Publish Date
Call for Night Out in the Parks Proposals.
Call for Night Out in the Parks Proposals.
Photo: Chicago Park District

Online submissions for Night Out in the Parks accepted through December 11, 2020 and for Chicago Onscreen Film Showcase through December 6, 2020

Calling all local arts performers and community organizations, the Chicago Park District is looking to partner with Chicago-based organizations and talented individual artists to be a part of the 9th edition of the Mayor’s Night Out in the Parks cultural and arts programming event series. Applicants should apply at The 2021 Night Out in the Parks season will run from May 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021.

This year, in response to COVID-19 public health recommendations, Night Out in the Parks transformed into Your Night Out at Home, a cultural experience that invited Chicagoans to engage the arts on a virtual platform in their own homes and backyards. More than 70 cultural organizations and artists from all disciplines participated in the modified version of the annual event series. These performances and activities are available to watch virtually, on-demand at

“Night Out in the Parks has enlivened our neighborhood parks and spotlighted our diverse, home-grown talent for eight vibrant seasons,” said General Superintendent and CEO Michael P. Kelly. “Next year may look a little different, but in all its iterations, this initiative remains steadfast in its mission to support our talented artist communities and serve as a vital platform to elevate the arts and the curatorial efforts of our cultural partners citywide.”

Night Out in the Parks continues to build on its tenants to support artists, facilitate community-based partnerships and programs, cultivate civic engagement, and ensure equity in access to the arts for all Chicagoans by providing opportunities to support Chicago’s diverse arts community. Through both virtual and in-person events, Night Out in the Parks seeks to celebrate Chicago’s vibrant culture while keeping artists and audiences safe.

Projects have varied from traditional musical performances to hands-on workshops, nature-based programs, interactive dance and more. Still, there is always a place for new and creative concepts in Night Out in the Parks, while adhering to state, local and federal COVID-19 safety protocols. Proposals for live performance with an audience will be accepted with the following guidelines in place:

    • Adherence to state, local and federal COVID-19 safety guidelines
    • Active Audience Management Strategy
    • Mandatory COVID-19 Safety Training

The Night Out in the Parks initiative will support the “Year of Chicago Music” campaign by seeking out performance opportunities for artists featuring music. In addition to music, the Chicago Park District is spotlighting For the Love of Nature and Queering the Parks, a youth-centered committee of stakeholders that will work in conjunction with Night Out in the Parks collaborators to craft all-inclusive performances.  Experiential, walk-through, installation-based and drive-in performances will also be considered in 2021.

In addition, Night in the Parks is accepting submissions for the 8th season of the local film festival, Chicago Onscreen. Entries must be submitted by Sunday, December 6, 2020 to Filmmakers of all ages, skill level and professional experience are encouraged to submit work to be considered for the locally-made and Chicago-focused films. Selected films will be screened in safely-distanced outdoor screenings in local parks, August 30th to September 4th, 2021, as well as featured in a three-week virtual film festival in September at

Over seven seasons, Chicago Onscreen has screened nearly 100 local films in dozens of parks for thousands of audience members across the city – bringing Chicago’s hometown talent face to face with movie lovers in every neighborhood. All selected films will receive an honorarium up to $500 in addition to the public screenings and online virtual film festival screenings. This year’s nineteen official selections featured twenty filmmakers from all corners of the city. Their unique styles, visions and viewpoints on Chicago’s current moment, cultural history and dynamic population were showcased during drive-ins, neighborhood screenings and virtual showcases.

The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is a proud partner and a primary funder of this year-round, city-wide initiative.

To be eligible to participate in the free, city-wide event series, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a Chicago-based organization or artist (residency within the city of Chicago);
  • Offer the program for free to the community;
  • Must be flexible in terms of location, scheduling and amenities. Due to COVID-19 guidelines, there may be a need to reschedule events;
  • Must commit to a community relationship with your park partners for the duration of the season;
  • Organizations must have $1 million general liability insurance naming the Chicago Park District an additional insured for all events;
  • Have the ability to travel to and from a scheduled park with all equipment, performers and staff.
  • NOITP events where artists have physical interactions with the general public are subject to fingerprint clearance/background check.
  • If selected, you must confirm a performance schedule by mid-March, 2019;
  • All performances, rehearsals, and preparations for your event must follow COVID-19 local, state and federal guidelines.

Non-profit status is not a requirement for interested participants. Eligible neighborhood arts organizations and artists can apply at All proposals are due by midnight, Friday, December 11, 2020.  

Artists, designers, and cultural producers in Chicago, active at the neighborhood or city-wide scale, are invited to participate in the City of Chicago’s Cultural Asset Mapping Project (C.A.M.P.). This initiative led by the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and the League of Chicago Theatres with additional support from Enrich Chicago, aims to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the performing arts and cultural organizations that offer programming in the South Side and West Side of Chicago. Find more information about this initiative at




Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks

In 2013, the Chicago Park District (CPD), with support from the City of Chicago and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), launched a summer series of over 750 cultural events and programs in over 230 parks citywide entitled Night Out in the Parks (NOITP). Over the past seven years, NOITP expanded to over 2,000 cultural events across Chicago year-round. Projects have varied from traditional performances and concerts, to peace rallies, community workshops, nature-based programs, dance performances, festivals, visual arts, and more.