2021 Update: Bit Bash + VGA Gallery Partnership


It has been an extremely long year for us at Bit Bash. The ongoing pandemic forced us to cancel our plans for the 2020 festival, affected our entire community of independent game developers, and resulted in drastic changes to our personal lives. All through this, we have been working to figure out how Bit Bash can continue once it is safe to do so, as well as figure out how we can work to support the other organizations and developers within the city. Bit Bash has always had a mission to support local nonprofits, and we’ve always had a goal of utilizing our funds to support organizations with aligned missions.

The Chicago Foundation of the Interactive Arts has been Bit Bash’s fiscal sponsor for the last several years and recently wound down their operations. As we began to contemplate and discuss what would be best for the future of Bit Bash, coincidentally our friends at VGA Gallery had also been discussing how to best move forward as an organization in a world where having a physical gallery space was no longer possible.   

So, after a long period of discussion, legal work, and planning, we are happy to announce that Bit Bash is partnering with VGA Gallery as our fiscal sponsor! VGA has been involved in Bit Bash since the very first year, whether it was selling prints, judging our risograph competition, curating glitch art, or generously lending us their hardware, and we are absolutely thrilled that both of our organizations can come together to support our mutual goals of supporting independent artists, highlighting unique, collaborative, and culturally important games, and promoting interactive art and indie games throughout Chicago.

If you’re not familiar with VGA Gallery, we highly recommend checking out some of their other programs. They publish a monthly zine, appropriately called VGA Zine, which is full of interesting articles and insights from game developers, academics, and players, as well as put on a monthly show called VGA Fireside, which brings on video game creatives in order to talk about their games, their personal influences, and the whole game industry. And that’s not to mention their print collection where you can find amazing artwork from some beloved indie games (featuring some previous Bit Bash selections!), as well as the VGA Reader, an honest-to-god academic journal about video game art and culture. If you dig what they do, head over to vgagallery.org and sign up for their mailing list so you can keep up to date with everything that’s going on at our new daddy org.

For us, this partnership means we can continue to have stability and creative independence, reduce all those boring behind-the-scenes overhead costs for Bit Bash, and share resources and equipment between organizations. For you, this means that we can continue to have awesome Bit Bash events (as soon as it is safe to do so), experience new projects in collaboration with VGA, and know your participation is going to support an amazing cause!

Now that all this legal process is behind us, we’re excited to regroup and begin work on brand new Bit Bash events. Certainly, some things may be different; nonprofit organizations, art spaces, and event venues were severely affected by this past year, and we all will continue to see the lasting effects in the years moving forward. But we’re coming back with our cool hip new parents at VGA Gallery to bring you the immersive, uplifting, and experimental game festivals you love.

See ya soon,

The Bit Bash Chicago Committee