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Chicago’s Creative Industries

Lake FX Summit + Expo

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events supports and promotes the city’s art, music, theater, fashion and culinary industries.



Chicago Artists Month (CAM) is an initiative of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events that showcases the work of Chicago’s independent artists and arts organizations. As a platform for independently-produced events and programs in all disciplines, CAM highlights creative activity in Chicago neighborhoods; encourages tourism and small business development; fosters collaboration and opportunities for creative expression and learning.



Chicago's Farmers Markets bring more than 70 vendors selling fresh fruits, vegetables, plants and flowers to neighborhoods throughout the City of Chicago.


Cultural Grants

The mission of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is to enrich Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. To support this overarching mission, Cultural Grants Program’s goal is simple: to serve as a catalyst to foster a robust, healthy arts community where artists, non-profit arts and culture and creative industries thrive. More information.



DCASE/British Council Arts & Social Practice Fellowship

In collaboration with the British Council, DCASE is offering an Arts & Social Practice Fellowship for a socially-engaged cultural leader based in Chicago looking to partner with practitioners in the United Kingdom for a two to three week self-directed residency in the Spring/Summer of 2017. A socially-engaged cultural leader is defined as an artist, arts or cultural manager, curator, cultural educator, creative presenter, social entrepreneur or community activist who addresses contemporary social issues through the lens of arts and culture. More information.



The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) periodically accepts artist submissions for consideration for its festivals and programs. All events take place in Chicago, IL. More information.Venue Licensing Toolkit

The Venue Licensing Toolkit is a new resource for entrepreneurs and organizations interested in presenting music, theater or other entertainment at permanent venues such as cultural centers, theaters, clubs, bars, or movie theaters. Using flowcharts, checklists, quick links to important documents and frequently-asked-questions, the step-by-step roadmap gathers the information from multiple City agencies in one centralized and transparent location and explains the application process to become either a Public Place of Amusement (PPA) or a Performing Arts Venue (PAV).

The Lake FX Summit + Expo is the region’s largest FREE conference for artists Lake FX Summit + Expo Chicago 2016and creative entrepreneurs and is designed to connect, inform and inspire emerging and established producers working in the film, music, dance, design, theater, fashion, culinary and arts fields. The event will welcome thousands of individuals, businesses and organizations for inspiring keynotes by industry leaders, over 80 informative panel discussions & workshops, networking opportunities as well as performer showcases, an artisan market and resource expo.

ChicagoMade A&R AuditionsChicagoMade - Come out and support your favorite local musicians and bands as they perform live for a panel of Artists & Repertoire (A&R) executives from major labels. Each auditioning act will have 5 minutes to give it their best shot. Admission to the auditions is free. Representing a wide variety of musical genres, eighteen fantastic musicians and bands have been selected out of hundreds of entries to audition for a possible recording contract.

ChicagoMade Music Collective - Join local music industry professionals and working musicians for a networking series at locations throughout the city. Each event combines a panel discussion on an industry topic and a showcase performance by several local artists. The first event is April 27 at 6:30pm at the Chicago Cultural Center.

The Chicago Track The Chicago Trackis an industry school for film and music, where aspiring creatives and professionals ages 18­25 network with working artists and leaders in media and entertainment. The Music Series, coordinated by Young Chicago Authors, provides networking, workshops, and performances for those seeking out a spot for themselves among the various creative and professional roles within the music industry.


Residency Programs

Studio Artist and Curatorial Residency Program

The Chicago Cultural Center Studio Artist and Curatorial Residency Program is for professional and emerging Chicago-based visual artists and curators. The program aims to support Chicago's visual artists and curators in their creative process and to increase the diversity of expression and representation in the larger artistic community in Chicago.


Artists and Organization Residency Program (ARC)

DCASE announces the Chicago Cultural Center Residency (“ARC Residency”) for Arts and Culture Organizations, and seeks Chicago-based arts and culture organizations to present an ongoing series of free public programs at the Chicago Cultural Center. The 2016-2017 application closes on Friday, September 9, 2016.


Theater and Dance

DCASE Theater and Dance - The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) presents an ongoing performing arts series that showcases both emerging and established music, theater, dance and multi-disciplinary artists at the Chicago Cultural Center and other venues. Dedicated to capacity building in the arts, DCASE hires the artists and provides performance space as well as technical and marketing support.

The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events' Theater and Dance Residencies give emerging and established performing artists the opportunity to test-drive new work in a public setting. Each residency is tailored to the needs of the artist or company and their project. Each showing is a unique opportunity for audiences to get a behind-the-scenes look at new work by Chicago artists.


Year of Public Art

Call for Year of Public Art Programs - Chicago-based organizations and artists are invited to submit projects for the Year of Public Art program schedule from January to June 2017. Applications are due October 3, 2016.

Most Recent News (Chicago’s Creative Industries)

Oct 12, 2016 Chicago Cultural Center Artists In Residence and Curatorial Residency Awards Encourage Development of Diverse Arts Projects
Apr 19, 2016 Chicago's Lake FX Summit + Expo Registration Opens Today
Apr 19, 2016 Special Guest Performance by Lupe Fiasco in Support of Lake FX and Rhymefest to Perform at the Evening Showcases During the Lake FX Summit + Expo at the Chicago Cultural Center
Mar 24, 2016 Chicago’s Second-Annual Lake FX Summit + Expo to Feature Charles Adler, Nick Cave, Graham Elliot, Rodney Jerkins, Ramsey Lewis, Maria Pinto, Tanya Saracho, Regina Taylor—and Others
Feb 9, 2016 Chicago to Showcase its Talent at South by Southwest Music, Film and Interactive Conference

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