Hot Wheelz Festival is a virtual live arts platform that was founded in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. We set out to burn rubber, speed up, slow down, dodge cones and redefine acceleration. 


The platform is an annual residency for curators who are looking to explore liveness in virtual programming while loosely addressing the question, “How do we keep moving?” Each residency includes a webpage takeover as well as engagements across our different social media channels. Hot Wheelz Festival believes live work hinges on the present experience of the audience, whether that’s watching a live stream, limited engagements with prerecorded work, virtual reality, or an ever-changing webpage. Through these varying responses a “roadmap” is being created on our archive page that represents a coalition of diverse live work in Chicago.

2021 Application FAQs: 

What is the application deadline?
April 30, 2021

What does a residency look like?
Each resident works with Hot Wheelz Festival to curate and develop a week (Mon-Fri) of live programming. Production offers a series of studio visits, a custom page on our website to host your programming, PR outreach, marketing through our social media channels, and logistical support.

How many residents will be accepted for 2021?

Who should apply?
Anyone from Chicago who’s interested in curating virtual live programming. For example, you could be a collective, space, or an individual curator. While we ask that the applicant is from Chicago, you are more than welcome to curate artists from other locations.

Are residents compensated?
Yes! We offer a modest stipend of $300 to each resident. We aren’t currently receiving outside funding, so these payments, including the website production fees, are coming directly out of pocket from the Hot Wheelz Festival producers. 

What is the timeline of the residency?
We start studio visits in May and the programming lineup will be July through early August.

Apply here.

Who we are: 

Co-creators Jill Perez and Lauren Steinberg are young art professionals whose work focuses on performance, programming and community engagement. Lauren and Jill decided to launch this online platform to break out of institutional rigidity and provide space during a time of live arts crisis. They hope that Hot Wheelz Festival can be used by the Chicago art community to continue to connect with each other and show new work.

(Neither Jill nor Lauren own a car or particularly enjoy driving)


Contact Us: 

Any questions? Reach out to us at!

Illustrated Hot Wheelz Festival logo, graphics, and text
by Haele Wolfe.