The Great Chicago Fire Festival

Redmoon Theater

Funding Received: 2013
Chicago, IL
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
November 19, 2013

Currently, our offices are strewn with annotated maps of Chicago, a reflection of our thought process as we get closer to deciding what neighborhoods we are going to be working with for the Great Chicago Fire Festival. A huge part of that process and our efforts has been the creation of a Request for Proposals (RFP) for Community-Based Organizations that want to get involved with the GCFF.

This month I’ve spent a lot of time crafting our RFP and talking to different arts organizations across the nation to figure out how to strategically disperse our RFP. A huge reason for doing a RFP process for the Great Chicago Fire Festival was to try and expand our networks as far and wide as possible. In order to truly be a citywide event, we want to build on our existing networks

We are opening our Request for Proposals on November 19th and closing on December 19th.   In exchange for free arts programming offered by Redmoon we ask that Community-Based Organizations bring their networks of community members to our events leading up to the Great Chicago Fire Festival.

Examples of our free arts programming include events like a “Pop-Up Tour”—a dynamic and personalized tour of their neighborhood in which the community members will use their own personal stories of growing up in the neighborhood to discuss its character. Local artists identified and trained by Redmoon will work closely with community members to perform their stories, develop their storytelling skills, and fashion a coherent narrative of all the different stories of the community members.

Download our RFP here. If you know of any Community-Based Organizations in Chicago that you think would be a great fit for this, please forward them our information!

Recent Wins
The month of October was a busy time for us, moving forward on the Great Chicago Fire Festival, throwing a HUGE Halloween party called “BoneShaker,” and then a weekend full of activities and games for children during “Skelebration.” In true Redmoon style, our warehouse was completely packed full of people enjoying crazy spectacle. We had around 2,500 people with us during Halloween weekend!

Additionally, we were able to move forward in strengthening our infrastructure for the Great Chicago Fire Festival, and acquiring a partnership with a marketing firm called DIGITAS that has agreed to work with us on the Great Chicago Fire Festival. We could not be more excited about this partnership!

As we’ve furthered developed our community outreach, both with the RFP as well as working with our partners to develop our arts programming for the spring, we’ve been thinking a lot about what authentic community engagement really means. How do you involve community members in the process of a citywide festival in a genuine way that respects their individual opinions and reflects their voices?