Chicago Sister Cities International and Columbia College Chicago Reveal Mural by Toronto Artist in Wabash Arts Corridor

Photo: Sandra Steinbrecher
Mural by Kirsten McCrea, a result of an art exchange between Sister Cities Chicago and Toronto, becomes the newest addition to the Wabash Arts Corridor.

CHICAGO--(September 27, 2018). The Toronto Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International (CSCI) and Columbia College Chicago’s Wabash Arts Corridor (WAC) unveiled a 22’ x 126’ mural at 72 E. 11th St., (corner of 11th Street and Wabash Avenue), on Friday, Sept. 28 at 4 p.m., painted by Toronto-based artist Kirsten McCrea. McCrea and Columbia alumnus, Chicago-based muralist Justus Roe '08, installed large-scale public murals in each other’s respective cities. Chicago and Toronto have been sister cities since 1991.

McCrea’s mural unveiling is part of an art exchange launched with Toronto in 2017, when Roe was selected to paint a mural on Toronto’s Roncesvalles Footbridge that connects West End communities to the city’s Waterfront. Toronto Mayor John Tory and Roe unveiled the mural on July 27, 2017, commemorating Canada’s 150th birthday and the “Year of Public Art in Chicago.”

“Canada celebrated its 150th anniversary last year when the idea for the project was created,” said John Cruickshank, Consul General of Canada in Chicago. “This lovely mural will be a long-lasting reminder of the close relationship between our two cities as well as our countries. The Consulate General of Canada in Chicago is proud to support this creative exchange.”

“The mural exchange between Chicago and Toronto builds a cultural bridge between our two sister cities,” said Leroy Allala, Executive Director of Chicago Sister Cities International. “We are proud to have Kirsten McCrea’s work here in Chicago and are delighted that the citizens of Toronto are enjoying Justus Roe’s mural on the Roncesvalles Footbridge.”

The mural project is supported by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the City of Chicago, the City of Toronto, Columbia College Chicago, the Consulate General of Canada in Chicago and the Toronto Committee of CSCI.

“Kirsten McCrea’s largest work to date—Listen to Learn—adds to the vitality of our campus with her vibrant, eclectic, and site-responsive designs,” said Neysa Page-Lieberman, chief curator of WAC and executive director of Columbia’s Department of Exhibitions and Performance Spaces (DEPS). “As we continue to showcase diverse, interdisciplinary street and public art in the heart of Chicago’s South Loop, we are thrilled to host McCrea’s mural on WAC while Columbia’s Justus Roe lends his vibrant geometric designs to the Toronto cityscape.”

McCrea’s detailed artworks showcase layered histories, using ornamentation and patterning to reveal alternate narratives that celebrate diversity in all its forms. Since 2008, she has run the affordable art subscription Papirmass and has mailed over 100,000 prints to art lovers around the world. Her work has been exhibited at the Shanghai International Arts Festival, Toronto's AGO, Montreal's Musée des Beaux Arts, and the Sea Wall’s Love Letters Festival (Toronto), and has appeared in numerous publications, including Fast Company, Juxtapoz, Canadian Art, The Globe and Mail, The Walrus, and Bust.

Roe works in a variety of visual mediums, including canvas painting, large scale wall paintings/murals, and sculptural installations. His work references architecture, city grid systems, and landscapes. His stylized forms, mark-making, and color palette develop work that is at once reminiscent of aerial perspectives and metropolitan environments.

Watch highlights here.


About Chicago Sister Cities International
Chicago Sister Cities International (CSCI), an initiative of World Business Chicago (WBC), advances Chicago as a global city and promotes peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation through citizen diplomacy – one individual, one community at a time – for the benefit of Chicago and its sister cities. To accomplish its mission, CSCI develops programs in the areas of cultural arts and tourism, global education, government relations and international business. Learn more at

WBC is a public-private, non-profit partnership that drives inclusive economic growth and job creation, supports business and promotes Chicago as a leading global city. For more information, visit

About Columbia College Chicago
Columbia College Chicago is a private, nonprofit college offering a distinctive curriculum that blends creative and media arts, liberal arts, and business for nearly 7,000 students in more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Dedicated to academic excellence and long-term career success, Columbia College Chicago creates a dynamic, challenging, and collaborative space for students who experience the world through a creative lens. For more information, visit