Monday, March 7, 2016

Nesholm Family Foundation invests $50k in
Teens Count: The Teen Audiences Knowledge Project

(Seattle, WA) – TeenTix is the recipient of the two-year grant from the Nesholm Family Foundation totaling $50,000. TeenTix is a Seattle-based organization dedicated to ensuring equitable access to the arts for all teens. The grant will help fund the initial phase of a five-year project called Teens Count: The Teen Audiences Knowledge Project.

Teens Count leverages TeenTix’s robust network of partnerships and rapidly growing teen membership to gather a type, quantity, and quality of data on teen arts audiences that has never before been collected anywhere.

“Research on millennials is being done all over the arts field, but not on younger audiences,” says leading arts participation researcher Peter Linett, of Chicago’s Slover Linett Strategies. “We need to understand the stage of life when people are forming their perceptions and behaviors about culture. Frankly, by the time they’re in their 20s, those views may be set. Doing this type of research with teen audiences would help our sector really broadly and systemically – the time is right.”

TeenTix Executive Director Holly Arsenault says that the arts sector suffers from a “knowledge gap” when it comes to teens. “As far we know, no one has attempted to collect this kind of data about arts-going and arts-curious teens. The community-at-large is searching for ways to bring equity to educational opportunities, decrease youth violence, and empower youth as change agents. The arts can answer all of these challenges, but we need better tools. The Nesholm Family Foundation has been a major sustaining force in this community for decades. We are so grateful that they share our vision for this ambitious project.”

Together with The Boeing Company’s earlier investment of $40,000, TeenTix has raised $90,000 to-date in support of the Teens Count project. The Nesholm Family Foundation’s grant is a largest single gift ever received by TeenTix in its 12-year history.


TeenTix makes it possible for any 13- to 19-year-old to buy a $5.00, day-of-event ticket at any of TeenTix’s 63 regional arts partners. Teens Count will use a barcoding system to make it possible for TeenTix’s partners to track the behavior of existing teen audiences. TeenTix expects to facilitate the sale of over 15,000 $5.00 arts tickets to teens in 2016.

Through Teens Count, TeenTix will also form new community partnerships with six organizations serving youth with low rates of arts attendance. Through site visits, researchers will work with youth to learn how art does or does not currently fit into their lives. “Our primary goal is to learn from youth about their life goals, challenges, and needs so that we can bring that information back to our partner organizations and begin a conversation about how the arts can be a part of addressing those needs,” says Arsenault. “There is a sincere effort afoot in our community to dismantle systems of oppression and build equitable organizations. But those efforts are hobbled by a lack of knowledge about and collaboration with the communities we wish to serve. Teens Count aims to address this problem in a big way.”

To learn more about Teens Count, visit


TeenTix was founded in 2004 by Seattle Center and in partnership with ten of the resident arts organizations on the Seattle Center campus. Its goal is to empower young people to take an active role in shaping their arts community through arts leadership training, arts journalism training, and $5.00 tickets to the arts. In December, 2015, TeenTix completed a three-year transition from Seattle Center public program to independent non-profit organization. TeenTix’s consortium-based approach to youth arts access remains unique in the arts and culture sector.
Currently, 63 arts organizations throughout the Puget Sound region participate in TeenTix, including Seattle Symphony, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle International Film Festival, and ACT Theatre. To date, TeenTix has facilitated the sale of over 75,000 $5 arts tickets to teens.

TeenTix is the recipient of the 2014 Seattle Mayor’s Arts Award in the Future Focus category. TeenTix Executive Director Holly Arsenault was included in Puget Sound Business Journal’s 2015 ’40 Under 40’ list, which spotlights dynamic, young regional business leaders. Arsenault is the only non-profit arts worker included in this year’s list.

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