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Columbia College Chicago
Wabash Arts Corridor

Wabash Arts Corridor

With fourteen amazing proposals in the first year, the Wabash Arts Corridor project was so successful, we’re going to do it again! The Wabash Arts Corridor project is an integral part of Columbia’s long-term strategy to turn our South Loop campus from Congress to Roosevelt into a dynamic arts corridor that reflects the creativity of our students, faculty and staff as well as our ongoing commitment to partnering with local businesses and community. We are once again soliciting proposals to develop this rich tapestry of interdisciplinary ideas including (but not limited to!) image, sounds, film, text, performance and music that will activate the parking garages, blank walls, vacant lots and empty storefronts on Wabash as well as our own campus buildings.

Eligibility: Anyone who is a Columbia College Chicago full or part-time faculty, staff or student during the 2012/13 academic year. Individual, class departmental and school proposals are welcome.  As many of the most successful Wabash Arts Corridor projects were class projects integrated into curriculum and resulting from a semester’s work, we strongly encourage classroom integration and collaboration.

Budget: The Wabash Arts Corridor project has no budget of its own but works to partner classes and individuals working creatively with on and off-campus collaborators who can help them realize their projects. In addition to donations of space from local businesses, successful proposals have also collaborated with Art + Activism:Critical Encounters and been a unique presence at Manifest. 

Locations: Although there are some limitations due to City building and fire codes, many spaces on Wabash between Congress and Roosevelt are possibilities including many local businesses that we continue to develop relationships with. The key is to partner the right creative work with the right location, so a clear description of your project – including photos and/or illustrations – is very useful in presenting it to a prospective local partner.

Deadlines: October 31, 2012.


Current Projects

Papermaker's Garden

The Paprermaker's Garden

The Papermaker’s Garden contributes to both Columbia College Chicago’s green initiative and its academic curriculum. This urban garden will reduce air pollution (because plants filter the air by using excess carbon dioxide to make oxygen), cool the air through evapotranspiration thus cutting energy use, reduce urban runoff, and give students access to natural, sustainably grown fibers for papermaking as well as a chance to interact with the natural world. Plants grown here will produce suitable papermaking fibers and offer collaborative, cross-disciplinary educational opportunities. Students utilizing the fibers will be conscious not only of environmental concerns of fiber production but also of contemporary ideas in conceptual artistic practice—collaboration with science, art, and the environment. Columbia’s students will receive hands-on education about the plants in a practical way and then use that knowledge to fuel artistic practice through papermaking. The garden will also be an alternative art site featuring outdoor sculptures, images, and performances enhancing the visibility of the space, its place within Columbia’s campus and its contribution to the local community.


cacciatore Mural"Chicago Scenes" Mural

At  the northwest corner of Balbo and Wabash Ave., Columbia College Chicago alumnus and Chicago-based artist Nino Rodriguez (B.A. ’05) has transformed a bland parking garage with an abstract mural of Chicago scenes, specially designed for the Columbia College Wabash Arts Corridor project. The mural is a vibrant snapshot of the city of Chicago, including portions depicting the city skyline, CTA trains, sports teams and more. The mural will be unveiled as part of ColumbiaCrawl, Thursday September 6.

Rodriguez graduated from Columbia’s Interactive Arts and Media Department, and has since made a name for himself in Chicago, through outdoor art and Aztec designs in many different media. Rodriguez’s artwork is a joint project between Columbia College and Cacciatore & Company Real Estate, who owns the building that houses the mural. Hear more from Nino about the project in this video.