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Year in Review: A Great Year for the Great Street

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Posted  29 days ago  by  Ammanuel M. Ayalew

State Street, the Chicago Loop’s spine of retail, dining, entertainment, and historic attractions, had nothing short of an eventful year. The street continues to blossom into a culturally vibrant destination due to the work of Chicago Loop Alliance, the sole service provider for State Street Special Service Area #1-2015.  Here’s a quick look at the major activities on State Street in 2018.

The Gateway Reimagined

In collaboration with CannonDesign, Chicago Loop Alliance tasked students in the Chicago Architecture Center’s Teen Fellows program to reimagine the Gateway, a formerly underutilized median on State Street that in 2013 was transformed into a popular gathering place for visitors, workers, residents, and students. Ideas the students came up with included incorporating native landscaping, including foliage that will attract Monarch butterflies; creating a map on the floor of The Gateway listing various major attractions in the Loop; adding creative lighting; providing a variety of seating to allow for socializing and eating as well as privacy; and engaging local artists to create mosaics on planters.

The Shape of Chicago Took Over State Street

In partnership with Terra Foundation for American Art and Chicago Design Museum, Chicago Loop Alliance celebrated The Shape of Chicago: John Massey’s 1968 Banners Revisited as part of City of Chicago’s Year of Creative Youth. Massey’s 1968 banners were reproduced and hung on State Street in the Loop from August 1-31.

The Chicago Loop Hosted Urban Legends

In the Chicago Theatre alley on State Street, Chicago Loop Alliance partnered with the Chicago Bulls to celebrate Urban Legends, the beginning of the 2018-2019 NBA season. This ACTIVATE-inspired event was an immersive pop-up experience that enabled Chicagoans from different walks of life to experience multi-sensory art installations designed to inspire and capture legendary experiences at the intersection of art and basketball. Guests enjoyed free haircuts, a photo op with Benny the Bull and championship trophies, a contest to snag tickets to the Bulls game, vintage arcade games, music by the Bulls’ DJ, and more.

Lightscape Lit Up

With lively light displays that harmoniously dance to cheerful music Lightscape continues to bring a joyful vibe to State Street. It celebrated the unique performances of the Loop’s Theatre District, featuring the soundtracks to productions like Waitress, Pretty Woman, The Nutcracker, and more. For the first time, Lightscape celebrated the end of daylight savings time with a playlist of popular songs about light accompanying a twinkling display during November.

‘Short-Cuts’ Activated the Pedway

Underneath State Street, Short-Cuts transformed overlooked spaces into unexpected and memorable places through pop-up performances and exhibitions in the Chicago Pedway. Artists and designers showcased their creations “off the grid” in the Loop’s underground tunnel system, inviting the public to experience the Loop’s well-used but underappreciated Pedway in a new light.

Street Team Ambassadors Kept State Clean and Welcoming

Chicago Loop Alliance’s Street Team Ambassadors continued to make State Street safer for workers, residents, and visitors. They also strengthened relationships with local merchants and tourists, while connecting individuals in need to social service providers.

Main photo courtesy of Art Design Chicago