The Manifest Urban Arts Festival is always Columbia’s biggest party of the year, but one thing that does change is which student holds the reins. Every Manifest has a unique design that is composed by one of Columbia College Chicago’s students. That student, dubbed the Manifest Creative Director, is granted creative control over the aesthetic of Manifest, which includes everything from flyers and emails to art installed around campus. This is a huge opportunity for artists, designers, and marketing specialists to get experience working on a large-scale project and add content to their portfolio.

Every Manifest does have a unique theme that the Creative Director must interpret in an imaginative way. This year’s theme is, “OWN IT,” meant to act as both an affirmation of student work and development as well as a call to arms to continue to stretch the boundaries of creativity. We received a sea of submissions for the position, which is hardly surprising giving the magnitude of this chance. Though it was difficult, we narrowed the field to our top four choices. Now, the Columbia College Chicago student body has to choose: who will be our 2018 Manifest Creative Director?

Below are our four finalists in alphabetical order with their own statements on what this year’s theme means to them and how they plan to represent that in their work.

Abigail Mattingly: To own it is to know you have it and believe you have it even if you don’t truly own it yet. Going after your dreams, goals, and pursuits is not just a physical matter, it involves the mind and the heart. If you want to own something as yours you must capture it in your mind and heart first before you have it in your hands. I wanted to convey this ultimate capturing of an individual’s desires and dreams from mind, heart, and body through my own style. I kept the subjects unapologetically fierce to convey the wholly act of owning it and knowing you own it, whatever that may be to each individual.

Sierra Pennala: To me, ‘Own It’ means constructing your own world. Taking the materials given to you and piecing together a reality that is entirely yours to explore. With this year’s Manifest Urban Arts Festival, my design campaign holds elements of construction and optimism. I developed this poster to be similar to a diorama, a project in which you physically and literally build your own world. A bright color scheme suggests hopefulness and is reminiscent of everyone’s first exposure to visual art–the color wheel. It evokes feelings of playfulness and uninhibited creativity and joy. The star is designed to appear to be made of paper–a mundane material that is used everyday to construct and make beautiful art; whether it be written word, design, painting, or more. As Columbia Students, we get to construct our world; design it; own it.

Angel Smith: Owning it is an electric feeling, a fusion of light and energy, and in order to truly “own it,” you have to make the choice to flip that internal light switch. As you illuminate, others bask in your warmth and become inspired by the potential. Hopefully, this energy becomes communal – here at Columbia, we are watching continuously as our friends, classmates, and colleagues become activated in their own ways. My designs are intended to illustrate that very moment of someone flipping their switch, plugging in, activating–owning their shine.

Evan Szewc: Tagging is the art of claiming ownership, that’s why this year the Manifest Urban Arts Festival will showcase the creative minds at Columbia College Chicago with a simplistic yet gritty style that students will be proud to call theirs. Through creative practice, personal branding, and bold thinking, students at Columbia College Chicago learn to take ownership over their art and shape the creative world. This spring, Columbia College Chicago celebrates the creative capabilities of the next generation of great artists in the ultimate showcase of creative talent, MANIFEST 2018: OWN IT.

So now it falls to you. Who will be your Manifest Creative Director for 2018? Voting is open on Monday, November 27th and closes in two weeks on December 10th just before midnight. You can only vote once, but make sure to spread the word so that all students have their say.

Online Form – 2018 Manifest Creative Director Voting