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Chicago Loop Alliance unveils details for June event, ACTIVATE: Premiere

Posted  5 years ago


CHICAGO—The first event of Chicago Loop Alliance’s 2019 ACTIVATE season will take place from 5-10 p.m. on Thursday, June 6, on MacChesney Court (enter at the corner of E. Lake St. and N. Garland Ct.). Inspired by circus arts, “ACTIVATE: Premiere” will transform a hidden alley for one night only with contortionists, magicians, hip-hop and house music on two stages, an interactive costume photo booth and more live murals than ever before seen in the Loop. The event is curated by Missy Perkins and Roe Melloe as a project of the Chicago Loop Alliance Foundation and Presenting Sponsor The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

ACTIVATE is a popular annual series of pop-up arts programs launched in 2014 by Chicago Loop Alliance that transform 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.

Guests who RSVP in advance will receive a complimentary drink ticket, with additional beverages available for purchase onsite. Three more events this season will take place on July 18, Aug. 22 and Sept. 26. Details will be announced at www.loopchicago.com/activate.

Elements of “ACTIVATE: Premiere” include:

“There is a lot of power in letting curators decide what inspires them,” said Kalindi Parikh, Chicago Loop Alliance’s Director of Planning. “When Missy and Roe came to us with a circus-inspired theme, we were intrigued. Circus arts and street art have a surprising amount in common–they both exist outside of the mainstream and challenge ideas about what art should or shouldn’t be. Juxtaposing these two underground styles in an unconventional place like an alley gives our audience the opportunity to interact with something completely out of the norm that we haven’t seen replicated anywhere else.”

This is the sixth annual ACTIVATE season, and the theme in 2019 is “ACTIVATE: Backstage.” The series aligns with the City of Chicago’s Year of Chicago Theatre and will celebrate the role theater has played in the Loop’s success. In addition to the kind of art installations ACTIVATE attendees have come to expect, the events will include even more pop-up performances, audience participation, stagecraft and set design than ever before.

“This will be my third curatorial ACTIVATE alley, and I was very excited about the theater and ‘Backstage’ theme,” said curator Missy Perkins. “For me, ‘backstage’ means ‘behind the madness.’ So, imagine all the chaos while putting a production together.”

“As curators, my partner and I envision a space that draws the audience into a fantasy world—one that is filled with special performances, captivating murals, theatrical lighting and music that fills every end of the alley,” said curator Roe Melloe.

“Chicago Loop Alliance has supported the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events’ ‘Year of’ initiatives in the past by partnering on banner takeovers of State Street, but this is the first time we’re dedicating our ACTIVATE season to this initiative,” said Michael Edwards, President and CEO of Chicago Loop Alliance. “That is because we see every day what a huge impact theater has on making the Loop a vibrant destination for residents and visitors alike—our 2018 Arts in the Loop Economic Impact Study proves it. ACTIVATE has always been about transforming unexpected urban spaces with art. This year, we’re putting a special emphasis on the performing arts to celebrate the role they play in this city’s vitality.”

ACTIVATE sponsors include: Presenting Sponsor The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Street Saviors CH Distillery, Lagunitas, Lyft and White Claw; Pop-Up Partners PNC Bank and Topo Chico; Alley Cats Blake’s Seed Based and Blick Art Materials; 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 will be handed out to ACTIVATE attendees to drive economic development. For more information, please visit www.loopchicago.com/activate.

About Chicago Loop Alliance

Chicago Loop Alliance (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. CLA’s mission is to create, manage and promote high-performing urban experiences, attracting people and investment to the Loop. For more information, please visit www.loopchicago.com.

About the Curators

Missy Perkins is an independent art curator, event coordinator and music manager who works heavily with the street, graffiti and hip-hop communities to organize cultural awareness. She has curated countless art exhibitions and organized art and music events, block parties and breakin battles throughout the city.

Roe Melloe is a culture catalyst and curator. He is the Founder and Executive Director of Melloe Drama, a talent management firm that provides professional representation, consultation and brokering services to artists of all artistic disciplines. Hailing from the South Side of Chicago, Melloe has rooted himself deep within the arts, entertainment and culture scene.


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