About 2nd Floor Rear
2nd Floor Rear is an annual DIY festival of art in experimental contexts, apartment galleries, and ephemeral and migrant projects, celebrating Chicago’s vibrant community of alternative art spaces.
A practical exercise in conceptual play, or a conceptual exercise in playful practicality, 2nd Floor Rear upholds Chicago’s long history of scrappy, yet self-aware modes of creative production, and embraces improvisation and makeshift solutions as a means of navigating the complexity of lived experience.
2nd Floor Rear’s mission is to generate exhibition opportunities and resources for artist-run spaces and DIY collectives, educate the public about Chicago-based alternative art practices, and cultivate solidarity within creative communities.
Past artworks, events, and happenings range from late-night studio square dancing to a guerrilla sculpture garden, a site-specific installation in an underpass, and a nomadic art gallery in a handbag. Each February, this yearly festival 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.