HOW IT ALL HAPPENED

PETER KEPHA + LAUREN M. PACHECO

CHICAGO URBAN ART SOCIETY  and LOWRIDER FEST  CO-FOUNDERS

In 2010, Peter Kepha had begun talking about organizing a gathering of Lowrider Car and Bike Clubs in the parking lot behind the former Chicago Urban Art Society (CUAS) located in the middle of the Cermak Road Industrial Corridor at Halsted Street. Carlos 'Dzine' Rolon, in 2008, had produced an exhibition featuring functional Lowrider bikes as sculptural objects in a solo exhibition at the Deitch Gallery. Peter Kepha was able to view some of these pieces in Dzine's Pilsen studio.  Through a conversation of shared respect and admiration for fabricators and artistic expression, Dzine connected Peter with a car show organizer named Jorge Ortega.  Soon after, Peter and CUAS co-founding partner, Lauren M. Pacheco, began organizing the first Slow&Low: Community Lowrider Festival on a limited budget. There, they met Edward 'Magic' Calderon, a photographer who specialized in Lowrider community documentation for reputable culture magazines.  

Festival Organizers: Lauren, Peter Kepha, Magic

Chapters 1 through 5 have been produced by a series of grassroots fundraising approaches. Each year, growing in attendees from 400 year one to over 4,500, participating car and bike clubs or independent owners resulting in over 300 cars being showcased on the streets of Pilsen.  

The festival hopes to be an inclusive environment for both families and children. Our event is child and, dog friendly.  Bring the whole familia!

The huge success of Chapters 1-5 could not have been done without the support of both the Paul Ozinga from Ozinga Ready Mix, Javier Jugo from Citywide Security and, Juan Gaytan from Monterrey Security, LaLey 107.9, Alderman Daniel Solis, Redmoon Theatre, WBEZ.com, Vocalo.org, Redeye, Commissioner Michelle Boone, and others.   

The Chicago Urban Art Society (CUAS) formed the Chicago Lowrider Preservation Fund focused on maintaining a festival legacy showcasing the art and mechanics of the Lowrider Culture and Community.  

FESTIVAL VISION + MISSION

The Chicago Urban Art Society (CUAS), a Pilsen-based not-for-profit exhibition and creative-use space presents a community festival celebrating art and culture of Lowriders in Chicago.  Living not only in magazines and print, this thriving community and sub-culture is very much alive right here in the Midwest.  Master craftsmen, innovative mechanics, custom pin stripers and muralists contribute to the overall visual aesthetics of Lowrider culture and community.

Proceeds from this event go to Chicago Urban Art Society and the Chicago Lowrider Preservation Fund established by the Chicago Urban Art Society (CUAS).  This fund supports the ongoing planning and production of Chicago's only Lowrider Festival.  Further, funds raised also support arts programming at the Chicago Urban Art Society located on the southwest side community of McKinley Park. 

WHAT WE'VE ACHIEVED

  • Festival has grown from 50 cars to over 200!

  • Attendees grew from 300 to over 4,000!

  • Family friendly entertainment and activities!

  • Curated exhibition featuring historical memorabilia, car club banners and automobile parts and bicycles. 

  • Performances by local talent including folkloric presentations. 

  • Two city block festivals located in the Pilsen community.