Get Ready for Manifest Arts Festival 2024, a Student-Powered Event

students walk down the street during manifest 2023
This is everything attendees need to know before Columbia College Chicago’s Manifest Arts Festival: Breakthrough 2024.


The Columbia College Chicago community is counting down the days until Manifest Breakthrough, the 2024 Manifest Arts Festival on May 10. This is the 23rd annual Manifest Arts Festival, which is a student-powered event, beloved campus tradition.
This year’s festival theme – Breakthrough — students and attendees to Breakthrough adversity with their voices and with their art. Before planning a trip to Manifest, make sure to keep these highlights and tips in mind to make the most of the South Loop experience.

A Sneak Peek

There’s no substitute for experiencing Manifest in person, but the festival's trailer gives a sneak peek at the tremendous energy Columbia students bring to the event. Watch the Manifest Breakthrough trailer to get a peek at what’s to come this year.

Manifest 2024 Trailer (Full Version) from Columbia Student Activities on Vimeo.

Planning a Visit

Manifest Breakthrough welcomes visitors from the campus community and outside visitors. Attendance is free, and all visitors will need to register and will receive a wristband that will allow them access to the entire festival. When guests arrive they will need to show proof of registration and ID to be issued a wristband.

This year there are three check-in points where wristbands can be secured. Exceptions can be made at security’s discretion for those with mobility needs.

Check-in Locations:

  • 623 S Wabash Ave
  • 754 S Wabash Ave (Student Center)
  • 1104 S Wabash Ave

Guests can register in advance using the Manifest website or by downloading the app.

Please note: wristbands will not be available at the exterior lots, but guests will be expected to have one to enter. If a wristband is misplaced, guests can show their registration at any check-in station to get a replacement.

Who’s at Center Stage

The Manifest music video is a celebration of the talent in the Columbia community. A song contest is held among students, and the winner provides the soundtrack to that year’s festival. They perform their winning song at the beginning of the festival on the Mainstage, and then it’s used for the iconic Manifest music video.

The winner of this year’s contest is Danielle Crim, a graduating senior in Music with a concentration in Contemporary, Urban, and Popular Music. Danielle is an electro-pop singer/songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist well-versed in voice, piano, violin, and ukulele.

The Biggest Mouth competition put on by the Student Programming Board determines the opener for the Manifest headliner. Winner Nicole Nicolalde and her band will perform on the Manifest Mainstage at 6 p.m.

Ending the day at Manifest will be this year’s Mainstage headliner and Chicago native Ric Wilson. Wilson is known for his energetic performances and impactful lyrics. Previous acts include Chance the Rapper, Ella Mai, Dreamer Isioma, and Lupe Fiasco.

Exhibits to Watch

Every year there is so much to look forward to at Manifest.

This year, look out for faculty and students as they present iron and aluminum metal pouring where students and faculty will use liquified metals and molds to create art in real time. Students across different majors put on an unforgettable fashion show at Made @ Columbia, complete with original designs and behind-the-scenes footage. ManiFresh offers an immersive hip-hop experience with pop ups and performances.

The graduate students will hold their thesis exhibitions leading up to Manifest Friday.

The 2024 MFA Thesis Exhibition presents the thesis project by MFA candidates in Columbia College Chicago’s Art I Design and Photography Departments. The exhibition, which includes paintings, prints, drawings, photography, sound, and installation, captures the extensive research, exploration, critical analysis, creative inquiry, productivity, practice, and achievement these emerging artists have maintained throughout their time in the programs.

Visitors can’t miss with any of the Manifest events, including dance, theatre, film screenings, and video game demonstrations. c

To plan a visit, peruse the Manifest map and register to see the schedule to make the most of the day.

Meet the Team

Student work is at the very core of Manifest. All the events and exhibits are a celebration of their work, but the organization and execution of the festival also heavily relies on student work.

Four students are on this year’s Manifest Student Team. Get to know them, about what they did to plan the festival, and what they think will be the highlights of Manifest 2024.