Sunday Soup Chicago Returns!

April 2nd, 2012

Hello friends,Between 2007 and 2009, InCUBATE ran a meal-based micro-grant called Sunday Soup out of our shared storefront space in Logan Square. Over the past few years, an incredible worldwide network of organizers have taken the basic premise of Sunday Soup—collect grant proposals, cook a meal, invite people to pay and eat, and have the diners democratically allocate the meal’s profits—and adapted it to their own local purposes. Sister projects have now taken place in over 60 cities around the world. More about the global network can be found at’s time to bring Sunday Soup back to Chicago from its two year hiatus. This new iteration of Sunday Soup is organized by InCUBATERoots & Culture, and others in the Chicago art community. For each meal, head chef Eric May and friends will prepare a seasonal soup and accompanying dishes using local ingredients. The all-diet friendly, family-style meal will be $15 per person, with all the money minus food costs going to form the grant. Each diner will receive one vote and a hand-made menu and pamphlet describing with all of the grant proposals. We’ll count the votes at the meal and announce the winner over dessert.

While Sunday Soup is about raising much-needed cash, we hope that it will also be a forum to discuss and share the many other needs and resources that help make projects happen. We’re really excited to reanimate Sunday Soup and look forward to seeing you at the table.


For each event, the organizers of Sunday Soup choose five projects to put to the vote. We’re interested in funding all kinds of cultural projects from community arts, to organizing from all disciplines, to grassroots efforts. We’ll be choosing projects that represent a diversity of approaches, mediums, and creative communities. Projects with limited funding options elsewhere are particularly interesting to us. Anyone from the Chicagoland area is welcome to apply. You do not have to be present at the meal to submit an application. However, the grant winner of each cycle will be invited to return at a future Sunday Soup to present their project. Your submitted proposal will be made available to each diner in the form of a printed pamphlet.

Applications are due at 12:01AM, Saturday, April 21st. Visit to apply.

Save the Date!

Sunday, May 6th
at Roots & Culture
1034 N Milwaukee Ave

We’ll be sending you a more detailed update about the meal in a couple weeks. Tickets will be available for pre-sale at that time.




International Day of Soup Documentation

April 2nd, 2012

October 1, 2011
Organized by the Sunday Soup/Micro-grant international network
Supported by Creative Time

Start your own Sunday Soup, Designed by FEAST MASS


Planning session at FEAST Brooklyn's regular spot Church of the Messiah in Greenpoint


Cooking dinner with FEAST Brooklyn, FEAST MASS, and Philly Stake


International Soup Network serves dinner at Creative Time Living as Form exhibition


Diners at the International Soup Dinner

And the winner!

Untitled from International Day of Soup on Vimeo.
All the other videos here




What Do Artists Know? The Art/Life Syllabus

April 25th, 2011

In looking forward to this year’s Open Engagement conference, we wanted to share our response from participating last year which also prompted us to write our own syllabus for a fantasy class on “Social Practice” art. We’ve participated in a lot of conversations where people tear their hair out trying to figure out where social practice begins and ends. As a group, we have certain texts that we pass around to each other or art practices that we get excited about. We wanted to share our own loose and ever-evolving take on what makes this kind of art practice interesting for us.

Defining the actual parameters of “social practice art” seems to be a red herring. Sometimes a dinner party should just be a dinner party, sometimes calling a dinner party an art project makes it a richer experience for the individuals participating. Social practice art doesn’t necessarily create more democratic exchange between art and audiences, often times it creates hierarchical distinctions between artists in art school and ordinary people with creative hobbies and interests that don’t have anything to do with an art career. But while it continues to be problematic territory, the larger anxiety it brings up is pretty interesting. How are artists defining the communities their work operates in, especially when traditional contexts such as commercial galleries, museums, and non-profits aren’t the intended landing pad? If one’s work is about engaging publics supposedly outside the artworld and eschewing art-speak when it comes to creative expression, who cares if it’s called art other than social practice artists? The issue then becomes not how to judge social practice within the confines of other art disciplines, but rather how the value of that work is being defined and by who. If social practice offers us anything, it openly asks not what kind of artist one wants to be but what kind of person one wants to be and how one wants their work to operate in the world.

This article was published in the most recent issue of Proximity Magazine, called “Education as Art.” It was an incredibly exciting issue, we hope you check out the rest of the contributions and buy a copy at your local bookstore. And please use this syllabus and let us know what you think.

Download the pdf here: InCUBATE- What do Artists Know (for the fancier layout with pictures, you’ll have to buy the magazine).

InCUBATE's trivia night with host Randall Szott at Open Engagement 2010

InCUBATE's Romantic-comedy picture identification round at trivia night

The winning team

The World’s Largest Collection of the World’s Smallest Versions of the World’s Largest Things

April 25th, 2011

The 2010-2011 season of Public Culture just wrapped up last week with a lecture by artist Katie Hargrave. We wanted to share some pictures of another great talk, from Erika Nelson and her traveling roadside museum (also known as WLCoWSVoWL). It was the only time that Joseph Kosuth and The Big Duck in Flanders, New York, made perfect sense in a lecture together. Join us for the 2011-2012 series, announcement on speakers coming soon.

Community-Supported Art Chicago

April 2nd, 2011

Abby from InCUBATE just launched this program at threewalls, drawing from like-minded projects like Alula Editions, The Present Group, Community Supported Art Minneapolis, and The Thing Quarterly and inspired by the community-based funding initiatives in the Sunday Soup network.

More information is here

And coverage in the Chicago Reader here and Chicago Artists Resource here

Help us fund Phonebook 3!

February 19th, 2011

InCUBATE is working with threewalls to produce Phonebook 3, a directory of independent art projects and spaces. It’s coming out in October 2011, and we need support for printing costs and paying writers and our layout/design team. It’s going to be a great book and will help connect organizers and artists across the nation to collaborate and build new projects. And…you can essentially pre-order your book right here and now by contributing to our Kickstarter! Show some love!

Public Culture Lecture series Spring Schedule

February 4th, 2011

Join us for these upcoming Public Culture lectures at threewalls, located at 119 n. peoria #2c chicago, IL 60607:

Spring 2011 (all programs are at 7 pm, unless otherwise noted):
Tuesday, January 25: Penelope Bingham, Who Cooks? American Cookbooks and Changes in Gender Roles
Tuesday, February 15: Chad Elias, How to Do Things With Words in Public Space
Thursday, March 24: Sara Daleiden, Los Angeles Urban Rangers
Saturday, April 9: Erika Nelson, The Worlds Largest Collection of the Worlds Smallest Versions of the Worlds Largest Things
Tuesday, April 19: Katie Hargrave

Penelope Bingham lecture (1/25/11)

Upcoming Public Culture Lecture: “Who Cooks?” with Penelope Bingham

January 7th, 2011

Please join us for the next Public Culture lecture. This month, Penelope Bingham will present “Who Cooks? American Cookbooks and Changes in Gender Roles”

Tuesday, January 25th
119 N Peoria St #2C

“American cookbooks—their authors, their implied audience, the social structure implicit in their recipes and meal plans—tell the story of the changes in the role of women and social structure in 20th century America. The cookbook is much more than a ‘how-to’ manual; it documents the expectations for ‘good food’ and for a ‘good cook.’ Looking at the century’s most popular cookbooks brings to light its changing values. This program invites the audience to think about the links between who cooks our food and how our society is structured.”

Bingham will be bringing a number of vintage cookbooks from her epic collection to share.

About Bingham:
Following lifelong passions for books and for cooking, Penelope Bingham began accumulating cookbooks over 40 years ago. Her personal collection of cookbooks now exceeds 2,000 volumes. She is particularly interested in the stories American cookbooks of the last two centuries tell about American culture and identity. She has given programs on American Cookbooks and Culture to libraries and cultural organizations throughout Illinois as a Road Scholar for the Illinois Humanities Council, as well as in conjunction with the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibition, “Key Ingredients: America By Food”. She has also addressed the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the Culinary Historians of Chicago, The Wednesday Club of the Newberry Library of Chicago, the Cookware Manufacturers Association, and home economists of Kraft Foods. Her work with American Cookbooks and Culture was recently featured in Chicago Magazine and on WBBM/TV’s “Table For Two”. Since 1990, she has been the volunteer “Cookbook Lady” for the Annual Book Fair of the Newberry Library of Chicago, preparing for sale the thousands of vintage cookbooks that are donated each year. Penelope holds degrees from Wellesley College and the University of Chicago. She is a member of the Culinary Historians of Chicago and the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

The Public Culture Lecture Series, co-organized by Randall Szott and InCUBATE, seeks to highlight examinations and enactments of public culture. Rather than following a preformed idea of what public culture actually is, the lecture series treats it as an open question and invites attendees to explore the question with us. A variety of people and practices will be drawn on to present the ways that the notion of “the public” emerges in their work and/or informs it.

Scapegoat Journal!

December 16th, 2010

Our former InCUBATE resident and collaborator Adam Bobbette is part of a new journal out of Toronto called Scapegoat, it looks great.

Architecture | Landscape | Political economy
Issue 00: Property
is now available for download on line at:

Editorial excerpt from Issue 00:

SCAPEGOAT is a new journal of architecture, landscape and political economy. It examines the relationship between capitalism and the built environment, confronting the coercive and violent organization of space, the exploitation of labour and resources, and the unequal distribution of environmental risks and benefits. Issue 00 focuses on Property, because it is the literal foundation for all spatial design practices. Architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design each begin with a space that is already drawn, organized, and formed by the concrete abstraction of the property lines. From our perspective, property stands as the most fundamental, yet underestimated, point of intersection between architecture, landscape architecture, and political economy. What is a “site” except a piece of property? What are architecture and landscape architecture but subtle and consistent attempts to express determined property relations as open aesthetic possibilities? How can these practices facilitate other forms of relation?


December 16th, 2010

George Wietor of Sunday Soup Grand Rapids designed a site to bring together all the food micro-granting projects out there. Add your profile if you run your own program, look for granting projects in your area, and see what kinds of projects are getting funded. Feedback much appreciated!