28 Jul Ben Eine (EINE) creates first Chicago mural as part of Wabash Arts Corridor
New “Harmony” mural in EINE’s iconic Circus Font adorns University Center
CHICAGO (July 28, 2015)—The Wabash Arts Corridor (WAC), in partnership with Columbia College Chicago and Vertical Gallery, unveils this week the first Chicago mural from acclaimed London-based street artist Ben Eine (EINE). A former collaborator of Banksy, EINE’s new work will read “Harmony” in his iconic Circus Font on the Wabash-facing exterior of University Center, a residence hall located at 525 S. State Street.
Columbia alumna Heidi Unkefer and current student JJ McLuckie will be assisting EINE as he paints the mural this week. EINE’s “Harmony” mural joins 10 others already lining the WAC, from Columbia alumni as well as established street artists like Hebru Brantley, Never 2501, Shepard Fairey and POSE. In addition to creating the University Center mural, EINE is part of Vertical Gallery’s public exhibition The Great Western with fellow UK artists Sickboy and Word to Mother. It is the first time the artists have exhibited in Chicago.
“EINE’s selection of the word ‘harmony’ creatively supports University Center’s mission to nurture each of our resident’s individual potential, inside and outside of the classroom, while in context of community,” says University Center General Manager Marlene Levine. “You can imagine how important creating harmony is with nearly 1,700 students living together. We have accomplished this year after year with great programs for building new friendships.”
The Wabash Arts Corridor—a group of educational institutions, art galleries, performances spaces, hotels and restaurants in the district—was formed by Columbia College Chicago and has been repurposing building walls in the area for several years as vibrant street art canvases. The mural project also aligns with Chicago Loop Alliance’s Transforming Wabash initiative to revitalize Wabash Avenue from Congress Parkway to Wacker Drive and make the district more economically competitive—in this case strengthening and supporting the artistic, cultural and higher education institutions in the area.
Ben Eine, aka EINE, was born in London, England, in 1970 and is one of London’s most prolific street artists, specializing in the central element of all graffiti—the form of letters. Originally a
writer, EINE started his career over 25 years ago leaving his first tag all over London before developing the distinct typographic style he is known for today. Specializing in painting huge single letters on shop fronts, EINE’s bright, colorful letters have transformed streets around the world, including LA, San Francisco, Mexico City, Miami, Paris, Dublin, Tokyo, Stockholm, Dubai, Berlin, New York, and most famously “Alphabet Street”—the shutters and murals he painted on Middlesex Street, London. EINE shot to international fame when Prime Minister David Cameron presented one of his works to President Obama as a gift on their first official state visit, and his subsequent San Francisco solo show sold out prior to opening. EINE was also included in the biggest exhibition of street art to date, “Art in the Streets” at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA), Los Angeles.
About University Center
University Center (UC) is the nation’s largest residence hall owned by multiple institutions. Opened in 2004, UC houses students from DePaul University, Columbia College Chicago, Roosevelt University and Robert Morris University. UC offers modern amenities including music practice rooms, full service cafeteria, fitness center, bike room, a landscaped terrace and the latest technology. UC also has a conference center ideally suited for distraction-free training and development. With 11 retail establishments at street level University Center is a hub for student life in the south Loop and an important anchor for the education corridor.
About the Wabash Arts Corridor
The Wabash Arts Corridor (WAC) is Chicago’s “living urban canvas.” Founded in 2013, the WAC is one of the city’s major cultural assets comprised of eight educational institutions, 19 galleries, 14 performance spaces, five major hotels and more than 40 restaurants. Connecting local businesses and commerce with education, cultural programming and the visual, performing and media arts, the WAC is an urban lab for creative expression, innovation and excellence in the arts. For more information, please visit www.WabashArtsCorridor.org.
About Columbia College Chicago
Columbia College Chicago is an urban institution that offers innovative degree programs in the visual, performing, media and communication arts for nearly 10,000 students in more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. An arts and media college committed to a rigorous liberal arts curriculum, Columbia is dedicated to opportunity and excellence in higher education. For further information, visit www.colum.edu.
About Vertical Gallery
Vertical Gallery is committed to exhibiting and promoting urban, contemporary and street art. Established in 2013 in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village neighborhood, the gallery focuses on work influenced by urban environments, street art, pop culture, graphic design and illustration. It is working to bring this art form to a broader audience and eliminate the barriers that exist between traditional institutions, contemporary galleries, art collectors and casual viewers. The gallery welcomes open exploration and discussion of urban-contemporary art. New monthly exhibits highlight local, national and international artists. For more information or to view and purchase past and current artwork, please visit www.verticalgallery.com.
About Chicago Loop Alliance
Chicago Loop Alliance, the sole service provider for Special Service Area (SSA) #1, creates, manages and promotes high-performing urban experiences, attracting people and investment to the Loop. For more information, please visit www.LoopChicago.com.
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