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Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

Pivot Arts Festival Returns To Edgewater With COVID-Safe Features, Like Walking ‘Performance Tour’

The performance tour will be similar to being led through an art gallery, except with performing arts instead of paintings.

Artist Antwon Funches in "Utopian Views."
John Zhu
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EDGEWATER — After going all-virtual last year, the Pivot Arts Festival is returning to the neighborhood this month with an event reimagined for the coronavirus age.

Pivot Arts Festival: Reimaging Utopia will take place May 21-June 6 at various locations throughout Edgewater and the surrounding area. Performances will mostly take place in person, but they will be in different formats and settings than in past years of the festival, said Julieanne Ehre, the founder and director of Pivot Arts.

This year’s big coronavirus-safe innovation is a “performance tour,” where festival-goers will be guided through buildings filled with live and virtual performance installations. Organizers said it will be like walking through an art gallery, but with multi-disciplinary performing arts on display.

“This has been such a difficult time for everyone,” Ehre said. “As an arts organization, it is our responsibility to safely bring people back to live performances.”

The performance tour will feature the world premiere of the live show “A Woman’s Armor,” about women who have fought for equal rights. Two live dance performances will take place as part of the tours, and there will be three video installations.

Tours will be capped at 15 guests, and performances will last no longer than 15 minutes to keep people moving, Ehre said. Groups will be led by tour guides spanning three buildings in Edgewater.

Face masks will be required. The tours will be held Thursday-Sunday starting May 21. They’ll run through June 5.

Credit: Milo Mendoza
Maggie Kubley in the video installation “Come Over.”

Other performances as part of the festival will take place in new settings, including the lawns of the historic Colvin House.

Colvin House, 5940 N. Sheridan Road, will host a live performance from The Puppet Wonder Wagon on May 30. KAIA String Quartet will perform two shows there June 6.

Other pre-recorded performances will be screened at Rivendell Theater, 5779 N. Ridge Blvd., and over Zoom.

Tickets to each performance can be bought separately, allowing people to attend events they are comfortable with, Ehre said. For the full lineup of performances and how to buy tickets, click here.

Pivot Arts prides itself on producing innovative theater experiences, often in unexpected spaces. When it came time for last year’s festival, the organization quickly transitioned to an all-virtual format.

This year, the group members worked hard to show live performance can come back safely as Chicago and the rest of the country works its way out of the coronavirus pandemic, Ehre said.

“Pivot Arts, it’s kind of expected we should reinvent the wheel here,” she said. “We’re really committed to building back community and taking baby steps to going to live performances.”

For more on the Pivot Arts Festival, click here.

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