Loop Chicago


Category: Arts and Culture

Introducing Party Noire: Producing ‘ACTIVATE: A.K.A. Power House’

Party Noire, an inclusive cultural hub celebrating Black femmes, queer women of color and Black womynhood along the gender spectrum, is joining Canvas Chicago in co-producing “ACTIVATE: A.K.A. Power House” on Aug. 16. Get to know Party Noire founders Nick Alder and Rae Chardonnay, and learn about the collective’s origins, its upcoming three-year anniversary party and everything in-between.

‘The Shape of Chicago: John Massey’s 1968 Banners Revisited’ takes over State Street

Fifty years ago, downtown Chicago was brightened by a campaign of striking, graphic banners by celebrated Chicago designer John Massey. On Aug. 1, State Street between Congress Parkway and Wacker Drive will once again come alive with his designs

ACTIVATE Creates a ‘Sense of Place from Space’

A crowd gathered on a beautiful Thursday evening for another art and placemaking extravaganza in an alley tucked away by the Sullivan Center on Monroe Street. Under the theme TunnelVision, curated by Canvas, ACTIVATE transformed this historic space into a pixelated abyss, revitalizing the murals from past ACTIVATE events with digital media.

Introducing Vincent Naples: Curating ‘ACTIVATE: TunnelVision’ as DreamBait

Get to know curator of "ACTIVATE: TunnelVision" Vincent Naples who will be lighting up the Sullivan Center alley with digital media on July 12.

Celebrate Chicago’s Artistic Legacy in the Loop and Beyond

Chicagoans need no excuse to throw a celebration—it’s in our DNA. Since the days after the Great Fire of 1871, Chicagoans have rebuilt, reinvented and innovated again and again. That’s part of the reason the city’s artistic legacy is so unique and offers much to discover.

Must-Go Summer Music Fests in the Loop

The sound of summer in Chicago is the sound of music festivals. Although Lollapalooza is the apex of its kind, there are plenty of other music fests in the Chicago Loop for you to get your groove on and grace the outdoors. Make the most of Chicago’s best season with these musical experiences.

Lollapalooza 2018: Mark Your Calendar and Start Planning

Lollapalooza 2018, one of the most prolific music festivals, is upon us. It’s high time you got your plan together to enjoy four days of music, heat and huge crowds near some of the best attractions in the Chicago Loop. Before you head to Grant Park, allow us to help you with a few details that will enhance your festival experience.

8 Must-See Shows in the Chicago Loop

It’s May, and summer is tiptoeing nearer. While we are all excited about the long-awaited warm weather to enjoy the outdoors, let’s not forget about the exhilarating shows that attract millions of people to enjoy the pinnacle of live entertainment in the heart of the Chicago Loop.

A New Partnership With The School of The Art Institute of Chicago

ACTIVATE is a showcase intended to put the city’s best and brightest on display to be observed and interacted with, creating a sense of blurred lines between the world of art and the everyday life that constitutes the pulse of the Loop.

Tony Karman: EXPO CHICAGO Returns Sept. 22-25

EXPO CHICAGO/2016 welcomes over 140 leading galleries, representing 22 countries and 53 cities, presenting material ranging from museum quality masterpieces alongside some of the most cutting-edge, emerging contemporary work being made today. This year’s program includes EXPOSURE—a section that affords younger galleries the opportunity to participate in a major international art fair. 

Lollapalooza Celebrates 25th Anniversary

The very first Lollapalooza took place 25 years ago, and it has seen many changes over the years. To celebrate its 25th year, we decided to take a look back at the history of Lollapalooza.

Artist's Corner: Anthony Lewellen

Local artist Anthony Lewellen is the mastermind behind the newest art installation in the Hard Rock Alley for this week’s ACTIVATE. Before you head over to “SMELL” what we’ve cooked up this Thursday, find out a little bit more about Anthony and his work.

What to do This Weekend in the Loop

It’s the weekend, which means time to get out and explore the Loop! Whether you’re a fan of art, food, music, or just getting out and having a good time, the Loop has something for you!

Millennium Art Festival Brings Over 110 Artists to the Loop

Art fans rejoice and head out to the Millennium Art Festival starting on Friday, July 8 at 11 a.m.

Loop List: Summer Theatre in the Loop

Chicago is known for many things and theatre is one of them. Just take a walk through the Theatre District and you will see only some of the theatres that Chicago has to offer. It’s no wonder why this summer’s lineup of award-winning plays and musicals includes two world premieres. Check out the full list and get your tickets, so you can sit back and enjoy the show.

Loop List: 2016 Music Festivals

It is summertime in the Loop, so let the festivals begin! From the blues, to classical works by Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, to today’s alternative and pop, there is a live music event for everyone to enjoy. Most of the festivals in this year’s lineup are free, so check out what each event has to offer.

Your Guide to Chicago Theatre Week in the Loop

The fourth annual Chicago Theatre Week starts today! From February 11-21, over 100 productions are being showcased throughout Chicago with a special ticket price of either $15 or $30 (or less). The Loop, which is home to Chicago’s Theatre District, is taking center stage with a diverse lineup of productions.


Wabash Ave Just Got Brighter!

The Wabash Lights Beta Test, an interactive art display underneath the ‘L’ track on Wabash Ave, made its debut last night for a large and enthusiastic audience.

Lyric Opera of Chicago Announces 2016-2017 Season

Location: Lyric Opera of Chicago

Opera fans rejoice! Lyric Opera of Chicago has released its 2016-2017 season. Nine productions will be staged in the company’s 62nd season, captivating audiences with a balance of well-known and new works.

Chicago Comes Alive with Conversations Rooted in the Humanities

The Chicago Humanities Festival will present over 130 programs focusing on this year’s theme, Citizens from October 24 to November 8, 2015.

Tony Karman: EXPO CHICAGO Returns Sept. 17-20

EXPO CHICAGO, the International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art, opens the fall art season each September at historic Navy Pier. Now entering its fourth edition in 2015, EXPO CHICAGO presents artwork from over 3,000 artists, represented by 140 leading galleries from 16 countries and 47 cities from around the world.  

Scott Silberstein: Celebrate Chicago Dance with "Thank Dance It's Friday" in the Loop

Location: Pritzker Park

Dance permeates and embodies this city. That’s also why invite you to pop by the Pritzker Park every Friday until September 4. Right around 4pm, people are going to start dancing for a couple of hours. Not just any people, but amazing, talented, creative professionals who create and perform dances for the sole reason of making people think, or laugh, or cry, or marvel at the beauty of the human body and condition – and, perhaps most of all, just enjoy each other’s company, especially yours. 

What is Steampunk? - A Look at KURIOS by Cirque de Soleil

Location: United Center

ACTIVATE is back this Thursday, August 27! Stepping into Haddock Place Alley, we hope to ignite your imagination with a Steampunk journey through time and space. If you are new to the Steampunk scene, you may be wondering what the goggles and gadgets are all about. Explaining a genre of the imagination is not an easy task. Fortunately, the minds behind KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities by Cirque du Soleil have experience bringing the curious world of Steampunk to life around the world.

Artist's Corner: Thēarē Group

Rob McKay, Thēarē Group President, answers our questions about what to expect at Thursday's event and how Thēarē Group's aims to change the way people think about art. 

Artist's Corner: Talking "PLAY" with Chicago Design Museum

Elizabeth Cummings, Chicago Design Museum Curator and Event Chair, answers our questions about the artistic process and her experience bringing PLAY to life!

Loop List: 2015 Music Festivals

It finally feels like spring, and as the weather warms up so does the Loop’s outdoor music scene. Whether you are looking for heavy metal or smooth jazz, this year’s music festival line-up has something for everyone. 

Celebrate Chicago Dance Month – Free Performances at Pritzker Park this April

Location: Pritzker Park

Chicago Dance Month is giving you one more reason to love Fridays! “Thank Dance It’s Friday: TDIF!” is coming to Pritzker Park this April with free dance performances from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. 

Chicago Loop Alliance announces final Transforming Wabash Report

Chicago Loop Alliance just announced its final Transforming Wabash Report, a series of short- and long-term projects to promote and strengthen the historic Wabash Avenue district downtown. The Report is the result of a yearlong series of planning charrettes involving over 100 of Chicago’s business, civic and cultural leaders with a stake in revitalizing Wabash Avenue and making the district more economically competitive.

Celebrating the Chinese New Year in Chicago

The Loop will come alive with the sights, sounds, and tastes of Chinese culture during the Chinese New Year. From awe-inspiring traditional Chinese music to rooftop celebrations, there are plenty of ways to ring in the Year of the Sheep!

Chicago Theatre Week Takes Center Stage: Five Facts about Theatre in Chicago

Chicago’s world-renowned theatre scene is taking center stage during the third annual Chicago Theatre Week. From February12-22, over 100 productions are being showcased throughout Chicago with a special ticket price of either $15 or $30 (or less). The Loop, which is home to Chicago’s Theatre District, has 10 participating productions. From Broadway debuts to magic shows, the depth of theatre presented demonstrates the large scope of exciting productions offered year-round.

Stats: Why we ACTIVATE

Earlier today, we announced some impressive statistics about our ACTIVATE event series; namely, that the program generated an estimated $393,120 in economic impact to Loop businesses to date. More than 14,000 people attended seven ACTIVATE events from September 2013 to October 2014, each of which transformed an iconic downtown alley into a pop-up urban celebration with art, music and interactive experiences.

Timeline: Auditorium Theatre turns 125-years-old

Today marks 125 years since the historic Auditorium Theatre first raised its golden curtains in the Loop, ushering in a new chapter in Chicago's history. Completed fewer than 20 years after the devastating Great Chicago Fire, the building—once the largest in the United States—remains a vivid example of the city's resilience.

World's Largest Camera in Chicago

“Butterflies & Buffalo: Tales of American Culture” and the world’s largest camera are in Chicago.

BBTAC is a photographic documentary project produced by renowned Chicago photographer, Dennis Manarchy. Embarking on a 20,000-mile nationwide documentary journey across the United States, the project seeks to capture the most ethnically diverse nation in the world with a massive, massive (did I say massive?) MASSIVE camera lens.

The camera itself spans a full 35 feet and churns out 6-foot negatives. Amazingly, a traditionally designed camera constructed on such a large scale can produce images “with over 1000x more detail than today’s most advanced digital cameras.”

The result? An exhibition of 24-foot portraits, the likes of which have never been seen in the 200-year-old world of cameras.

Sound like it’s worth a look? The good news is that the camera is free and open to the public at Two N. Riverside Plaza from 7am – 7pm daily.

Follow @BigChiCamera on Twitter for daily updates.


ACTIVATE is taking place tonight—Thursday, September 12 from 5 - 10 PM—in Couch Place alley. It is free and open to the public as part of Pop-Up Art Loop's September gallery walk.

By now you’ve probably heard a slew of key phrases from us about the ACTIVATE event at Couch Place tonight—public art celebration, placemaking initiative, “people alley”—but with so much packed into one event you may still be wondering, what exactly should I expect? I’ll give you the quick rundown below:

Fashion Show | House of Frog | 7:30 PM

  • Frog Greishaw is a Chicago-based fashion designer. The show at ACTIVATE will feature steampunk-style fashion (right).
  • Steampunk fashion, declared by IBM's "sentiment analysis" to be the next generation of fashion in 2013, is a real-world reproduction of the clothing that is or could be found in steampunk literature.
  • Steampunk literature is perhaps best described as a kind of Victorian sci-fi—borrowing clothing, technology and social mores of Victorian society combined with an alternative imagination of the industrialized 19th century and the influence of steam power on technology.


  • Uber has generously offered a $25 ride to new customers at the event with the promo code ACTIVATE13 (excludes taxi).
  • Uber drivers have luxury cars such as Lincoln Town Cars, Chrysler 300 Series, and Mercedes-Benz S-class sedans.
  • Cars are reserved by sending a text message or by using a mobile app. Using the apps, customers can track their reserved car's location.

Massive "Lite-Brite" | CMYKittens

  • CMYKittens is a Chicago based design collaborative that creates interactive art using the elements of graphic design.
  • At ACTIVATE, the "kittens" are featuring a large lite-brite like display, the largest of its kind.

Entrance | Tristan Hummel

  • The entrance to Couch Place via State Street will be covered with a backlit false brick façade (pictured right in construction) designed by CLA’s own Tristan Hummel.

Pleasant Dreams in Tableau Vivant | Two Lights Theatre Company

  • The Two Lights Theatre Company is a multidisciplinary community of artists in Chicago.
  • “Pleasant Dreams…” will be a 2-D art display covering a large portions of the alley’s walls

Believe it or not, this is still only a taste—there will be even more surprises and perks to look out for tonight!

Once again we’d like to thank our sponsors—Columbia College Chicago, Widmer Brothers Brewing, Blick Art Materials, Carhartt, and Smilebooth—for making this all possible.