Millennium Park Residency Program Application Guidelines

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The City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) supports artists and cultural organizations, invests in the creative economy, and expands access and participation in the arts throughout Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods. As a collaborative cultural presenter, DCASE also produces some of the city’s most iconic festivals, markets, events and exhibitions at the Chicago Cultural Center and Millennium Park. With stunning architecture, sculpture, and landscape design, Millennium Park provides the backdrop for hundreds of free cultural programs including concerts, exhibitions, tours and family activities that make it one of the most visited cultural destinations in the country with over 20 million visitors annually. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park has state of the art acoustics and includes 4,000 fixed seats and a Great Lawn that can accommodate approximately 10,000 guests. Millennium Park is home to a series of programs such as House, Gospel, Blues and Jazz Festivals, SummerDance Celebration, World Music Festival, Millennium Park Music Series, and the Millennium Park Film Series. Other cultural partners such as Grant Park Music Festival also take advantage of offering free programs in the Park throughout the summer months. Through these programs, DCASE presents diverse programs that highlight a range of cultural expressions, genres, and disciplines.


Millennium Park Residency Program

DCASE invites Chicago-based organizations and cultural producers that share DCASE’s commitment to providing such high quality, free programs to participate in the 2nd Millennium Park Residency Program (MPRP). This residency opportunity will open Pritzker Pavilion and other park cultural amenities for organizations to curate, develop and produce free public programs and performances. With the support of the Millennium Park Foundation and Pritzker Foundation, DCASE will provide four grants up to $150,000 to nonprofit cultural organizations. Grant funds are intended to support the costs of realizing a site-specific performance, or series of performances in Millennium Park, including, but not limited to artist fees, site design, insurance, travel, marketing community engagement, and other performance related expenses. These expenses include park costs for security, custodial, production, engineer services, etc. The range for this expense can vary between $10,000 to $50,000. The 2023-24 Millennium Park Residency Program will open for programs happening from late spring to fall of 2024. The selected grantees will be responsible for bringing their programs to life, with DCASE providing critical technical, marketing and in-kind facility support to help the grantee fully realize their vision. The official grant period will run from September 2023 through December 2024.



Dates Milestone
Thursday, March 9, 2023 Application Opens
Friday, April 14, 2023 at 5pm Application Deadline
July 2023 Notifications Sent
September 2023-February 2024 Programs Plans/Advanced
June -December 2024 Public Programs Presented
December 30, 2024 Final Reports Due


Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the MPRP, applicants must:

  • Be a nonprofit cultural organization or company residing in the city of Chicago with a valid street address (PO Box will not be accepted)
  • Have a primary mission to create, produce, present, provide, or support arts and culture services for the public
  • Have at least two years of experience producing performing arts, as verified by list of venues where the company has performed


Review & Evaluation Criteria

The Millennium Park Residency Program is intended to help support organizations’ goals to expand audience, increase visibility, encourage artistic experimentation, strengthen the Performing Arts sector, and improve quality and level of future artistic and creative productions. In addition, DCASE places a high value on programs that offer unique, inspirational experiences for diverse audiences. The residency program is intended to deeply embed resident organizations within the fabric Millennium Park and to encourage site-specific programs that engage new and diverse audiences from around the city.

Applications will be evaluated on the quality of the proposed program, audience engagement strategy, level of collaboration and potential impact on the applicant.

  • Quality of Proposed Program: Program demonstrates a strong concept with high quality performers and artists, as well as consideration for Pritzker Pavilion stage’s technical and logistical capabilities and audience while demonstrating creative innovation and artistic experimentation.
  • Audience Engagement & Visibility: Proposal incorporates a thoughtful audience engagement strategy that takes advantage of Millennium Park as a unique cultural destination. The proposed program offers potential for public benefit as demonstrated by organization/producer working to attract and sustain audiences for the arts, build community, and expand access to arts and culture.
  • Collaboration: Proposal includes partners that will strengthen the collective impact of the residency program and benefit future programs or collaborations within the arts community.
  • Potential Impact on Applicant: Proposal communicates clearly how the opportunity will support the applicant’s goal to expand audience, increase visibility, experiment, and/or raise the level or scale of artistic production.

Priority will be given to:

  • Programs that feature a non-traditional, innovative performance model that playfully engages multiple areas of the Park.
  • Collaborative proposals submitted by a lead applicant on behalf of a consortium or group of organizations.
  • Programs that bring new partners to Pritzker Pavilion or programs from past partners that push the boundaries of what has been done previously and/or leverage the success of their past programs to highlight and elevate new collaborators.
  • Programs that strengthen the diversity of Millennium Park’s offerings.


How To Apply

All applicants must apply using our CyberGrants platform. Links to applications can be found here starting March 9, 2023. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted or reviewed. All applications can be submitted anytime before the deadline of April 14, 2023 at 5pm.

Apply Online


Application Requirements & Materials:

  • Written Narrative
    • Name of Organization, Address, Federal Tax ID Number
    • Mission Statement
    • Program Title & Description
    • Program Goals & Desired Impact
    • Audience Engagement Strategy
    • Program Format
  • Project Budget
  • Biographies of organizational leader(s)
  • Letters of support (if applying on behalf of other organizations participating in a collaboration)
  • Evidence of past work/accomplishments


Review Process

- All completed applications submitted by the deadline will first be reviewed by DCASE staff to ensure the minimum eligibility criteria is met. Only those meeting such criteria will move forward in the review process.

- Eligible applications will be reviewed by a panel made up of artists, arts administrators, arts educators, and other experts from Chicago’s art community.

- The review panelists will then make funding recommendations to DCASE.

- DCASE staff will facilitate grant panel review and aid grant reviewers in finding consensus.


DCASE Contact Information
Please direct all MPRP inquiries to:
Mariam Thiam, Program Director, Performing Arts