Starbucks ‘Little Big Show’ Beneficiary Connects Youth with the Arts

For Holly Arsenault, it’s “the best thing in the world for a tiny organization like ours.”

Speaking from the new offices for TeenTix just off the Seattle Center campus, Arsenault recalls the moment: “The phone rang and someone said, ‘Hey, we want you to be the beneficiary of Little Big Show.’”

Of course, there’s much more to the story than that. Arsenault, the executive director of TeenTix since 2005, has spent the last decade working to elevate the profile of the youth-arts organization. And many in the community have noticed, including Starbucks which co-produces the Little Big Show benefit concert series along with KEXP and the Seattle Theatre Group (STG). One-hundred percent of ticket sales from the 12th installment of Little Big Show, on May 14, will go to TeenTix. The concert, at the Neptune Theatre in Seattle, features headliners Cloud Nothings with Tacocat and Chastity Belt opening.

TeenTix was selected as a beneficiary because it meets a set of criteria that includes an orientation toward offering opportunities for youth to become involved with the arts. “The organization’s purpose is closely aligned with Starbucks community values,” said Erin Combs, manager of Starbucks Community Partnerships.

Offering teens $5 tickets to the ballet, EMP, and more

TeenTix’s calling card is a $5 day-of-event ticket program for youths age 13 through 19. The 56-member-strong lineup of TeenTix partner organizations includes the Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Seattle Symphony and Seattle's Experience Music Project Museum (EMP). They, and a wide range of likeminded groups, offer creative kids affordable access to an ever-changing arts scene of theater, film and more.

The organization recently passed the $300,000 mark in sales facilitated, but that’s just one aspect of its broader goal, which is to open the world of the arts to curious kids. Among its other offerings are the TeenTix Press Corps, in which professional journalists mentor aspiring writers, and the New Guard, an arts leadership program.

“Every study that you look at about development and when people select the identity they’re going to carry with them in adulthood tells you that process happens between the ages of 13 and 25,” observed Arsenault. “Then a door starts to close. Nobody is going to wake up at the age of 35 and suddenly go, ‘I’m going to subscribe to…whatever!’”

Arsenault added that higher literacy, lower drop-out rates and greater civic engagement are all traceable to an early introduction to the arts. She estimates 16,000 teenagers will sign up for TeenTix this year – their ranks enlarged by high-profile events like the Little Big Show.

“You can’t overestimate the value of having people know about our existence and what we’re doing,” Arsenault said of the event. “It’s exciting for us to have a benefit that is so appealing to the people we are working to serve every day.”

Little Big Show #12 is May 14 at the Neptune Theatre. Tickets are $15 can be purchased online at or by calling (877) 784-4849. Visit for more about this and Starbucks other Hometown programs.

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