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Chicago celebrates students’ creative works at Manifest

Manifest is Chicago’s largest student-run arts festival, presents 100+ free public programs celebrating the creative work of more than 2,000 Columbia College Chicago students on Friday, May 13, from 12-9 p.m.

Now in its 16th year, Manifest includes a massive street spectacle performance, live bands and DJs, gallery walks of 20 group exhibitions and Wabash Arts Corridor murals, live art-making in the streets, dozens of dance and theater programs, fashion shows and more. Events are centered along the Wabash Arts Corridor in Chicago’s South Loop, with Wabash Avenue closed from 9th to 11th Streets for the duration of the festival. For more information and the most up-to-date programming, visit

“Manifest is one of the most exciting college events in the country,” says Columbia College Vice President for Student Success Mark Kelly. “We showcase the talents of thousands of Columbia College students in a daylong pageant, and invite the public to take part in their creative practice. I can’t think of a better way to launch our graduating students into their professional artistic careers.”

Manifest is curated and managed by more than 1,000 Columbia College students. It celebrates and showcases students’ final bodies of work—an essential part of preparing for creative professions. This year’s festival design is led by Creative Director Cassidy Kapson, a senior Illustration major.

“The theme of this year’s Manifest is ‘animate.’ We’re encouraging a vibrant, playful atmosphere that showcases the ways Columbia students animate their world through creative work,” says Kapson.

Highlights of Manifest 2016 include:

  • A kick-off spectacle performance at 12 p.m. on May 13, with hundreds of student performers in medieval pageantry costumes, giant puppets, live music and balloon drops
  • 40+ musical performances throughout the day, ranging from pop rock bands to DJs, blues, jazz, folk and gospel ensembles
  • Family-friendly activities including a zipline, poster screen-printing, tiny “clown bike” races, medieval foam sword-fighting and human-sized board games
  • Food trucks Chicago Lunchbox, The Fat Shallot, Piko Street, Beaver’s Donuts, Jack’s Fork in the Road, 5411 Empanadas, Jerk 312 and Yum Dum
  • Fashion shows live-streamed into the Sculpture Garden at Wabash and 11th
  • A pop-up shop of student-designed clothing for sale
  • Original student plays and dance concerts choreographed and performed by students across hip-hop, African, jazz, tap, musical theater and contemporary styles
  • Gallery walks of 20 group exhibitions with student work for sale, plus student-led tours of Wabash Arts Corridor murals
  • 15 premiere screenings of student films, ranging from original animation to documentary, experimental and narrative forms.

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