A Dialogue on Public Art and the South Loop
In fall 2015, students in the Senior Art History Seminar were invited to research and write about the works along the Wabash Arts Corridor.
Intrigued by the shifting expectations and definitions of street art, they were keen to investigate works that they experienced daily within their own environment. They interviewed artists, puzzled over juxtapositions, and questioned the role of space and place, synthesizing their findings into project descriptions as well as a broader essay on the various issues facing street artists today. Their contextualization of the themes, intentions, and influences that inform these contemporary art works models the best practice of art history.
From theories of feminism to the impact of gentrification, the students’ inquiries demonstrate art’s ability to speak to our contemporary concerns and ever evolving aesthetics. In writing these project descriptions, students not only realized the goals of the course; they also gained an opportunity to directly share their efforts with a wider audience.
At Columbia College, we encourage our students to “author the culture of their times,” bringing theory and practice into the public sphere. Like the works on the street, their words make a lasting impression.