2nd Floor Rear 2015 Call for Proposals

2nd Floor Rear is a 24-hour festival of experimental spaces, apartment galleries, and ephemeral and migrant projects, celebrating Chicago’s vibrant community of alternative and DIY art spaces. Each February, 2nd Floor Rear connects artists with new audiences, helps underfunded and under-appreciated alternative spaces get some exposure, and enlivens a dreary winter weekend at the peak of Chicago’s bleakest season. Past artworks, events, and happenings ranged from late-night studio square dancing to a guerrilla sculpture garden, a site-specific installation in an underpass, and a nomadic gallery in a handbag.

The curatorial premise for 2nd Floor Rear 2015 is more of a feeling than an idea; it comes from the nearly untranslatable Danish word hygge. Hygge is conceptually and culturally specific to Denmark’s subarctic lifestyle. It roughly describes the sense of contentment drawn from camaraderie during a long winter.

With another long winter upon us, we want to build a festival around this feeling. We want to adopt the hygge concept as our mantra and put it into practice. This year, we want art, performances, gatherings, happenings, installations, and events that warm us, that draw us in, that make us stay. We want prolonged engagement and mutual stewardship. We want to experience the intimate, the meditative. We want anti-spectacular wonder. We want practical, clear-eyed shamanism and radical tenderness. We want to feel present and connected even in our winter fugue states. We want a safe place to be vulnerable and wildish. We want things to resonate–to find us again days later while we’re waiting in line at the Walgreens checkout counter. The curatorial premise of 2nd Floor Rear 2015 is Chicagoans’ annual substitution of “stay warm” for “see you later”; it’s also the hypnotic quiet at winter’s core that makes the season’s deep melancholy savorable.

We are currently seeking organizations, artists, curators, and creative folks of all stripes to produce events that will take place between February 7th and February 8th.

  • The festival will last a full 24 hours, meaning that there will be an event happening at any given time from Saturday afternoon, February 7, to Sunday afternoon, February 8.
  • Events may include, but are not limited to: pop-up galleries and exhibition openings, installations, performances, happenings, concerts, film screenings, sing-alongs, dance parties, feasts, storytelling, interactive performance games, sewing circles, public sleepovers, and/or conceptual puppet shows. The imaginative, the unusual, and the radically hospitable are encouraged.
  • Events may take place just about anywhere–in official 501c3 alternative gallery spaces, apartments, bars, storefronts, hallways, bathrooms, etc. Only commercial galleries are not eligible.
  • Event locations will be restricted to the northwest neighborhoods of Chicago (Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village, Bucktown, etc.), OR locations a 15-minute walk or less from any Blue Line El station. This eases the strain of travel for the audience and prevents audience dispersal.
    • If you do not have access to space within the festival’s footprint, please mention this in your proposal, and include a description of the specific accommodations your project will require. If selected, we will work with you to secure a space within the festival’s footprint.
  • If your proposal is accepted, you will be required to pay a one-time $15 entry fee. You will also be expected to work collaboratively on fundraising and marketing efforts. (This is usually pretty simple, like inviting friends on Facebook or donating ephemera to fundraising campaigns.)
  • In a single document (Word or PDF only), please send:…
    • a proposal (250-500 words) describing your event and location
    • brief (100-250 words) answers to the following questions:
      • Given this year’s curatorial premise, how do you see your proposed project contributing to the festival’s overall vibe?
      • Describe the experience you hope the audience will have. Ultimately, what do you want people to walk away with?
      • Producing public events in the middle of winter can be challenging. How or to what extent do you anticipate being able to adapt your project in the event of unforeseen circumstances?
    • a brief (250 words max) artist statement, curatorial statement, or bio
    • a Resume/CV

…to  itsaponyprojects@gmail.com no later than December 15. Relevant images & video (may be linked or attached as separate files), and links to artist or project websites  are strongly recommended, but not required.


Have a space but no programming in mind? Let us know! We’d love to connect you with potential collaborators.

Questions? Comments? Email at itsaponyprojects@gmail.com.


Download the 2FR 2015 Call for Proposals

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