Creative Quarantine: Event Producer Allison Gerlach

Sundays On State | Photo Credit: ©Allison Gerlach

Allison Gerlach sat down with Esthetic Lens recently and spoke about all that she has been working on. While the world is still negotiating how to gather together again, she has been busy organizing Sundays on State, starting this weekend, managing her shop, Burgoo Chicago in the Rogers Park neighborhood, and is producing the Arts In The Dark Halloween Parade to name just a few things…

1.How are you holding up?

Well, it has definitely been an exciting sixteen months. I find that my most productive hours are from 5am – 3pm and that I am usually in my pajamas by 8pm.


Pandammit T-Shirt Design by Jennie Kay, Printed by Steve Walters | Photo Credit ©Allison Gerlach


2. Has Covid-19 had an effect on your work? If so, in what way?

I have been fortunate in that I feel like I have been working more since all this happened than before, especially now that things are starting to open up. I am producing the Arts in the Dark Halloween parade for the seventh year, a new art/street festival this summer downtown called Sundays on State for the Chicago Loop Alliance as well as helping Kalapriya with a Journey Through South Asia summer camp for elementary kids and weekends we have our storefront to manage. 


Arts In The Dark Poster | Illustration of Animals by ©Alexandria Pataky, Poster Designed and Printed by ©Steve Walters


3. What are some of the unexpected creative things or projects that have developed for you while navigating the current state of the world?

My partner, Steve Walters, and I opened up a little local art/gift shop in Rogers Park called Burgoo Chicago over the holidays, thinking it would just be a pop-up, we have now painted the exterior and signed a 3-year lease. I would like for this space to become more of a co-op with other artists so it can become more of a gallery; It has a lot of potential!

The response for Sundays on State has been exciting because artists really are ready to come together and create a community-building experience. We are ready. People can still apply to participate with performance, art, or a booth and I would love for people to join us.


Burgoo Chicago Exterior | ©Allison Gerlach

4. Who do you wish were still with us to provide pointed commentary on what we are collectively experiencing and why?

I guess Maya Angelou because she always moved people and inspired them to be better people. She said that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. This time period has really challenged the world and brought out the best and worst in everyone. Maya would tell us to stand up straight, have courage and astonish a mean world with our acts of kindness.


Sholo Painting Burgoo Chicago | Photo Credit: ©Allison Gerlach

5. What artists, performers, writers, have you come across recently that have created poignant work about where we are at right now?

Let’s see. Sholo Beverly just painted the exterior of Burgoo Chicago with red and white gingham and it looks amazing.1736 West Greenleaf Avenue

I got the new Steve Earle LP, JT and it is really beautiful and sad. 

I rarely have time to read, but I just was on the beach and devoured Daisy Jones & The Six, which made me miss rock concerts badly.


Burgoo Interior | Photo Credit: ©Allison Gerlach


6. What are you looking forward to?

Rock concerts, long dog walks with Jojo, ripe homegrown tomatoes, and a peaceful summer by our great lake.


Allison Gerlach, Self-Portrait with Jojo | ©Allison Gerlach

Allison Gerlach is a Kentuckian turned Chicagoan. She is a senior event producer and connector that excels at creative collaboration and executing interactive and spectacle events for 100 to 100,000 attendees.

She is a co-owner local art gallery and gift shop in Rogers Park, Burgoo Chicago.

You can find Allison on Instgram and Facebook.