2ND FLOOR REAR, 2015, Chicago, IL

City Alive with Dreams

Just a couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of photographing Chicago's 4th annual 2nd Floor Rear, "A 24h festival of art in alternative and temporary spaces". The weekend-long festival took place in and around Chicago's Logan Square in various apartment spaces, basements, bars, DIY galleries, temporary spaces, backyards, and the like.

The No Place

I photographed Sunday's evening exhibitions which were ranged from wall projections, to open studios, to elaborately-designed interactive performance art.

Purple Reign

The art festival comes at an unusual time of year for a city that is fiendishly addicted to patio seating and summer street fairs -- in the dead middle of frozen Chicago winter. And who goes on art walks in -5º weather, right? In fact 2nd Floor Rear couldn't be scheduled at a better time.  

Let’s Not Talk About the Weather

Winter can be an extremely inspiring time of year for artists, as it lets us work intimately with our practice and limits distractions. However it can also lead to serious seasonal depression. Chicago in particular can be a bitter and harsh city in the winter, having the tendency to make people apathetic and antisocial. With the draw of seeing vibrant fresh art and with promises of craft beer, free food, hot chocolate, and good company, 2nd Floor Rear's non-pretentious DIY-friendly attitude is a much-needed remedy for Chicago's now-routine polar vortex.


Also -- screw the big art institutions, support local underground art, and go on a fucking adventure for once in your life! It's fun!

City Alive with Dreams

Festival website

2015 artists/events

All photos ©2015 Emily Esperanza