Lofty Goals

When I found my way to the front entrance of the Lacuna Artists Lofts, the gallery was buzzing with an electricity reminiscent of an arcade. But instead of pinball and Pac-Man machines, there were paintings, installations, dancers, and DJs. Neon signs hung from the ceilings emitted the vibe of being in an interior metropolis, and the space was a social multiplex of art in all its forms.

This was “Rise,” hosted by The Numbered Days–A Chicago based event production company that creates parties with a purpose.

So was I in the midst of a new and collectively conscious wave of partying? Marc Uible–the event coordinator of The Numbered Days–explained that he was tired of experiencing the same, monotonous weekend bar and club scenes. He wanted to organize interactive environments where partiers and local artists alike could not only dance and drink, but also display and discuss their multifaceted works of art. “You don’t need to be completely serious to touch on serious issues,” Uible says. “If you bring a bunch of people together, it can lead to something big.”

“Rise” was The Numbered Days’ latest installation in their ongoing project to “Make Nights.” For this event, the first floor of The Lacuna Artists Lofts (a space already decked out by artist-in-residence Hebru Brantley) was transformed into a collaborative exhibition of an eclectic lineup of emerging Chicago artists.

From the makeshift stage in the center of the spacious loft, Gemini Club pumped out electronic sounds, Chicago Dance Crash performed rhythmic routines, and spoken word poets Malcolm London and Aimee Le took hold of the mic as well.

Perhaps the most poignant piece within this synthesis of artistic styles, ideas, and media was Marquis Daisy and Arnez Newton’s “Smile.” Here, amidst all the revelry, was a small and serene video room screening a documentary about violence on the South Side. Uncensored and uncut, the film’s heavy material seemed so out of place with its neighboring atmosphere; yet the experience was powerful. Partygoers were given an opportunity to glimpse into the lives led by many of the black youth within their city, and to become more aware of issues surrounding violence and poverty that our society continues to leave unaddressed.

I was taken aback, but rather taken in. I spoke to arts coordinator and exhibition director Peter Chung to find out more about the visions and aims behind “Rise” and The Numbered Days. “You can’t just do art and not have people connect,” Chung says. Chung met Uible at one of his loft parties, and together they brought The Numbered Days in conversation with the Chicago Art Department, building in turn a diverse community of emerging Chicago-based artists through their events and parties. The Numbered Days donates a portion of their proceeds to Young Chicago Authors, as well as to a number of other businesses and organizations that help to host their events.

This was “Rise”–A different way to party, and a night of many more, because The Numbered Days is making them better.