Inaugural “Columbia Weekend” Attracts Enthusiastic Crowd

Wabash Arts Corridor Crawl, Parent and Family Weekend, Alumni Day and the Halloween Gathering, come together for a weekend to celebrate arts, culture, and the Columbia College Chicago community.

The South Loop was a busy destination this weekend as the college kicked off its inaugural “Columbia Weekend,” a two-day gathering consisting of the Wabash Arts Corridor (WAC) Crawl, Parent and Family Weekend, Alumni Reception and Alumni Day, and the first city-wide Halloween Gathering on the Chicago Cultural Mile.

The festivities began on Friday with the WAC Crawl where costumed students accompanied by drummers marched down Columbus Drive and a Chicago Loop Alliance ACTIVATE dance party erupted in the packed alley behind 600 S. Michigan Ave.

“A shared weekend allows students to share their bodies of work with each other, their parents, alumni and Chicago as a whole,” said Mark Kelly, vice president of Student Success. “Scheduling these events on the same weekend opens opportunities for cross-pollinating across these various groups and corrals the overall interest and excitement.”

The Crawl featured a walking tour of the colorful street art found in the college’s South Loop neighborhood, gallery events, demonstrations, live music and dance performances. Students displayed their work, performed, served as event coordinators and tour guides escorting visitors through some the city’s major cultural assets comprised of the WAC’s 16 outdoor murals/art installations, 8 educational institutions, 19 galleries, 14 performance spaces, 5 major hotels and more than 40 restaurants.

The Halloween Gathering on the Chicago Cultural Mile was Kelly’s brainchild, who served as the event’s Artistic Director. Performing Arts Management student Delaney Morris (’16) coordinated the Columbia College Chicago student entry for the parade. Radio part-time faculty member Terri Hemmert, Photography professor Dawoud Bey and alumna Anna Shapiro (BA ’90) served as Creative Spirit Fellows for the gathering. Additionally, the college’s Frequency TV provided the official live webcast of the event.

Parents, families and alumni attended both the WAC Crawl and The Halloween Gathering as well as many more events on campus, including campus tours, luncheons and cocktail parties. More than 800 people participated in the Parent and Family Weekend which allowed them to have a first hand look at the Columbia College student experience.

Alumni took advantage of the weekend to see old friends, visit their old haunts and familiarize themselves with new additions to campus. On Saturday, they attended a “Big Chicago” panel discussion before attending the Halloween Gathering on the Cultural Mile en masse.

“Columbia Weekend provided alumni with a great opportunity to reconnect with their peers, faculty, and the administration in a high energy environment,” said Miriam Smith, executive director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving. “We look forward to an even bigger and better event next year.”

Columbia Weekend was produced by the Office of Student Success, Student Programs and Activities, Student Communications, the Department of Exhibitions, Performance and Student Spaces, and Alumni Relations.