The Process

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So, how do you guys do this thing?

Each year, we select festival events via an open proposal process. A call for proposals goes out in fall. We review and select blind proposals, but if we meet people we like throughout the year, we’ll often invite them directly to participate.

How do you raise money? What does the money pay for?

In past years, we’ve primarily raised funds via crowdfunding. We’ve also raked in some individual donations, organized fundraising events, and received grant money (like the very awesome  Propeller Fund in 2013 and a grant from the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events in 2016). Some of the money we raise goes towards material costs, such as posters and signage, but the vast majority goes back into Chicago’s creative community in the form of contractual paid labor.

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Submitting Proposals

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How do I submit an event proposal?

Submit it via our online form by 11:59 CST on Monday, November 21. You can find that form here.

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I’ve submitted my proposal. Now what?

Sit tight! We’ll get back to you with an answer in late November.

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What exactly are you guys looking for?

We evaluate proposals based on originality, interesting/engaging-ness, relevance, and viability.

Originality = How similar/dissimilar a proposal is from other submissions in the current pool, or how similar/dissimilar a proposal is from past festival events.

Interesting/Engaging-ness = Whether a proposal holds our attention and makes us want to know more.

Relevance = Whether a proposal feels fresh, timely, and relates to the 2017 curatorial theme. Your proposed event can interpret the RITUAL concept in any way that makes sense to you, but there should be an evident connection.

Viability = Whether or not it seems like the proposer can pull their proposal off. Example: You want to teach 400 parrots to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and have a parrot concert in your kitchen. That sounds cool, but tricky. You should let us know whether or not your kitchen is big enough for 400 parrots (and your audience), if you have any prior experience handling exotic birds, and how you intend to minimize risk of harm to all birds and humans involved.

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I have a great proposal, but no access to space within festival parameters. Can you guys help me find a space?

Possibly maybe. While we do look for proposals that bring resources to the table, we won’t turn down a great idea outright just because the proposer doesn’t have access to space. In your proposal description, let us know what your space/tech needs are. Be advised, however, that because we have two separate general locations this year (north side/Blue Line on Saturday and south side/Pink Line on Sunday), proposals with set spaces or strong ties to either location are very strongly preferred.

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I want to propose a project that wanders or does not require a set space. Will you consider it?

Absolutely. In years past, we’ve hosted art on cars, in the backs of vans, and in handbags. We’ve also featured wandering theater, walking performances, and unauthorized public art installations. (See “Resources” below.)

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I want to propose a project for a space off the Pink Line, but I’m only available Saturday (or vice versa). Is that ok?

No. With the exception of events that end after midnight, Saturday events are north side/Blue Line and Sunday events are south side/Pink Line. No schedule-location switcheroos allowed.

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In the past, 2nd Floor Rear ran for 24 hours (or more) straight, with events happening in the middle of the night. Is that happening this year?

We’re not super committed to the 24-hour festival concept anymore. It wasn’t working that well. We’re considering proposals for all times of day, just to see what shakes out. If you have a proposal for a project that has to happen super late at night (like between 2:00 AM and 6:00 AM) and are not sure if that counts as Saturday/Blue Line or Sunday/Pink Line, just email us at info@2ndfloorrear.org. We’ll help you figure it out.

 

In past years, festival participants had to pay a $15 participation fee after their proposal was accepted. This year, we have to pay $10 to submit a proposal. What’s up with that?

We’re just trying something new this year. FYI, the $15 participation fee is a thing of the past. So once you pay the $10 submission fee, that’s it. No more fees. HOWEVER, if you want to submit multiple proposals, it’s $10 per submission.

 

But why charge a fee at all? 

Hosting the website costs money. The form you use to submit your proposal costs money. It costs people time to review all the proposals and time = $$$. The submission fees are a small but important piece of our financial puzzle.

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Is anything off-limits?

We’re not interested in openings at commercial galleries, stadium concerts, or big-budget theater productions, for example. That’s just not our thing. We also frown upon deliberate harm to people or animals, micro- or macro- aggressions to LGBTQ folks and people of color, and endorsements of arts-defunding political figures. Because just no.

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I have some art. Will you guys hang it somewhere for me and call that an event?

Nope.

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Resources

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What kinds of spaces could I find on my own, if I don’t already have access to one?

Here are some ideas:
  1. Borrow a friend’s living room. That’s what friends are for. To let you do art in their home.
  2. Do something that is public, site specific, or on the move—that doesn’t necessarily require permission. A number of past 2FR events took place in random public spaces. If you look at our past contributors, almost every event that took place outside was some “guerrilla” pop-up installation or performance, meaning the artists/curators just set something up long enough for the festival, but not long enough to get into trouble.
  3. Curate a mobile space. Why not rent a moving van for the day and turn the inside into an installation? Performances in a Blue Line train car?
  4. Rent a space. You can always check Chicago Artists Resource’s Space Finder.
  5. Work with a local business. You should probably contact the businesses with a fairly specific proposal, letting them know that it is for this festival. Casa Duno did it in 2013. They had a really lovely exhibition of sculptural objects at Reform Objects (a repurposed household goods business). It was an ideal collaboration because it was seamlessthe artwork really made sense in that setting.

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I love hosting art stuff in my amazing space that is walking distance from a Blue Line/Pink Line El station. I am also flexible, easy to work with, and not creepy. Can I offer you my space?

YES. Email us RIGHT NOW at info@secondfloorrear.org.

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 I am an artist/performer/creative person moving to Chicago in a few months, and I was wondering if….

We probably can’t help you with that. We suggest you check out Chicago Artists Resource.

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The Festival

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Might the festival be canceled due to inclement weather?

Highly unlikely. We made it through two mild winters and one polar vortex. We can’t quit on our hardcore Chicago audience now. If things get really bad, we might have to amend outdoor or mobile events. Individual events might be canceled at the discretion of their producers.
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Have a question not answered here? Email us at info@2ndfloorrear.org.

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