In 2013, Columbia College Chicago launched the Wabash Arts Corridor to immerse students in the creative spirit by using urban spaces and reclaimable resources to revitalize and transform the South Loop business district into one of the city’s major cultural assets.
The heart of WAC is Wabash Avenue from Van Buren to Roosevelt and is framed to the east by Michigan Avenue and to the west by State Street. The corridor is regarded as an “living urban canvas” due to its ever growing number of large-scale mural installations and collaborative projects.
While WAC anticipates the district to grow and develop further as a living laboratory, it is currently comprised of eights educational institutions, 19 galleries, 14 performance spaces, five major hotels and more than 40 restaurants.
In just a few years, WAC has managed to connect students, artists, entrepreneurs, local businesses and commerce with educational and cultural programming for the visual, performing and media arts. The result has been the emergence of WAC as a key player in the city as an urban lab for creative expression, innovation and excellence in the arts.
This DIY spirit promotes artists and creators to become involved in the community, not only making it a tourist destination, but a dynamic urban campus for students attending nearby colleges and universities.