bringing moving visual art to the streets


brings moving visual art to the streets. We activate public spaces for community engagement through people-powered sound, story and interaction. By combining modular design and material repurposing, Opera-Matic weaves together the fantastic and familiar in unexpected places, encouraging culture building and neighborhood participation.

How do we do This?

Opera-Matic calls Humboldt Park, Chicago, home. Our public engagements are within walking, singing and hollering distance from our studio at the Kimball Arts Center. We like to create happy moments of connection within our neighborhood, calling attention to each other and the good things we share.

Opera-Matic establishes partnerships within the immediate community. Together we host community events and rehearsals open to the public. These relationships are on-going and long-term. We all become familiar with each other’s processes and build a common experience.

Opera-Matic is comprised of many moving parts , arriving at the following points of convergence :

activation of public space

Opera-Matic helped celebrate and set the tone at the opening of Chicago’s new park, the 606 Bloomingdale Trail. The park cuts through four neighborhoods and is an innovation in shared public space. More about the opening here and here


people powered sound, story, and interactive attractions

Making the story as we go at Association House parade workshop; and learning stories told through song with Conjunto Maniqua, The Sing Song Project, and Ami Sariaya at the lullaby practice in Humboldt Park.

 material repurposing

Heavy-duty cargo bikes are used here as a base for parade floats. The sculptures made with bamboo frames are skinned with remnants of spinnaker material donated by a sail making company.

weaving together the fantastic and familiar in unexpected places

Singing to plants - The Bee Song, The Sacred Fig Tree, The Guiana Chestnut Rap, The Sugar Maker Plant Chant, Slow Goes The Saguaro, The Worm Song and more - new song commissions by local poets and musicians; and an exercise in coordinated effort carrying a giant caterpillar at Garfield Park Conservatory.

hyper-local, community art production

Partnering with the Mozart Elementary School Parent Mentors we celebrated our park and each other through movement and play at Mozart Park.  And working with Arts Communities Engaging Students (ACES) helped to build an after-school music program at McAuliffe Elementary.


Illumination Hour at the 606 Opening:

Opera-Matic and graffiti artists worked together to design parade floats to celebrate the history of writing on the Bloomingdale Wall. Special thanks: Nick Salsa, Stephanie Garland, ABC Flash, Tony Arriola, Anais Machin, and Oscar Arriola.

Opera-Matic convened multiple people-powered processions on the trail during opening day festivities:

Check out our Instagram account by following us @OperaMatic

Thank You!

We would like to thank The Alphawood Foundation, The Chicago Community Trust, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Chicago Parks Department, Brown Family Foundation, and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency for support.

This program partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

This project is partially supported by a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events. 

This project is supported by a Community Arts Assistance Program grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

© 2013 Opera-Matic