The Next Evolution of The Arts | AWE Nite Chicago

10/04/2023 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm CST

3 hours

Event Start Date:
October 4, 2023
Event End Date:
October 4, 2023
Event Venue:
2112 Chicago: 4245 N Knox Ave

Immersive technology is revolutionizing the arts by opening up boundless creative possibilities. They can seamlessly blend the digital and physical worlds for a whole new look at the term blank canvas. Visual artists are crafting digital pieces that transcend three dimensions. Theater directors are transporting audiences into new realms. Musicians are immersing listeners in interactive soundscapes. These technologies enable artists to transcend traditional boundaries and the result is a redefinition of artistic expression, captivating audiences and pushing the frontiers of creativity. Yet, this transformative power also brings crucial ethical and legal questions surrounding intellectual property rights, urging the arts to navigate uncharted territory in a rapidly evolving landscape.


The bridge between art and technology is often a divided one. With AI mimicking people’s styles from images to writing to likenesses in films, today we possess a great opportunity to discuss the feelings and expectations we have when it comes to technology’s influences on the creation of artwork. Art is forever changing due to technology including augmented reality and virtual reality and beyond. 


VRAR Chicago and The Next Evolution | AWE Nite Chicago are committed to educating and sharing information about technologies so no one is left behind during The Next Evolution through Immersive and other emerging technologies. Join us October 4th to explore the incredible potential of immersive technology’s impact on The Arts while unraveling the complex ethical and legal threads that underpin this journey.

Physical & Virtual Venues: 

2112 Chicago | 4245 N Knox Ave

Virbela | Virtual Environment |

For our Virtual Venue, we will be using Virbela‘s Open Campus to host the program. We suggest that you download, set-up, get familiar with the Virbela program and environment prior to the program, as we will be unable to provide support during the event.

The virtual environment resembles a physical space, so you will be able to talk with other attendees during open networking both before and after the presentations. The sound is spatialized, so if at any point it feels too loud, feel free to move your conversation to another part of the room where there are less people.

Live Stream |

People can join by watching the scheduled live stream where we will field questions from!

Presented by: 

Register for this event by clicking below:

What’s the Format:

We begin with informal networking and then start the stage portion promptly at 6:15pm CDT. There will be a handful of presentations before we move on to answer audience questions and then finish with more networking. We keep it simple and informal – this program is about you, our members, and not the host or presenters. Come and get your questions answered, take your next step into immersive technology.

We will be serving the Revolution (Beer), cold!

  • 5:30-6:00 PM Technology Demonstrations & Networking
  • 6:15-6:30 PM Introductions & Welcome Message
  • 6:30-7:10 PM Panelist Presentations
  • 7:10-7:45 PM Panel Discussion with Q&A
  • 7:45-8:30 PM More Networking & Technology Demo


Matthew Wren will be moderating the discussion in person. Matt is the CTO for BUNDLAR and founder of The Next Evolution event series and VRAR Chicago.

Caroline Dennis will be hosting the virtual portion in Virbela. Caroline is an entrepreneur, startup advisor, and advocate from and XRWomen.

JC Rivera is a US-based Puerto Rican Contemporary artist who has spent the last decade creating one of the most uplifting and iconic street art brands in the world. JC’s work leverages relatable characters including ‘The Bear Champ’ to bring hope and inspiration to communities across the globe.  He is the most prolific street artist in Chicago with more commissioned murals than any other urban artist in the city. While JC Rivera is best known for his fine art and street art, he brings innovation to his art leveraging blockchain, NFTs and other digital technologies.

Charlie Athanas’ first computer animations (Wraparound) were in a 1983 SIGGRAPH exhibition at Japan’s Isetan Museum of Art. His 1985 CGI music video, Ralph the Punk, won awards in both CG and film festivals, which led to Athanas drawing the first computer-generated comic book, Shatter, for First Comics. Following his work as the sole animator on one of the first true simulation games (John Madden Football II), he co-designed, animated, and did sound design and UI on the global political simulations, Shadow President (1993 CES Innovation Award) and CyberJudas. In 2008, he co-founded the horror live theatre company, WildClaw Theatre. He has also been a Creative Director for a laser animation firm (Laser City Studios), a soundtrack composer, played in multiple bands, done set designer for indie films and theatre, designed and managed a live event venue, an illustrator, co-director on a digital immersive project for U2, and consultant at Paul Allen’s think tank, Interval Research Corporation. Athanas recently co-directed and animated the “Love is a Battlefield” music video for The Joy Thieves.

During the day Athanas consults on digital projects for enterprise companies with EX3 Labs. He is currently developing a VR project called Dark Park with award-winning author, Kathe Koja.

Juliana Loh is a creative XR designer working hard to change the world by bringing imagination, play and creativity to the forefront. Drawn to global perspectives, she identifies with the storytellers, visionaries and game changers in a world in need of hope, vision and positive transformation.  With a background in branding, art direction and training in addition to her knowledge of XR, Juliana works in experience design clarifying how we might navigate through future spaces. She has been recognized or featured in over 8 different immersive film festivals and is happy to share her story.

Chris Nunes is a former entertainment attorney in Hollywood, representing musicians, filmmakers & artists. Chris left the law to work in AR when he and his family moved back to San Francisco from LA, and through AR digital art, discovered blockchain in 2015 and NFTs in 2019. Chris is now working to revolutionize the music fan experience and music economics in general, in anticipation of the next generation of AR hardware – glasses.