View along Wabash Corridor in Downtown Chicago (photo courtesy of the Chicago Loop Alliance).
Chicago Loop Alliance to Activate Windows Along Wabash Avenue with "Wabash Windows" Placemaking Project
Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
This December, pedestrians on Wabash Avenue between Lake and Monroe streets will experience a big pop of primary colors thanks to a new initiative by Chicago Loop Alliance. “Wabash Windows” is a strategic placemaking project that activates four vacant storefronts on Wabash Avenue with murals. Installation for “Wabash Windows” will take place Dec. 1-5.
Artists will install murals on the inside of storefront windows using paint that is easily removed. Brightly colored murals will beautify the windows of vacant storefronts along Wabash and bring positive attention to available retail space. Once the space has been rented, the mural will be removed.
“A lot of the economic development work Chicago Loop Alliance does is centered on the idea that if we make the Loop a vibrant destination, business will come,” said Ian Zeitlin, public space manager for Chicago Loop Alliance. “Transforming vacant storefronts into art installations accomplishes multiple goals: It makes the street look more alive and attractive to the public, but it also, in turn, makes these spaces attractive to businesses.”
Chicago Loop Alliance hired Michelle Kliman of MK Studio, an experience design studio, to conceptualize the artwork, select artists, create design guidelines and oversee installation and removal of the murals. In celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the Bauhaus School, an influential German school of design, architecture and applied arts, “Wabash Windows” employs a primary color palette inspired by the school’s revolutionary aesthetic. Muralists Jennifer Wandro, Carla Bank, Bee Harris an Ponnopozz will use these colors to create murals in their unique styles.
Through her design practice, Kliman creates interactive spaces, inspiring events, signature moments, engaging programming and playful products that take people offline and into the physical world where we all live.
“Working with Chicago Loop Alliance has been such a rewarding experience,” Kliman said. “As project designer for Wabash Windows, I get the opportunity to provide local artists with a public platform to share their work, elevate the Wabash retail corridor, and inspire and connect people to the city of Chicago and the creatives that live here.”
Chicago Loop Alliance’s (CLA) mission is to create, manage and promote high-performing urban experiences, attracting people and investment to the Loop. CLA is a membership organization as well as the sole service provider for Special Service Area#1-2015, and the Chicago Loop Alliance Foundation produces public art projects and events. For more information, please visit www.loopchicago.com.