West of Michigan Ave. and east of State St., Wabash Ave. is the middle child of downtown Chicago. To bring this historical street up to the same level of attraction and beauty as its siblings, Seth Unger and Jack Newell created The Wabash Lights.
After working four years to complete the site-specific installation, progress is visible. Unger and Newell want to bring life back to Wabash Avenue. The Wabash Lights will course the belly of the ‘L’ tracks, those that make up the famous Loop of Chicago.
918 backers pledged $59,480 to help bring this project to life.
Unger and Newell are attempting to redefine how public art is funded. “Usually, it’s paid by a few and created by one,” says Unger. “But this time, it’s funded by many residents of the community. This is turning the tables on traditional public art, since folks can say, ‘Oh, I helped put this together’, which truly makes it a community effort made for and by the public. And it’s interactive; the art is not the tubes - it’s the opportunity for anyone to create their own experience. We’re creating a canvas for everyone to express themselves,” says Unger.
Unger and Newell are designing an interactive technology component that allow viewers to change the color and pattern of the light from anywhere around the world. Now, everyone in the world can bring luminescence to the now lackluster street. The duo hope to expand The Wabash Lights from one block to three; creating over 20,000 feet of lights.
By Art Urbane Creative Maker, Claire Alicia Smith