2nd Floor Rear 2017: RITUAL was moveable feast of artist-run events, projects, exhibitions, and performances that illuminated the occult, hidden nature of alternative arts practices and the communities of care that spring up around them. Over 125 Chicago artists, curators, organizers, and venues participated in 35 events.

Rituals have real power. They are settings for setting intentions. For relating. For establishing Will and carrying it forth. Rituals are experience as medium, meaning as medium, even the experience of making meaning as medium. Rituals are a space set apart. A moment-out-of-time. Rituals can create cohesion and structure, or hold space for ambiguity and transformation. 2nd Floor Rear 2017 programming asked of its makers and participating audiences: Can the act of simply being together make us stronger together? Can a self-care ritual truly be an act of political warfare? In this dystopian climate, can radical imagination and defiant joy help us conceive and perform the future? Are there any healers in the house tonight? Read the full curatorial statement here.


 Oppressive or harmful behavior is not welcome at 2nd Floor Rear events. Oppressive behavior includes any action that perpetuates racism, misogyny, heterosexism, transphobia, and other systemic oppressions through antagonism, silencing, intimidation, or coercion. Harmful behavior includes harassment, violence, and violation of consent. (See feministactionsupportnetwork.tumblr.com/saferspaces)


2017 Festival Events



Download the Guide to February 3-4 events

Learn more about events on February 3-4 // off the Blue Line


Download the Guide to February 5 events

Learn more about events on February 5 // off the Pink Line


Read about some of the concepts behind the festival and this year’s theme on the Statements + Essays page, or check out the 2017 Tumblr.



Exhibiting Partners

2017 Grant Support




2017 Presenting Sponsor


2017 Fiscal Sponsor


2017 Sponsors