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6 Artsy Pop-Up Alley Parties Are Coming To The Loop This Summer

By Mae Rice in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 30, 2016 5:04PM

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A party in an alley doesn’t sound fun right off the bat—unless you like to mingle with dumpsters, in which case, huh. However, Activate, Chicago Loop Alliance’s series of pop-up alley parties, has been changing alley parties’ reputation one event-or “pop-urban experience,” as Activate puts it on their website—at a time.

Last year, 30,000 people attended their series, and this summer, for the third summer running, it's back. At a slate of six events, Activate will transform “iconic Loop alleys” into what amount to pop-up art galleries, in collaboration with local artists and performers.

What's more, the series will incorporate an overarching theme for the first time this year: the five senses. Liza Massingbird, a representative for the event, told Chicagoist that each event will be themed around a sense—though there are six events and five senses, so one event is a bit of a wild card thematically. (We personally hope it is a spooky Sixth Sense party, full of alley ghosts.)

Don't expect to see any dumpsters at these parties, either. “All (gross) things in the alley are removed… No partying near a dumpster,” Massingbird said. Instead, typical alley finds are replaced with art, lights, and other thoughtful touches conducive to art appreciation and more interactive art experiences.

“This year, we are taking audience participation to a next level," Chicago Loop Alliance President and CEO Michael Edwards said in a statement. "We don’t want attendees to only experience art; we want to encourage them to be immersed in it."

Specifics of what this means are shrouded in secrecy, per Activate's MO. Even the location of each event is a secret until two weeks beforehand, when it’s announced on Activate’s website. So far, we just know that Activate’s 2016 events will be held on May 13, June 9, July 14, Aug. 5, and Oct. 13 from 5 to 10 p.m. Anyone who RSVPs in advance on the Activate website gets a free drink ticket at the event.