Opportunities for Artists and Arts Organizations

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Special Events Permit Application

DCASE processes Special Events applications for outdoor festivals, street and art/craft fairs and athletic events. Special Event Permits will be issued but are subject to change based on updated health and safety guidelines from either the City of Chicago or State of Illinois. All events must follow guidelines in place at the time of the event. For more information and to apply online, visit our Special Events Permit Application website.


Special Events Permit Application Webinars

DCASE is thrilled to announce a series of new sessions, three are virtual and one in person and they are designed to further elevate your event planning expertise. Our upcoming webinars will feature insightful conversations with industry experts on a variety of topics:


Chicago Cultural Center Dance Studio Residency Call for Artists

Deadline to Apply: Wednesday, May 22, 5pm

Apply Online

The Chicago Cultural Center Dance Studio Residency is a program of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE). This opportunity is for the research and development of new dance and movement work, and provides space, time and $10,000-$25,000 in funding for selected Chicago dancemakers. For more information, visit Chicago.gov/DCASE.


Calls for 2025/26 Visual Art Submissions Now Open

Online Information Session: Friday, April 26, 12–1pm Zoom meeting (Meeting ID: 885 4287 4846, Passcode: 464678)

DCASE is pleased to introduce a new application process for artists, curators, and arts organizations to propose exhibitions for the Chicago Cultural Center galleries in 2025 and 2026. Exhibitions at the Chicago Cultural Center come in many forms and sizes, including one-person and group exhibitions of contemporary art; exhibitions that focus on historical figures and ideas, cultural history, design, and architecture. For more information, visit our Visual Arts Program webpage.


2024 Taste of Chicago Food Vendor Application Deadline Extended

Application Deadline Extended: Friday, April 26 Download Info Packet and Apply

This summer, Taste of Chicago will return with special events around the city, including three Taste "Pop-Up" events in neighborhoods and Chicago's favorite, re-imagined Taste of Chicago in Grant Park! For more information, visit TasteofChicago.us.


Uptown Branch Library Mural Dedication And Community Celebration

Saturday, April 20, 9:30am-12:30pm
Uptown Branch, 929 W. Buena Ave.
Join us for a full morning of art, crafts, music and a special screening of Monty and Rose 2 with director Bob Dolgan and Leslie Borns, Founder and 22 Year Steward of Montrose Beach Dunes, as we dedicate our new mural Monty & Rose: A Migration Love Story by artist Dorian Sylvain. For more information, visit chipublib.org.

  • 9:30am: Reading of Monty and Rose Nest at Montrose with Author Tamima Itani
  • 10:00am: Music from Brennemann Elementary and People’s Music School
  • 10:15am: Dedication of Mural
  • 10:45am: Bird-themed craft with muralist Dorian Sylvain
  • 11:30am: Screening of documentary Monty and Rose 2 (48 minutes)


Jumping Jack Program Application Now Open

Apply Online

Program Runs: Saturday, May 25 through Sunday, September 1

Each year, the Jumping Jack Program delights children across Chicago. This inflatable playground, provided by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, is available for FREE. For more information and to apply, visit the Jumping Jack webpage.


Rental of Stage Lighting Equipment Request For Proposals (RFP)

Deadline to Apply: Tuesday, April 16, 3pm

Download the RFP

The City of Chicago, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) invites the submissions of proposals for Rental of Stage Lighting Equipment for City Festivals for DCASE festivals and events. DCASE produces large, family-oriented festivals that attract food and music enthusiasts, visitors, media and residents of all ages and backgrounds. As a feature at these festivals, DCASE produces performances of local and national headline talent. DCASE requires stage lighting services to enhance these performances, which take place on stages of various sizes.


Apply for a Cultural Grant

Submit an Idea for the Neighborhood Access Program Grant

Submissions Open: Monday, April 22

Deadline for Submissions: Friday, May 17, 5pm Central

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) will begin accepting idea submissions for the 2024 Neighborhood Access Program on April 22. This program provides grants for all types of neighborhood-based arts and culture activities taking place in Chicago between October 1, 2024 and December 31, 2025. Individuals and nonprofit organizations may apply. For eligibility criteria and other details, visit ChicagoCulturalGrants.org.


Development and Sales of Event Promotional Merchandise Request For Proposals (RFP)

Deadline to Apply: Wednesday, April 24, 3pm

Download the RFP

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) seeks proposals from qualified firms to provide development and sales of event promotional merchandise services.


Ray Charles Easley Memorial Sculpture Request For Qualifications (RFQ)

Deadline to Apply: Monday, April 29, 11:59pm

Download the RFQ

The City of Chicago, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), in partnership with the office of Alderman Christopher Taliaferro and the Chicago Park District invite professional artists and artist teams with a demonstrated history of completing major permanent outdoor public art projects to submit their qualifications for a $150,000 commission remembering community leader Ray Charles Easley and his continuing legacy to be placed in Austin Town Hall Park. (Location is pending Park Enhancement Committee approval).


Maintenance of Digital Cinema Projection System Request For Proposals (RFP)

Virtual Pre-Proposal Conference: Monday, April 15, 11am

Deadline to Apply: Tuesday, April 30, 3pm

Download the RFP

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) seeks proposals from qualified firms to provide maintenance services for a digital cinema projection system.


Performing Arts, Music, Dance, and Theater Programming Submissions 2025

Apply Online

2024 Performing Arts Submissions are currently closed. We are currently accepting submissions for 2025 programs. Are you an artist or arts organization interested in participating in DCASE Performing Arts, Music, Dance, or Theater programming? Due to the volume of responses, applications will be reviewed on a monthly basis. Should an opportunity arise for partnership, you will be contacted directly by a member of the DCASE Performing Arts Programming Team.


Serve as a Grant Panelist

Apply Online

The Cultural Grants team seeks Chicago-area individuals to serve as grant application reviewers. Candidates must have arts and culture experience and be available for approximately 40 total hours over a period of six weeks. There is compensation for service.


Learning Hub in the Learning Lab

More Info and Apply Online

The Learning Lab is a free public space that makes learning visible.

Do you want to make the Chicago Cultural Center your hub for educational and creative activities?

Educators, artists, and non-profit organizations are invited to submit proposals to make our Lab your Hub.


Share your Feedback with us!

Complete the Survey Online

If you are an artist, creative worker or arts administrator – we want to hear from you! DCASE wants to learn more about how to support you as we build out our cultural resource offerings. Are you interested in workshops, trainings, conferences, or virtual resources? Let us know how we can support you.

Complete this survey to share information with us about yourself and the types of support you need. The first 350 individuals that complete the survey will receive a gift card to the Buddy Store!


Cultural Community Rental Path

The Cultural Community Rental Path was created to reduce barriers to entry for Chicago's artists and arts organizations to produce free and open to the public events at the Chicago Cultural Center. The process features a reduced room rental rate and waived standard equipment fees (other production and operations costs still apply). For more information, visit ChicagoCulturalCenter.org.


Apply for the Small Business Improvement Fund

The Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF), offered by the Department of Planning and Development (DPD), provides grant funding for permanent building improvements and repairs across the city.

SBIF is offered to tenants and owners of industrial and commercial properties. Program participants can receive grants to cover between 30% and 90% of the cost of remodeling work, with a maximum grant of $150,000 for commercial properties and $250,000 for industrial properties. The grant, which is administered by SomerCor on the City’s behalf, does not have to be repaid. To learn about eligibility, attend an information session, and apply, please visit Chicago.gov/SBIF.

April's prioritized geographies are the following TIF districts (the districts change each month):


Nonprofit Capacity Building Program


Offered by the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, this program aims to support nonprofits that were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic through technical assistance and capacity building services support. While programming concluded in 2023, access past informational webinars online:

To learn more, visit Chicago.gov/BACPRecoveryPlan.


Call for Submissions: “Now Playing...Sights & Sounds” in the Learning Lab

Applications accepted on a rolling basis

The Learning Lab at the Chicago Cultural Center is an interactive studio that offers sights, sounds, and experiences for visitors of all ages and a wide range of abilities. Reinvigorated by design team Made in Englewood.

Organizations and artists from around the world are invited to submit their work to play in the sound dome and projection wall in the Learning Lab. For more information visit: "Now Playing...Sights & Sounds" in the Learning Lab.


City of Chicago Mural Registry

Applications accepted on a rolling basis

DCASE manages the City of Chicago Mural Registry, a publicly-accessible database documenting the growing collection of murals across the city on both private and public property. Artists, organizations and property owners are encouraged to register completed murals by submitting an application. For more information about the registration, application and process, visit Chicago.gov/muralregistry.


Nominate a Neighborhood Cultural Spotlight for 2024

Chicago Cultural Center, Welcome Center, 1st Floor North

Neighborhood Cultural Spotlights feature people, places and things nominated and recognized for a cultural contribution to their neighborhood’s vitality, and celebrates cultural assets in Chicago’s varied and vibrant 77 community areas.

Neighborhood Cultural Spotlights can be given to your local puppeteer, the house on the block with sculptural installations in the yard, the neighborhood culture compiler who sends out a newsletter, or the local arts supporter who your community relies upon, etc.

Know a person, place or thing in your neighborhood that deserves a Neighborhood Cultural Spotlight?  Nominate now

Check out the current Neighborhood Cultural Spotlights in the Welcome Center and then nominate your favorite neighborhood cultural asset!


Digital Access for ALL Chicagoans

Chicago families know the importance of quality, affordable internet, computers, and resources to participate in today’s society. For information on no-cost resources for eligible households to ensure they are supported and safe in today’s digital world, visit Chicago.gov.


Volunteer for DCASE

Applications accepted on a rolling basis

Share your love of Chicago’s culture, history and architecture by volunteering with DCASE. With DCASE you will connect guests (Chicagoans and visitors alike) with some of the city’s cultural treasures, such as Millennium Park, the Chicago Cultural Center, Clarke House Museum and the Taste of Chicago. Volunteers help in a variety of ways: leading tours, providing information, greeting and wayfinding at events and more. Information and application


Call for Corporate Partners

DCASE produces Chicago's largest free festivals including Taste of Chicago, Chicago Blues Festival and Chicago Jazz Festival plus a variety of other festivals and events throughout the year. Our goal is to engage companies, agencies and other partners to add value to the City's events while bringing brands directly to local consumers to increase brand awareness, generate valuable press exposure, drive traffic and sales, and build customer loyalty. To learn more about partnership opportunities, visit ChicagoPartnerships.com or email at chicagopartnerships@cityofchicago.org.




City Marketing Assets + Resource Guide

Access a partial list of City of Chicago Marketing Assets available to the local arts industry. This was compiled by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events for its Performing Arts Convening: Marketing and Audience Development, held October 26, 2022. Download the guide (PDF).


Creative Worker Resources

This is a listing of resources available locally and nationally to support creatives, from job boards, to professional advancement programs, to emergency funding.


Navigating Recovery: Arts and Culture Financial and Operating Treads in ChicagoNavigating Recovery: Arts and Culture Financial and Operating Trends in Chicago

SMU DataArts has partnered with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) to produce this first look at the health of many of the city’s arts and cultural organizations before, during, and emerging from the pandemic. The report examines financial and operating trends among its applicant organizations from 2019 through 2022, and analyzes variations for organizations with different characteristics such as budget size, discipline, and mission focus. A look in the rearview mirror provides context for the underlying challenges that a lot of organizations are facing today. Download the Executive Summary and Full Report.