Art, Expos, and Festivals. Oh My!

Have you ever wanted to hang out in a historic building all day with people who share your professional interests? Well, you just might be in luck!

For the ninth straight year the city is hosting the Creative Chicago Expo at the Chicago Cultural Center. The expo has expanded to two days, with workshops aimed at arts organizations and owners of creative-focused businesses on March 23 and workshops aimed at individual creatives on March 24. If you are involved with or have an interest in music, film, fashion, theater, dance, design, or the literary or visual arts, the expo is your chance to meet with like-minded folks and get in touch with organizations that spark your interest.

I Am Logan Square at last year's Creative Chicago Expo

Over 140 vendors will be at the expo, including your very own favorite nonprofit, I Am Logan Square. Stop by the booth and say hi, grab a button, and ask about this year’s Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival (see below for information about the festival!).

On top of that, your very own favorite nonprofit leader, Cara Dehnert Huffman, will take part in a panel on March 24 from noon to 1 p.m. The panel, “From Hyperlocal to Virtual: Connecting Art and Community,” will also include Patricia Larkin Green of OpenWall, Stephanie Pereira of Kickstarter, Tristan Hummel of the Chicago Loop Alliance, and Paul Klein of Klein Artist Works.

These workshops are all free, so you should definitely take advantage. See here for a list of workshops. Other offerings include one-hour mentor sessions, the City Treasurer’s Small Business Plan Competition, and a hosted discussion about the Chicago Cultural Plan.

March 23–24, 2012
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day
Chicago Cultural Center
78 E. Washington Street

In addition to the expo, we are also gearing up for the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival (MAAF) which will take place July 20–22, and we’re sending out a call for artists, vendors, sponsors, and volunteers. No other neighborhood has a festival quite like this! Nearly two miles of the Milwaukee Avenue between Kimball and California will be transformed into a full-blown arts district in a celebration of visual and performance arts.  This year's festival will be organized a little differently that in previous years-- instead of stretching all along Milwaukee, there will be three focal points of multi-arts programming at:
• the Festival Center at (Milwaukee & Logan)

• the North End (Milwaukee & Kimball) at the Hairpin Arts Center
• and at the South End (Milwaukee & California)

Very soon, we will be posting the announcements for how you can apply to be an exhibitor, performer, vendor, or even sponsor. Keep checking the website here to be notified when the applications are available!

--Tamara Matthews


  1. "three focal points of multi-arts programming..." is this set in stone? This year would be one of the best ever to expand north. From news posted on this blog, the "35th Ward has just rezoned most of Milwaukee Ave. between Diversey and Central Park B2-2. This zoning change allows for artist live/work space on any level including store-front. This is the largest B2-2 zoning change that we are aware of in the city, and also the first one that was initiated by the Alderman and local art activists instead of being initiated by a building owner." It's a very excited time to be involved in the arts in Logan Square. Please, let's not limit the festival!


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