Chicago Perennial: anything g(r)o(w)es.



The Chicago Perennial is a speculative art exhibition and forum in collaboration with the arts community at large.  "Perennial," instead of bi- or triennial, was chosen for a few reasons: first, the name "perennial" conjures ideas of growth, fecundity, verdure, a perfect metaphor for Chicago--the "urbs in horto"-- or city in the garden. Second, rather than promoting a single event that takes place only once every two years, perennial stresses the ongoing nature of art practice in all its forms. Lastly, it suggests playfulness and levity, qualities vital to theory and practice.  This ongoing celebration of artistic diversity is meant to reference but not duplicate the bi- and triennials that take place (and take space) in the contemporary art world.

The Chicago Perennial is initially a virtual project, providing space for the varied and potentially antagonistic roles and players in the fields of contemporary culture. The location--Chicago—is both a fortuitous and particular site; as such, a balance of local, regional, national and international voices is desirable.

A period of growth is envisioned early in the course of the Perennial during which a variety of feasible, self-propelled projects will be collected, presented virtually, and/or realized in an ongoing, artist-initiated structure, encouraging the development of liquid audiences along the way.  The Perennial structure allows for both the process of creation and the more conventional exhibition of work.

Our role in the organization of this project is more editor than curator.  As a speculative biennial without a board, specified theme, central hub or designated exhibition site, the Chicago Perennial seeks to open dialogue across lines of culture and represent the existing artistic vitality of the city and beyond.

The Chicago Perennial would like to hear artists' voices speak more loudly than curators', to see what structures, contexts, sites and interactions can be made possible through the intentions of those creating work.

Call for Contributions

We are curious to explore with you, in the form of your proposals, whether a project on this scale can be realized.

Take this opportunity to consider the real and virtual spaces in which you situate your art practice, to reflect on the meaning inherent in those spaces and how they can be shared and developed into a concept/structure for a large-scale art event. If you could choose to create and act out your own role in a Chicago-based art event, what would it look like?

As artists we can imagine these possible categories; please revise, expand, explode:

mapped or recorded self-guided tours of the city, found art, graffiti, alternative histories, sustainable services, calls to community/social actions, sound, music, live online broadcasts, apartment shows, traditional gallery work, film screenings, food/potlucks, events/happenings, theatrical interventions, benevolent coups of civic and art institutions, soap boxes, parades, web sites, fashion shows, bartering systems/alternative economies, digital image diaries, provocations, symposia/workshops/salons, education, celebrations/festivities, webcasts, detritus, musings/imaginings/schemes, creative critical writing, (anti)monuments and memorials


Participants may submit proposals as individuals, or as collaborative groups. There are no eligibility restrictions and submissions at this time are ongoing. Proposals need not conform to any particular format, but should include the following:

1. a two sentence summary of your proposal

2. a short description

3. favored site for your work – and 2nd, (possibly 3rd) options, and one sentence explaining your choices.

4. visuals: drawings, maps, slides, digital photographs, film footage, cd or other digital media, web links/sites

Please let us know if you plan to submit a proposal; you may do so by emailing, or by writing to the address listed below.

If replying through post please indicate on the registration or submission on the outside of the envelope.


 chicago perennial

 po box XXXXXX

 chicago, illinois



Submissions may be sent to the above address or to: (will be active soon)

By submitting a proposal to this project, you grant permission to the planners of the Chicago perennial to exhibit, publish, and reference the name(s) under which the proposal is submitted and the contents of the submission.