ACTIVATE: Bringing the Loop community together

   Thursday September 12 the Chicago Loop was lit up as Couch Place, a historic alley in the area, was inhabited by a DJ, street performers, designers, and people from all over coming to see the show. It was put on by ACTIVATE: Chicago Loop Alliance, as part of a series of Pop-Up Art shows in September’s gallery walk.  

Entrance to Couch Place

The idea of the exhibit was to try and cultivate a feeling of community in the Loop. It aimed to bring people together by enjoying a night out in Chicago. Dave Alvarado, a 34 year old Technology Consultant who has gone to a couple of the shows explained how “This particular one is is making a community...the music makes it feel a little more like there’s something happening making you want to see what is going” essentially drawing people in. Similarly, Caroline Sletten-Larsson, a Swedish native and avid blogger who has been living in Chicago for a little over a year stated how she “loves how it brings people together, in the rest of Chicago you see strong communities everywhere but you usually do not think of seeing them downtown, it’s nice to see them coming together here as well.” Many of the people in attendance had heard about it from various mediums. Robert Con, a Chicago native living in Nashville said he heard about it “on the radio, TV and the Reader.”  The community was mainly people 21 and over as well as appealing to international students and tourists. They had an open bar and hors d'oeuvres being passed around between the street artists and 2-D art.

2D Art

There were various artists from different areas in Chicago present. There were actors from local theatre productions, jugglers, levitation wand artists, and a designer from House of Frog.   

The designer’s clothing was a little outlandish, but very fashionable. It definitely was set up to pique certain people’s interests while it may not have been everyone’s choice of clothing. There were people on stilts who opened up the Fashion show as well as closing it, with the designer herself coming out at the end.


House of Frog Model

One of the street performers was “Perkulator, a flow artist who was focusing on her abilities with hula-hoops and a levitation wand throughout the night. Similarly, there were jugglers in various sections of the ally, juggling knives, balls, and even figurines. 



A prominent theatre company on display was the Two Lights Theatre Company. They had various paintings put up along one of the walls, depicting a new performance that will be coming on stage in October. The photographs on the wall were taken by former Art Institute students who were aspiring photographers. These photographs promoted the new show Pleasant Dreams: an evening of adventure and were meant to “capture broad kinds of art” stated Eleni Sauvageau. Savageau is the production manager for the company, and she explained how Pleasant Dreams is focusing on incorporating “many forms of art, there will be a band in the show and it will definitely be an experience. 


Local Juggler

There was also a photo-booth set up for gallery-goers put on by Smilebooth, which can be seen online. 

The experience of the pop-up art show was great, and as put by Alvarado ACTIVATE Couch Place was overall “great, I like the vibe, all the different outfits.” It is definitely something to see if you are at all interested in art, fashion, theatre, or even to connect with locals in the area.

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