January 8, 2013
Columbia College Chicago and the Hilton Chicago are partnering to create a series of photographs to be installed on the exterior of the iconic Chicago Hilton, 720 S. Michigan Ave. Students in Columbia College’s fashion photography class will work with the Global Design Services Team of Hilton Worldwide to create the large-scale images, which will extend the newly redesigned hotel interior to the exterior of the building. The images will have a fashion-focused editorial feel.
“This is a great opportunity for photography students to have a real industry experience facilitated by two fantastic industry leaders,” said Peter Fitzpatrick, chair of the Columbia College Photography Department, who is overseeing the collaboration. “Ideas for the images will be constructed around concepts of the Global Design Services team of the Hilton Chicago. The students will have to solve the problems that come with working collaboratively, within a design brief and to a real deadline.”
John Wells, general manager of the Hilton Chicago echoes that enthusiasm. “As one of the South Loop’s oldest residents, Hilton Chicago is proud to partner with our neighbors at Columbia College and support the Wabash Arts Corridor Initiative. We are excited for a portion of our exterior to be brought to life by this talented group of students.”
The Hilton and Columbia College partnership is part of the newly created Wabash Arts Corridor, a long-term strategy to turn the South Loop campus, from Congress to Roosevelt, into a dynamic arts corridor that reflects the creativity of Columbia College students, alumni, faculty and staff as well as promote ongoing commitment of the college partnering with local businesses and the community. The Wabash Arts Corridor’s recent installation includes the three-wall mural on a parking garage exterior at the northeast corner of Balbo and Wabash and a Papermakers Garden will soon be mounted in the vacant lot across the street from the Hilton. The long term goals for the Wabash Arts Corridor include future murals, sculptures, image projections, concert series, and more.
“The Wabash Arts Corridor has been gaining momentum, but our partnership with the Hilton definitely kicks it to a whole new level,” said Mark Kelly, vice president of student affairs, one of the driving forces behind the initiative. “We are very grateful to have the Hilton as an active partner in our efforts to transform a rather non-descript avenue into a dynamic creative space."
The spring Fashion Photography class will be led by John and Andree McArthur, two nationally celebrated fashion photographers who will serve as adjunct faculty this semester. The grand-scale images will be installed on the building exterior prior to Columbia’s Manifest Urban Arts Festival in May.