21Minus is a takeover of the MCA by young artists. We can’t disrupt or endanger the exhibitions that are already on view, but we can use all of the public areas of the building as well as many of the gallery spaces for live performances, interactive experiences, workshops, and installations. It is a loud, crazy, exciting day! Last year, there were roughly 800 visitors, 29 projects, and over 50 collaborators working with the 25 TCA youth curators, 2 adult lead artists, and 4 artist mentors.
All people proposing a project must be:
- 21 years old or under on June 16, 2018*
- Live in the Chicagoland area
- Be available all day on June 16, 2018
- Be flexible and committed to working with others to develop a project
*People over 21, including adult leaders of youth organizations, can propose a project, if the majority (more than half) of all artists working on the project are under 21.
If your application is accepted, you must commit to:
- Being available all day on Saturday, June 16
- A load-in/setup day on Friday, June 15
- Two Saturday meetings at the MCA in April and May
- At least one Saturday rehearsal at the MCA
- Being flexible and adapting your project according to museum guidelines and restrictions
People who are:
We are looking for people who have something to say—regardless of if you express yourself through music, dance, drawing, politics and social justice, science, philosophy, economics, religion, math, and more. Everyone is welcome.
All 21Minus projects should directly engage audiences. We are looking for people who are open to interacting directly with museum visitors.
Because of the complex systems that make the museum run, all 21Minus project artists need to work closely with museum staff and TCA members to shape their projects so that they best respond to the spaces and exhibitions in the museum.
21Minus is a platform for interactive projects that get people engaging with art and each other in new ways.
Past artists have …
- led a microaggressions workshop
- invited visitors to interact with a giant baby made of tape
- performed an original sand-art performance piece
- danced inside of giant balloons
- played poetry games with visitors
- live-mixed video and audio on multiple screens with a fog machine
- invited visitors to print their darkest secrets on dirty laundry
All projects are reviewed and voted on by the 25 current TCA members. They use standard criteria for all projects and special criteria for each proposal category.
Criteria for all projects include:
- Is the artist eligible to participate?
- Does the project address the theme (broadly interpreted)?
- Do the artist and project contribute to the overall strength and diversity of the event?
Category specific criteria include:
- Does this person have the capacity to complete this project with minimal support?
- Is it clear how visitors will engage or interact with the installation?
- Does this person have access to the space and tools necessary to build this project?
- Does this person seem flexible enough to work within the constraints of the museum?
- Does this person have access to the necessary equipment?
- Does the tone and quality of the music match the vibe of the event?
NOTE: We will give preference to DJs who play their own original music.
- How conceptually strong is this piece?
- Does this person have documentation of other strong performances?
- Is it possible for this performance to happen within the constraints of the museum?
- Is the content of the material relevant and thoughtful?
- Does the artist have the capacity to come to the MCA to print and assemble?
- Does this work contribute to the strength and diversity of the screening?
- How clear and detailed is the workshop description?
- Does this person have any experience leading or facilitating?
- Is the scope of the workshop project match our time and material capacity?
Because the museum is full of other visitors and delicate artwork, we have to be flexible and compromise. Some things to keep in mind:
- Any weight-bearing structures or things that go over people’s heads have to be built by MCA staff
- Visitors can’t eat, drink, or have liquids in the galleries. There are only a few places where any liquids or messy materials (like paint) are allowed.
- We need to get approvals for all materials that come in and out of the museum.
- The MCA is a major public platform. What issues of urgency do you want to bring to public attention? What do you want to get people talking about?
- During 21Minus you will be hosting your project. How do you want to engage with visitors?
- Although youth takeover the museum on 21Minus, there is lots of work already on display. Take a look at the exhibitions currently on view at the MCA and see if any of the ideas or themes they deal with spark your imagination.
No, proposal workshops are opportunities to meet TCA members and talk about your project idea before the application deadline. They are not mandatory, but are a great way to learn more about TCA and refine your ideas. Bring a basic project idea or none at all! We can introduce you to the museum and help you get started; or we can help you refine what you already have.
From March–May you work with TCA curators, who guide you through the process of creating a project for the museum. First, you’ll be matched with a Curatorial Team of 5–7 TCA members who are focusing on one area of programming. (Past curatorial teams have worked on interactive installations, workshops in the “classroom of the future,” film festivals, pop-up performances, hands-on projects.) Your Curatorial Team will work with you to make sure your project has everything it needs to succeed at the museum.
The MCA has some facilities to help with minor constructions; however, large building projects aren’t feasible. In fact, there aren’t many places where large props can be used at the MCA.
We can support projects with a limited materials budget, but if your proposal is very large, we will ask you to contribute.
We may be able to support collaborating artists who have trouble getting to the MCA. Tell us if you have concerns about getting here.
Yes. Each year is a new year, and we ask all artists to reapply.
Yes, as long as you are still under 21.