Papermaker’s Garden Recognized as Key Component of Wabash Arts Corridor

The InterArts/CBPA Papermaker’s Garden project was recently recognized by Chicago Mayor Mayor Rahm Emanuel as an anchor of the newly announced city plan for the Wabash Avenue Arts Corridor. The Mayor announced earlier this week (during a public forum attended by local colleges, universities, arts organizations, and South Loop business associations) the city’s initiative to partner with Columbia College Chicago and other South Loop organizations to foster creation of public art under the umbrella of the Wabash Arts Corridor. The corridor is designated as the stretch of Wabash Avenue from Congress Parkway to Roosevelt Road. Mayor Emanuel called the dynamic arts corridor idea to be an integral part of the newly created City of Chicago Cultural Plan.

Initial projects in the Wabash Arts Corridor created last year include the aerosol art mural at the northwest corner of Balbo and Wabash Avenue, and the InterArts/CBPA Papermaker’s Garden, which since last spring has utilized plants to beautify a vacant corner lot. This interdisciplinary project will produce sustainable papermaking fibers from various plants, connect with the neighborhood residents, as well as offer collaborative, cross-disciplinary educational opportunities for students. In another newly-approved project for the corridor, Columbia’s Photography and English students will soon collaborate on creating images and text to be installed on the support beams for the Red Line El tracks on Harrison Street.

At the public forum meeting where the announcement was made, InterArts Book and Paper MFA students distributed to the attendees handmade paper and letterpress broadsides to commemorate work done thus far in the garden. “Thank you for the beautiful paper gifts prepared and provided to our guests at the Wabash Arts Corridor meeting,” said Tara Vock, Columbia College Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Student Affairs. “Please extend our gratitude to your students for their hard work on creating these!”

For more information on the Wabash Arts Corridor project and city-wide announcement, click here.