A Storefront Activation Program
Wicker Park Bucktown Special Service Area #33 is excited to announce our vacant storefront activation initiative Window Works! The aim of the project is to utilize compelling contemporary art and installations to temporarily transform vacant storefronts. This activation will make the pedestrian experience of Wicker Park and Bucktown more engaging and enjoyable while showcasing and supporting area artists. Window Works also aims to attract interest in prime commercial spaces by fostering visual intrigue, generating foot traffic, and highlighting the potential of a storefront space and its impact on the community.
Selected artists and proposals will be paired with participating vacant or underutilized storefronts volunteered by property owners/managers within the neighborhoods. Completed activations will be accompanied by SSA #33 branded signage that lists property information as well as the artist’s contact information and the title(s) of the artwork. Storefront activations will be highly visible throughout some of the busiest parts of the neighborhood.
The Window Works program provides artists with the space and means to realize a variety of artistic ideas and visions that may not typically fit into a gallery context. Beyond this, the program offers financial support and exposure for local artists, both established and emerging, across disciplines and mediums. The projects are promoted and publicized in a number of ways that all provide information on the work and a means of contacting the artist. Artists are paid $1,500 for the activation with the aim of the installations being on display for up to three months. The public nature of the program, in combination with the stipend, allow artists to create works that reach a broad audience, engage with the Wicker Park Bucktown community, and contribute to a legacy of artistic production.
The hosting properties that volunteer their storefronts receive an array of benefits at virtually no cost:
- Visibility provided by increased foot traffic and attention
- Promotional media for the program highlighting individual locations
- Branded on-site signage (which can also include leasing contact information)
- A listing on the WPB Arts and SSA 33 website and interactive map featuring participating locations (which can also include leasing contact information)
- Means for engaging with, supporting, and investing in local artists and the Wicker Park Bucktown community without worrying about costs normally associated with cultivating similar art projects via your own means
Examples from other cities
The ARTichoke Project, 2010 by Christophe Gauspohl; part of WPB's former Make Believe initiative
An activation by Lorne Covington in downtown Syracuse in spring of 2018
Artist in Residence, by Rory Wakemup; part of Minneapolis' Made Here initiative
Russell Muits' installation for One Wall at Wicker Park's Jackson Junge Gallery, summer 2018
An activated storefront of a vacant bodega in New York City's Chinatown
Tsho Hmoob, by Koua M. Yang and Oskar Ly; photo by Steven Lang; part of Minneapolis' Made Here initiative