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Chicago Loop Alliance completes transformation of vacant Wabash storefront windows

Posted  4 years ago

Press contact: Jessica Cabe | PR and Communications Manager, Chicago Loop Alliance jessica@chicagoloopalliance.com | 312-782-9160

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CHICAGO—Pedestrians on Wabash Avenue between Lake and Monroe streets are experiencing 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 brightly colored murals. The goal is to bring positive attention to retail space; once a space is leased, its mural will be removed. Installation for “Wabash Windows” was completed on Dec. 11 at 129 N. Wabash Ave., 33 N. Wabash Ave., 28 S. Wabash Ave. and 17 S. Wabash Ave.

“‘Wabash Windows’ combines a couple of Chicago Loop Alliance’s program areas: placemaking and economic development,” said Chicago Loop Alliance Director of Planning Kalindi Parikh. “Now that the window murals are completed, we’ve seen passersby look up from their phones to admire the artwork and be more aware of where they are, and more present in the moment. We’re hoping this creates conversation, creates memories and, ultimately, creates interest from business owners who may be looking for spaces to lease.”

As part of Chicago Loop Alliance's broad Transforming Wabash initiative, CLA had an interest in activating vacant storefronts on Wabash with art and contracted Michelle Kliman of MK Studio, an Experience Design studio, to design the method for the activation. Kliman conceptualized painting murals directly on the glass and selected artists, created design guidelines and oversaw installation 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 and Ponnopozz used 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.

"Painting reverse on glass is challenging for even the most seasoned artist, but all of the talented women who created murals for Wabash Windows did an amazing job,” Kliman said. “We are already seeing the positive effects that these local artists' murals are having on the Wabash retail corridor, from pedestrians admiring the artwork to the artists gaining some exposure from the project. As project designer for Wabash Windows, I hope that their work and this project can continue to bring positive change to the Loop."

About Chicago Loop Alliance

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.

About Michelle Kliman of MK Studio

In 2017, Michelle Kliman founded MK Studio, an Experience Design studio that specializes in the built environment. Kliman’s core focus is on creating interactive environments that connect people and inspire a more hands-on experience of the physical world. MK Studio creates spaces that engage all of the senses and crafts experiences that capture people's imaginations and curiosity by producing shareable moments and creating lasting memories. Prior to founding MK Studio, Kliman worked in New York and Chicago as a spatial designer, event and exhibition designer, and product and surface designer. For more information, please visit www.mkstudio.co.


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