Easy entry for teens into Seattle arts scene

Capstone poster day for IMD studens, left to right:  Nikolette Lang, Anthony Tu, Laura Valiente, Lena Tu, Kelly Dennehy

By Douglas Esser
The best bargain on arts tickets for teens in the Seattle area just got better.

A team led by University of Washington Bothell students developed an iOS app for TeenTix, the nonprofit that makes $5 day-of-show tickets available to teens.

The app was announced Sunday at the TeenTix Teeny Awards at Benaroya Hall and can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store. It began as the capstone project last year for five seniors in the Interactive Media Design program.

Laura ValienteProject manager and 2016 IMD graduate Laura Valiente says it was incredibly exciting to see the app released. “I’m looking forward to seeing how the organization grows along with the app in coming months.”

Valiente says it was very rewarding for students to apply their school skills to benefit the Seattle arts community. “I thought a TeenTix app could be a great idea, especially given the community and stakeholder aspect.”

TeenTix $5 pass cardA Shoreline resident, Valiente was a TeenTix user in high school. Here’s how it works: Teens, 13-19, sign up for a free pass that entitles them to purchase $5 day-of-show tickets at any of 64 arts organizations throughout the Puget Sound region. Teens show their pass at the box office, which may check their age.

Venues include the 5th Avenue Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Opera, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle International Film Festival and EMP Museum. In other words, a $5 ticket is a huge savings. Teens are encouraged to call the box office to make sure a show is not sold out.

TeenTix graphicSponsored by the Seattle Center, TeenTix started in 2004. Since then more than 40,000 teens have purchased more than 78,000 tickets, says Ashraf Hasham, director of programs and partnerships. Arts organizations benefit by building their audience of supporters. The app for iPhones and iPads puts the TeenTix pass card and calendar of events on phones.

app screen images“That totally changes the game for TeenTix,” says Hasham. “Having an app do most of that work is priceless.”

More features are planned, such as ways to recommend events based on your mood or similar to ones you enjoyed in the past. Teens also may be able to post flash reviews.

Hasham says the UW Bothell team was “super-professional” with “lots of energy and a can-do attitude.”
Valiente says the team had to keep the project feasible.

“Having very diverse and experienced professors to help guide us through this project has been amazing,” she says.

The other IMD seniors on the team were Nikki Lang, Kelly Dennehy, Lena Tu and Anthony Tu. Valiente says the team’s developers include UW Bothell computer science student Spencer Milner, University of Washington alum Thomas Van Doren (a tech company employee who volunteers his time), and Edmonds Community College student Mitchell Nye. The team also included members of TeenTix: Hasham, Executive Director Holly Arsenault, and Leah Erickson, communications associate.