. She said that she “first learned about the Teeny Awards from one of my colleagues at foundry10. They saw the direct connection to the work we were doing on the Creativity, Design, and Play Team and knew I needed to meet Austin, who gave me the full scoop on the Teeny Awards… One of my favorite things about working at foundry10 is that we strive to center youth voice whenever possible, and the Teeny Awards is a celebration of youth voice and leadership in the arts.”

Sargent expressed a similar feeling of kinship in the work of foundry10 and TeenTix, noting that foundry10 education researchers publish reports that TeenTix can use to gain insight into creativity and how youth learn. They also support youth programs and events all across the city. “So this is a very symbiotic relationship—two organizations empowering young people to get out and get creative."

TeenTix Deputy Director Austin Sargent at the 2024 Teeny Awards. Photo by Brenda Palma.

Inspired by the energy and determination shown by both Sargent and Gaudry, I was excited to see if I could learn anything about the future of the Teeny Awards, and of the innovative partnership between the two organizations. I was met with even more enthusiasm and ambition. Sargent revealed that “the Teeny Awards continue to grow and grow!” He elaborated that “with the support of foundry10 and our other sponsors, this year we were able to offer all of our winners a $250 honorarium to commemorate their achievement and honor their work…With the support of more sponsors and partners, next year's winners might receive even more opportunities to really show the entire community just how Outstanding they really are.”

Gaudry echoed these hopes, recognizing that “the great thing about partnerships is that, at their core, they are relationships. The Creativity, Design, and Play Team and I are excited to stay engaged with and grow our relationship with TeenTix as they empower young people to take an active role in shaping their arts community as audience members, critics, influencers, advocates, patrons, and leaders.” As a teen always on the lookout for more ways to get involved in artistic and creative opportunities, I know that I for one will be eagerly watching to see how the TeenTix foundry10 partnership continues to flourish into the future.

Lead photo credit: Athena Davis, Teeny Awards winner from Village Theater, accepting her award. Photo by Brenda Palma.

This article is the third and final of a series sponsored by the education research organization foundry10 as an extension of their support for The 2024 Teeny Awards.

The TeenTix Newsroom is a group of teen writers led by the Teen Editorial Staff. For each review, Newsroom writers work individually with a teen editor to polish their writing for publication. The Teen Editorial Staff is made up of 5 teens who curate the review portion of the TeenTix blog. More information about the Teen Editorial Staff can be found HERE.

The TeenTix Press Corps promotes critical thinking, communication, and information literacy through criticism and journalism practice for teens. For more information about the Press Corps program see HERE.

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