Chicago Presents

Chicago Presents: Summer Festivals & Outdoor Events

Deadline Extended to May 6, 2022

Jump to:


Eligibility Criteria

Program Requirements

Funding and Permit Requirements

Selection Criteria

Application and Guidelines Links

2022 Chicago Presents: Summer Festivals & Outdoor Events Application

2022 Chicago Presents: Summer Festivals & Outdoor Events Guidelines (PDF)


Review Process and Timeline

All eligible Chicago Presents applications have been reviewed and funding decisions are expected to go out in the next week. All applicants will be notified if they were selected for funding or not selected for funding via the contact e-mail listed in the application.

All programs must take place between June 18 – October 31, 2022 to be eligible for advance payment.

The final deadline to submit a Chicago Presents: Summer Festivals & Outdoor Events application is May 6, 2022 at 5:00pm CST.


View the Application Assistance Webinar

Please follow the link to view the Chicago Presents webinar recorded on April 7, 2022


Program Overview

The arts and culture sector is a significant economic driver in the City of Chicago, generating billions in revenue and supporting thousands of jobs. As we work towards recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic, the city of Chicago will leverage the power of the arts sector to rebuild by expanding cultural access, employing creatives, and increasing direct support to presenters.

The Chicago Presents grant program will provide direct support to cultural presenters offering free, public programs in neighborhoods. The program will support existing and new neighborhood-based, summer festivals and special events.

Emerging and established cultural presenters are invited to submit proposals for free, live, in-person, outdoor events, including music and dance festivals, block parties and parades, spanning all genres, that activate Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Through Chicago Presents, DCASE will provide grants ranging from $25,000 - $75,000 to present individual events or event series. DCASE anticipates 10 - 15 grants through Chicago Presents: Summer Festivals & Outdoor Events.

Dance programs supported through this program will be additionally promoted as part of the Year of Chicago Dance (YOCD), which aims to activate Chicago’s dance industry to address critical issues facing dancemakers.


Eligibility Criteria

• Arts organizations, community-based non-profits, and for-profit cultural venues & promoters based in the City of Chicago with a valid street address are eligible to apply.

• Proof of residency - Applicants must provide a Chicago Business license or certification of good standing with the Secretary of State of Illinois. To obtain a certificate of good standing please follow this link:

Directions: Under Corporation/LLC Search section click Search. Select your organization type. If you do not know your organization type, select the top option Corporate and LLC. Enter your organization name and click Continue. Click on the organization name that matches your organization. The certificate of good standing will appear on the next page. You can right click, select print and save as PDF or take a screen shot. If you would like to purchase a certificate the option to do so is at the bottom of the final page but this is not required.

• Individuals are not eligible to apply.

• Presenters must have at least a (2) year history of presenting public programming, though this history does not need to be consecutive. Presenters must be able to obtain the necessary licenses, permits and insurances to deliver the event prior to submitting a Chicago Present application.

• Collaborations between non-profits and/or for-profits will be accepted for consideration. If applying on behalf of a collaboration, applicants must select a Lead Applicant to be responsible for all application and grantee requirements, if funded. This Lead Applicant must meet all Chicago Presents eligibility requirements and play a principal role in the proposed project. If funded, this organization will receive the grant funds on behalf of the group.


Program Requirements

• Admission to the event must be free and open to the public, with no fees or suggested donations for entry.

• Program site must be confirmed.

• Programs must occur outdoors, including but not limited to neighborhood block parties, farmer’s markets, plazas, parks, community gardens and vacant lots.

• Program must feature 2 or more artists, bands, or performance groups.

• Programs must occur within the City of Chicago.

Special consideration will be given to events in INVEST South/West neighborhoods: Auburn Gresham, North Lawndale, Austin, Englewood, Humboldt Park, Bronzeville, New City, Roseland/Pullman, South Chicago, and South Shore.

Receptions, reunions, graduations, award functions, seminars or workshops, political events, or religious services are not eligible for this program.


Funding and Permit Requirements

• Funds granted through the Chicago Presents program can be used to cover all costs associated with delivery of the program including all artist fees, production, labor, permitting, administration and insurance.

• Presenters will be required to provide sound and technical equipment appropriate for the type of performance, size of the venue and audience.

• Events that require a special events permit are required to secure a permit prior to grant funds being released. To learn if your event requires a special event permit, please visit

• Applicants who have proposed events for public parks must also secure both a DCASE and a Chicago Park District special event permit prior to receiving grant funds.

• Permit application does not need to be submitted prior to applying to the Chicago Presents Program.

• DCASE Special Event approval and Chicago Park District property approval does not constitute City of Chicago approval for this program.

• Grants funds will be distributed in two payment installments. The first payment (80%) will be processed upon the receipt of the grant contract and permit application. Distribution is anticipated up to 8 weeks after the award notifications, pending permit approvals. The 2nd payment (20%) will be awarded approximately 2 weeks after the initial payment. Applications must be submitted 12 weeks prior to the event date to receive advance payment prior to the event. Payments can be used as reimbursements for events if the application is submitted less than 12 weeks prior to the event date.


Selection Criteria

• Ability of presenter to deliver a successful program, through history of successful event producing and audience building.

• Ability of program to support or enhance other community development priorities.

• Potential impact on applicant

• Potential of project to expand the scope and breadth of Chicago’s neighborhood festivals and events

• Geographic distribution of funds and programs throughout the City, in particular the south and west sides.