For the past several months, three teens have been working diligently to produce YOUTH: Teen Arts and Opportunities Fair, an entirely youth-created event. This year, the Teen Arts and Opportunities Fair’s focus is hip-hop, a genre familiar to many teens and one that can serve as a gateway to the rest of the arts world. During the course of the fair, attendees will participate in hip-hop workshops, such as Intro to DJing, talk to several of TeenTix’s partners, and listen to well-known teen artists perform live. The event will culminate in a hip-hop performance featuring some of Seattle’s premier youth dancers.
4:30 – 6:30: Tabling, pop-up performances, and workshops
6:30 – 7: Doors open for dance performance, dinner is served
7 – 8:30: Dance performance
Hip-hop, with its powerful tie to social justice, is an art form that sparks societal change. Hip-hop dance, specifically, is a valuable tool for teens to be exposed to. However, dance can be expensive to participate in or to experience as an audience member. By hosting a free event, the project leads hope to connect with youth who might not otherwise have the chance to participate in dance and showcase the power of hip-hop. As well, this event will serve as a platform for youth to perform in a safe environment, allowing other teens to learn more and celebrate their peers and their accomplishments. Finally, this is an event by teens, for teens. Because the leaders of this Fair are youth who already participate deeply in Seattle’s art scene, the Teen Arts and Opportunities Fair will cater to the needs and desires of teens who might not otherwise engage with an event like this. The teen leaders hope the Fair’s activities will work to build a community of youth, whether they consider themselves an artist or not, who have connected and learned from one another.
The students involved are all members of The New Guard, TeenTix’s youth board, and have secured funding, food donations, space, and performers for the 2019 fair. The project leads were inspired by the example of New Guard alum Abbey Scobee, who produced the original fair last May. This year, they hope to put their own creative spin on the already successful event.
About the Youth Leaders:
YOUTH: Teen Arts and Opportunities Fair, was visualized by three members of TeenTix’s New Guard: Kaylyn Ready, Anya Shukla, and Neha Gupta. Kaylyn, a senior at Nathan Hale, is an advocate for equitable arts consumption and a dancer in the Seattle hip-hop community. She wanted to create this fair to share the gift that is the Seattle hip-hop community with as many people as possible and to show how dance can be used as a form of expression for everyone. Anya, a sophomore at Lakeside, is a proponent of racial equity in the arts and strongly believes in increased arts access. Since hip-hop is such an accessible medium, she feels it is the perfect way to increase teen interest in the arts. Neha, a junior at Eastside Prep, strongly advocates for equitable arts access for teens from all backgrounds and wishes to see further teen engagement in the Seattle art scene. She hopes to empower other youth to get involved and to begin cultivating a more diverse teen art community.
TeenTix exists to break down the barriers that prevent teens from accessing art in our community, such as ticket or admission cost, not knowing where to look for events, navigating transportation around the city, and feeling insecure around arts-going if there’s no one in their lives already championing the arts. TeenTix builds a bright future for our city by empowering young people to take an active role in shaping their arts community as audience members, critics, influencers, advocates, patrons, and leaders.
The New Guard is formally an arts leadership and administrative training program for teens, but really this group is the heart and soul of TeenTix. New Guardians play a central role in guiding the development of TeenTix programs and events, identifying organizational values and serving as the primary teen ambassadors for TeenTix, AND they participate in high-level decision-making alongside our Board of Directors and Advisory Council. The 2018/19 New Guard consists of 48 teens, 8 of whom serve on the New Guard Leadership Board acting as the program’s primary administrators with mentorship from TeenTix’s Executive Director.