Manifest to Showcase Columbia College Student Artists in Wabash Arts Corridor Extravaganza

Manifest, Chicago’s largest student-run arts festival, will present 100+ free public programs celebrating the creative work of more than 2,000 Columbia College Chicago students. Now in its 16th year, Manifest includes a massive street spectacle performance, live bands and DJs, gallery walks of 20 group exhibitions and Wabash Arts Corridor murals, and events from dance to theater to fashion and more. The festival is centered along the Wabash Arts Corridor in Chicago’s South Loop, with Wabash Avenue closed from 9th to 11th Streets for the duration of the celebration. 

“Manifest is one of the most exciting college events in the country,” says Mark Kelly, Columbia College’s vice president for student success. “We showcase the talents of thousands of Columbia College students in a daylong pageant, and invite the public to take part in their creative practice. I can’t think of a better way to launch our graduating students into their professional artistic careers.”

Manifest is curated and managed by more than 1,000 Columbia College students. It celebrates and showcases students’ final bodies of work—an essential part of preparing for creative professions. This year’s festival design is led by creative director Cassidy Kapson, a senior Illustration major.

​“The theme of this year’s Manifest is ‘animate.’ We’re encouraging a vibrant, playful atmosphere that showcases the ways Columbia students animate their world through creative work,” says Kapson.

Highlights of Manifest 2016 include: a kick-off spectacle performance at 12 p.m. on May 13, with hundreds of student performers in medieval pageantry costumes, giant puppets, live music and balloon drops;  40+ musical performances throughout the day, ranging from pop rock bands to DJs, blues, jazz, folk and gospel ensembles; a bevy of some of the Windy City’s most popular  food trucks, including Chicago Lunchbox, The Fat Shallot and Piko Street; fashion shows live-streamed into the Sculpture Garden at Wabash and 11th; and 15 premiere screenings of student films, ranging from original animation to documentary, experimental and narrative forms.

​Mounting the festival on Chicago’s Wabash Arts Corridor (WAC) offers a “living urban canvas” for student artists to flex their creative muscles on a grand stage. Founded in 2013 and led by Columbia College, the WAC connects local businesses and commerce with education, cultural programming and the visual, performing and media arts, offering a veritable urban lab for creative expression, innovation and excellence in the arts. For more information about the Corridor, visit

​For more information on this year’s Manifest lineup and the most up-to-date programming, visit

Columbia College student artists celebrate Manifest 2015 along Chicago's vibrant Wabash Arts Corridor (photo by Alexis Ellers).