Columbia College Chicago and Hilton Chicago To Partner For Photo Installation



 Columbia College Students Creating Photographic Art

For Installation on Chicago Hilton Hotel’s Exterior Walls

CHICAGO (January 7, 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. The large-scale images are being designed to extend the newly redesigned hotel interior to the exterior of the building, with a fashion-focused editorial feel.

 The partnership creates a real-world learning opportunity for students in Columbia College’s fashion photography class, which will work with the Global Design Services Team of Hilton Worldwide as their client. The spring 2013 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.

“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.”

According to Fitzpatrick, the Hilton Chicago has a certain brand feel that they would like the images to capture. “The other major bonus to such a project is that students will achieve tangible results that they will be able to proudly highlight on their resumes.”

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 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. Work was recently completed on a three-wall mural on a parking garage exterior at the northeast corner of Balbo and Wabash, and a Papermakers Garden is starting to take shape in a vacant lot directly across the street from the Hilton.”

According to Kelly, the next step in the Wabash Arts Corridor program is to convene a meeting with key stakeholders in the South Loop to explore other opportunities to bring the project further to life, including murals, sculptures, image projections, concert series, and more long-term projects.

Columbia College Chicago is an urban institution that offers innovative degree programs in the visual, performing, media and communication arts for nearly 11,000 students in 120 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


Media Contacts:

Steve Kauffman, 312.369.7383,

Erin Purdy, 312.369.8695,