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New Urban Gateways Program Connects Teens to Arts


When it comes to accessing the arts, many teenagers don't know where to start.

That’s what the nonprofit arts organization Urban Gateways says it discovered after surveying more than 1,000 young people in Chicago.

“The cost of a ticket was a huge barrier, as well as finding information about what was out there,” said Eric Delli Bovi, executive director of Urban Gateways.

To help alleviate those barriers, Urban Gateways worked with teens to create the Teen Arts Pass, or TAP. The program lets young adults between the ages of 13-19 buy same-day $5 tickets to cultural events in the city, whether that be a music concert, an exhibition or a play.

  • (Carl Ankrum)

    (Carl Ankrum)

  • (Sehar Sufi)

    (Sehar Sufi)

  • (Sehar Sufi)

    (Sehar Sufi)

  • (Sehar Sufi)

    (Sehar Sufi)

  • (Carl Ankrum)

    (Carl Ankrum)

  • (Carl Ankrum)

    (Carl Ankrum)

 

To participate, teens sign up for a pass they can use at any of the program’s 25 partners – each having agreed to offer the discount. Among the participating venues are the Goodman Theatre and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Delli Bovi recommends they call the box office after they find an event on the calendar, which is available on the program’s website.

“The problem is teens themselves have to navigate all the different partners and all the different special deals,” Delli Bovi says. “By putting it all under one roof, it makes it easier for the teen to navigate new experiences.”

The program has nearly 1,500 registrants since it first launched last month. Delli Bovi says several more are signing up every day and in a few months, Urban Gateways will begin to look at data to see how many are using TAP.

“What we hope through this program is teens know that it’s encouraged to try and do new things, and that the risk is pretty low,” Delli Bovi says.

Delli Bovi and two teens involved with the making of TAP – Devon Ward and Ida Claude – join us to discuss this new initiative.


TAP Partners

  • Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University
  • Barrel of Monkeys 
  • Black Ensemble Theater
  • Chicago Philharmonic
  • Chicago Sinfonietta
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Court Theatre
  • The Dance Center at Columbia College Chicago
  • eta Creative Arts Foundation
  • Fulcrum Point New Music Project
  • Goodman Theatre
  • Harris Theater at Millennium Park
  • Joffrey Ballet
  • Lookingglass Theatre
  • Lyric Opera of Chicago
  • Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
  • North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie
  • Northlight Theatre
  • Old Town School of Folk Music
  • Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts
  • The Ruth Page Center for the Arts
  • Steep Theatre Co.
  • UChicago Presents
  • Victory Gardens Theater
  • Writers Theatre

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