Looking Ahead to Manifest Unlocked

This is everything you need to know before Columbia College Chicago’s Manifest Arts Festival 2023.

The Columbia College Chicago community is counting down the days until Manifest Unlocked, the 2023 Manifest Arts Festival. May 11 and 12 mark the return of Manifest Arts Festival, a two-day student-powered event that has been a campus tradition for more than 20 years. On May 11, the focus is on graduate-level students, and opens to celebrate all student work on May 12. It highlights the hard work, talent, and creativity for which the Columbia community is known.  

This year’s festival theme – unlocked -- encourages students and attendees to find and unlock their creative potential. Before planning a trip to Manifest, make sure to keep these highlights and tips in mind to get excited and make the most of the experience.  

A Sneak Peak  

Every year, Manifest turns the South Loop into a colorful celebration. There’s no substitute for experiencing it yourself, but the Manifest Trailer gives a sneak peek at the tremendous energy Columbia students bring to the event. Whether this is your first or 20th year coming to Manifest, the trailer will get you excited for everything 2023 will have in store. 

Manifest Trailer 2023 from Columbia Student Activities on Vimeo.

Planning a Visit  

Manifest Unlocked welcomes visitors from the campus community and guests. Everyone visiting Manifest will receive a wristband that will allow them access to the entire festival.  

Students, faculty, and staff will check in with their Campus Cards, and registration is encouraged but not required and can be done through the Engage portal. Members of the Columbia community with children 13 and under must register on the children’s behalf. Children 14 and over must have their own registrations.   

Friends, families, neighbors, and other guests can register in advance or on site at the festival as long as they have a student or government ID. Guests may add children 13 and under to their registration. 

The Manifest website and app are available to guests for advance registration if they register as a user (receive a 6-digit code for security) and log in. 

Before you take part in the festival, peruse the Manifest map and schedule  to make sure you don't miss any of the events. 

Who’s at Center Stage  

The Manifest Music Video is a great 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 Main Stage, and then it’s used for the iconic Manifest music video. The video, which highlights all the best of Manifest, is shot, edited, and premiered all in less than 24 hours and premieres at the commencement ceremonies the next day.  

The winner of this year’s contest is Tanya Guerrero, a graduating senior in Music and Audio Arts and Acoustics, who performs under the name Tanya Katleya. Guerrero’s song features both English and Spanish, and she will be accompanied by a student ASL interpreter mentored in Spanish who will sign in both languages.  

Check out last year’s Manifest Music Video with a song from Paige and the Kizer's.  

Capping off a day at Manifest will be this year’s Main Stage headliner, Manwolves. The alternative band joins the ranks of other Chicago-based musicians who played Manifest. Previous acts include Chance the Rapper, Common, and Lupe Fiasco.  

Exhibits to Watch 

There’s no shortage of opportunities to be amazed at Manifest. This year, look out for a steam roller that’s being used for a printing project, an Art Car Derby, and fashion shows.  

No matter where you go, Columbia talent will be on display. Get a sneak preview of everything there is to see.  

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.  

A team of five students are on this year’s Team Manifest. Get to know them, about what they did to plan the festival, and what they think will be the highlights of Manifest 2023.