To Art and Profit

To Art & Profit (TAAP) was first successfully staged March-May 2011 through a partnership between Links Hall and co-curators Abra Johnson and Meida McNeal. Funded in part by awards from 3Arts and the Puffin Foundation, the festival brought together artists, scholars and cultural advocates to envision what collective social action looks like through a more diverse and democratic approach to artistic programming. For more on the previous festival go to the archived website.

Evidenced by recent studies such as Arts & Economic Prosperity IV, artists and their audiences contribute $2.2 bill.ion to our local economy. Artists of all stripes are at the forefront of new urban movements ambitiously cultivating solutions for the present and future growth of wider civic communities through the creation of sustainable urban dwellings and architecture, accessible foods and urban gardening programs, and arts-integrated and independent educational and therapeutic support services.

The next To Art and Profit Festival will take place June 1-30, 2014 at Links Hall and various locations around Chicago. More information will be available soon. Want to get involved in TAAP? Presenters, funders, and volunteers can contact us to learn more about collaborating and supporting the festival. Contact HPP’s Outreach Coordinator, Aisha at

Excerpt from April 2011 weekend:

TAAP June 1-30, 2014:
Community as Canvas

The first three weekends of the month will feature Friday-Saturday mixed programs consisting of live performance accented with a community meal and dialogue. Collaborative artist-led street theatre/site specific public performances will take place on Saturday or Sunday afternoons aligned with neighborhood farmers markets. The final weekend will include all the artists in an exhibition of performances and conversations at Links Hall. The festival will be mobile with community partners hosting performances and community dialogues across the city’s North, West, and South sides. Current community partners include Links Hall, Elastic Arts, South Side Community Arts Center and the Chicago Park District.

To Art & Profit: Community as Canvas will include four components:

1) Featured groups of artists, scholars and creative advocates that host and moderate Community Harvests, a series of community dinner discussions held at our community partners’ venues.

2) Curated pairings of Chicago-based artists across discipline and genre that create performances (20-30 minutes) considering ways to rejuvenate and revitalize urban communities. We will select up to 6 artists per weekend to collaborate in teams of 2-3 per grouping.

3) A culminating community workshop or interactive performance event held at our community partners’ venues. These embodied activities will be used as centerpieces to spark discussion about the relevance and impact of local art in Chicago neighborhoods.

4) A festival website featuring participating artists, cultural advocates, and concerned citizens. The website will extend community dialogue into digital space encouraging people to reflect on the festival’s themes as well as participating artists’ motivations and philosophies of practice.


Survival of the Artist: To Art + Profit Performance Festival
Posted by Tempestt Hazel on Mar 20, 2011

Survival of the Artist: An Interview with Abra Johnson
Posted by Tempestt Hazel on Apr 11, 2011

Weekend Photos: Dayo Laoye and To Art & Profit
Posted by Tempestt Hazel on May 23, 2011

Jess Kaswiner’s “Artists Mean Business” Podcast Episode 3: interview with Abra Johnson and Meida McNeal, Co-Curators for the “To Art and Profit” festival.