Art in Chicago

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I’ve written a lot about my experience at Columbia navigating the Creative Producing program, but today I’ve decided to lighten things up a bit and talk about a facet of what Columbia offers that I don’t usually discuss: the benefits that come with living in a wonderful city like Chicago.

One of the best parts about living in one of the major cities in the U.S. is having access to art that is truly world-class.  Sometimes this factors into and dovetails with the Creative Producing program itself (for example, a recent homework assignment sent us on a field trip to the nearby Art Institute of Chicago to search for story ideas in classic paintings), while oftentimes it simply offers opportunities that are available to us just for the fun of it. [flickr id=”6791141571″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]

For example, on a recent Sunday night I attended a Broadway in Chicago presentation of Mamma Mia! the musical, at the Oriental Theater downtown.  Broadway in Chicago regularly brings hit musicals into Chicago’s lively downtown theater district, and so far I’ve been fortunate enough to see quite a few blockbuster productions, including Les Miserables, Wicked, and Lion King.  It is always incredible to be able to experience theater performed by a group of professionals.  There’s an aliveness in the theater when watching a live show that I always enjoy, and as a creative professional I find that as I sit in the crowd and become immersed in the story, my creative juices start to flow, giving me a new perspective on my own work.

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It doesn’t hurt that the theater district is located near several train stops, with ample parking nearby, and that tickets were only $18, which is affordable even on a student’s budget.

This is the kind of experience you simply don’t have access to when you go to a film school that is remote and located outside of a major city.  And while most people don’t decide which school to go to based on how often Les Miserables swings through town, for me, being able to have such ready access to world-class art is certainly icing on the cake.