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Chicago Loop Alliance reveals location and details for final ACTIVATE event of the season

Posted  4 years ago

Press contact: Jessica Cabe | PR and Communications Manager, Chicago Loop Alliance jessica@chicagoloopalliance.com | 312-782-9160

Media: Download photos and video


CHICAGO—Chicago Loop Alliance’s final ACTIVATE event of the 2019 season will transform a hidden alley through experimental art and underground comedy in celebration of the City of Chicago’s Year of Chicago Theatre. Guests will celebrate the end of summer with whimsical performances, interactive art installations, live music and other surprises. “ACTIVATE: Finale” is free and takes place from 5-10 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26, in Couch Place alley (170 N. State St.).

The event is curated by Hot Kitchen as a project of the Chicago Loop Alliance Foundation and Presenting Sponsor The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Guests who RSVP in advance receive a free drink ticket, with additional beverages available for purchase on site.

ACTIVATE is a popular free annual series of pop-up arts programs launched in 2014 by Chicago Loop Alliance that transforms alleys and other unexpected places into creative exhibition spaces. ACTIVATE brings people together for an evening of exploration, interaction and celebration in the public realm, inspiring guests to experience the Loop in a new way.

Elements of “ACTIVATE: Finale” include:

“Creating the concept for this event has been such an exciting venture for Hot Kitchen,” said Hot Kitchen founding member Katelyn Douglass. “With September here and fall at our heels, we felt that the event at its core should be a goodbye to summer in addition to the finale of the ACTIVATE season. This concept intersecting with our performance lineup, mixed with installations comprised of pool inflatables and Hawaiian shirts, serves as a fitting farewell to the warmth in Chicago. Our hope is that the attendees interact with and enjoy the event just as much as we’ve enjoyed bringing it to life.”

For the sixth annual ACTIVATE season, the theme is “ACTIVATE: Backstage.” The series aligns with the City of Chicago’s Year of Chicago Theatre and celebrates the role theater has played in the Loop’s success. In addition to the type of art installations ACTIVATE attendees have come to expect, the events this season include even more pop-up performances, audience participation and stagecraft than ever before.

“It’s always bittersweet to close out another ACTIVATE season; for us and the thousands of people who’ve experienced these events over the years, it’s like our summer sendoff,” said Michael Edwards, President and CEO of Chicago Loop Alliance. “We’re already feeling the first hints of fall, so really what we’re looking forward to about our last ACTIVATE event of the year is just celebrating another fantastic Chicago summer, and celebrating the Year of Chicago Theatre one more time.”

ACTIVATE sponsors include: Presenting Sponsor The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Street Saviors CH Distillery, Clif Bar, Lagunitas, Lyft and White Claw; Pop-Up Partners PNC Bank and Topo Chico; Alley Cats Blake’s Seed Based, Blick Art Materials and Green Thumb Industries; and Media Sponsor Time Out Chicago.


ACTIVATE is a series of pop-up arts programs that encourage visitors to see the Loop anew. The event series transforms alleys and other urban locations into creative exhibition spaces that bring artists and the public together for an evening of exploration, interaction and celebration of the arts. Chicago Loop Alliance launched the placemaking initiative in 2014, making the 2019 season its sixth annual. Over the past five seasons, ACTIVATE has generated $2.7 million in estimated economic impact to Loop businesses, with nearly $400,000 in 2018 alone. More than 73,000 people have attended ACTIVATE over the course of the series. Through CLA’s “Linger Longer” program, coupon books featuring exclusive offers and promotions from member businesses are given to ACTIVATE attendees to drive economic development. For more information, please visit www.loopchicago.com/activate.

About Chicago Loop Alliance

Chicago Loop Alliance’s (CLA) mission is to create, manage and promote high-performing urban experiences, attracting people and investment to the Loop. CLA is a membership organization as well as the sole service provider for Special Service Area#1-2015, and the Chicago Loop Alliance Foundation produces public art projects and events. For more information, please visit www.loopchicago.com.

About the Curators

Founded in 2016, Hot Kitchen is an experimental theatre and performance collective based in Chicago. Through any potential combination of core members and collaborators, Hot Kitchen devises performances and experiences exploring stupidity at its core. Their work is untethered from linear plot structures and logical reason, often resulting in a potential for genius, and even more often failing to reach it. Their focus is on creating truth in a sea of chaos, paired with cheesy choreographed movement.

Hot Kitchen is comprised of seven core members, in addition to a community of collaborators: Katelyn Douglass, Jiana Estes, Katie Friedman, Alex Hovi, Wade Howard, Jasmine Henri Jordan, Audrey Polinski.


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