Manifest's Memorable 2016 Festivities

More than 2,000 graduating students showcased their work throughout the daylong festival.

Columbia College Chicago’s undergraduate students dazzled the streets of the South Loop during the 16th annual student-run arts festival. The Great Convergence with Mark Kelly kicked the day off with students processioning in costumes, color guards, marching bands, over-the-top handmade puppets and twirling dancers making their way down Wabash Avenue.

The Manifest 2016 video—featuring a song written and performed by Columbia Theatre student, Rahkii, and showcasing images of the day—captured the dynamic talent of the graduating student body. The video was created in part by students and alumni and aired at commencement to joyfully tearful audiences.

Highlights of Manifest included zip-lining guests gliding between buildings while artists painted portraits on-site, DJ’s and double-dutch ropes spun and saxophones blared. While the sun was shining outside, students also exhibited work in galleries, presented their written and creative works, premiered original films and walked the runway inside packed campus buildings. Rocky Jones sang to a crowd dancing in yellow, red, green and purple balloons and confetti. And, despite a change in weather later that evening, Sir the Baptist’s energetic show closed out the festival with a performance that could only end with the vocalist singing in the center of the lively crowd.

While the list of the festival’s events is seemingly endless, one thing is for sure: this year’s Manifest was a festival palpably exciting and enduring. It showcased the creative practice and diverse talent of students, and propelled them into the Chicago spotlight.

For more coverage of Manifest, visit the Chicago TribuneChicagoist and the Examiner.