The deadline for 21Minus proposals has been extended to Sunday, April 12 at 11:59 pm. Please keep sending in your ideas, despite this uncertain time. We are looking forward to showcasing the creativity of Chicagoland youth on June 13, whether virtually or in person.
21Minus is a take over 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 13, 2020*
- Live in the Chicagoland area
- Be available all day on June 13, 2020
- 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 13
- A load-in/setup day on Friday, June 12
- One Saturday meeting at the MCA in May
- 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, no matter if you express yourself through music, dance, drawing, or politics and social justice, to science, philosophy, economics, religion, math, and more. Everyone is welcome.
All 21 Minus projects will 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 will need to work closely with museum staff at TCA members to shape their projects so that they best respond to the spaces and exhibitions in the museum.
TCA works to make 21Minus a platform for people of all identities and backgrounds. We work to ensure the equity of our process by prioritizing applications from people who have traditionally been underrepresented at the museum including black, brown, femme, queer, and immigrant artists as well as artists from Chicago’s South and West sides.
21Minus is a platform for interactive projects that get people engaging with art and each other in new ways.
Past artists have . . .
- led a workshop about microaggression
- 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 will be using standard criteria for all projects and special criteria for each proposal category.
Criteria for all projects include:
- Clarity—Can we understand from your description and image what this is about and what’s going to happen?
- Urgency—How important is the topic?
- Uniqueness—How does this add something special to a bigger conversation?
- Feasibility—Can this project happen at the museum on our timeline, in our budget?
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.
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 limited materials budgets, but if your proposal is very large, we will ask you to contribute.
We are able to offer parking passes or limited travel stipends to support 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.
Here are a few examples of past project descriptions:
This is a workshop about making your own journals. You’ll come into a room with lots of tables and book-making supplies. I’ll give a presentation about different mindfulness practices related to journaling. I hope people will learn how to bind a book, think about the importance of reflecting and self-care, and feel empowered.
I learned how to lead workshops when I worked as a camp counselor. That’s where I learned about making journals and about self care. I have led two self-care workshops and journal-making at my school.
I want to make an interactive balloon installation about fear and catharsis. During the event, people will write their fears on hundreds of balloons. The balloons will get tied together and form a huge sculpture. At the end of the event, everyone will get together and pop all the balloons. It will make them think about how to take control of and release their fears.
This is the first time I have done anything with balloons, but I have lots of experience talking to people about their emotions. In the teen program I am a part of, we host events and talk with members of the public. Even though I haven’t done art with balloons, I have a lot of experience constructing small sculptures with fabric, so I know about how to develop an 3D artwork and work with different materials.