Teen Tix is a great Seattle organization that we love. We shortlisted it for a Genius Award in 2009 and wrote about it in this year's back to school guide. (My eternal disclaimer with Teen Tix: I help teach critical-writing classes with the organization. But even if I didn't, I'd still think it's great.)
If you're somewhere in your teen years, Teen Tix will get you $5 tickets to On the Boards, ACT Theater, Seattle Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet (the ballet is one of the most popular Teen Tix destinations, which surprised me), the Henry, Northwest Film Forum, SAM, the EMP, and so on.
This is good for teenagers (obviously), but also good for theaters. Theaters need young people—not only as a future audience base, but also as an influence. If young people start showing up in big enough numbers, they will become a new constituency and inevitably shake the dust off of dusty organizations.
Anyway, Teen Tix recently announced that it's making moves to split off from the City of Seattle/Seattle Center, which used to be its umbrella, and is becoming its own organism. It expects to fully sever ties by 2014. "We are a Seattle Center program that Seattle Center has done such a successful job supporting that Seattle Center is now able to spin us off," said Teen Tix director Holly Arsenault. "Hopefully like Frasier not Joey."
This is probably a good development. For one, it will get a new website designed by SleepOp, aka former Stranger art director Corianton Hale. The split will also free it up to be more nimble and responsible for itself, instead of having to live within/answer to the City of Seattle and its rules and budgets. The move also involves some risks, for those same reasons. (I also wonder whether it means the Teen Tix critics can start using curse words—words teenagers use all the fucking time—on its critics' blog.)
We'll see what happens after 2014. But I am optimistic—director Holly Arsenault says her phone has been ringing with people across the country wondering how they can start similar organizations in their cities. Teen Tix is a good idea that has the potential to grow into something even better.