Bloomingdale Signs by Tomorrow turns a Chicago intersection into a massive art installation.
While city buildings can be massively beautiful thanks to inspiring architecture, these structures aren’t typically referred to as “colorful.” Looking to saturate building facades, sidewalks, and crosswalks in bold colors, Chicago artist Jessica Stockholder set out to transform the intersection of the city’s State and Adams Streets into a “three-dimensional painting” – one in which people could walk into and through.
The work was commissioned by the Loop Alliance, an organization dedicated to promoting the business district in the Chicago Loop, the Windy City’s historic commercial center. For the past several years, the Alliance’s Art Loop program has strived to energize the area by showcasing artists in temporary galleries that are open to the public. Previous Art Loop installations included 2010’s project, Tony Tasset’s “Eye and Cardinal,” a three-story eyeball smack-dab in the middle of State Street accompanied by 156 vinyl banners of the Illinois state bird. And in 2011, Kay Rosen’s “Go Do Good,” a mix of printed banners and painted murals told Chicago residents to “go do good.”
Color Jam – Stockholder’s vision of colors spilling out of windows, through doors, and into surrounding landscapes – would be the ideal Art Loop sequel. To tackle this dramatic makeover of one of the city’s busiest intersections, the Loop Alliance launched a search to find a qualified team.
Bringing the abstract to life
Bloomingdale Signs by Tomorrow (www.bloomingdalesigns.com) in Bloomingdale, Illinois, was chosen as the print provider to tackle the 2012 Art Loop installation, Color Jam. “We acquired this job through the Chicago Loop Alliance by a referral from a client we had worked with a few years back,” says Alan Schellerer, director of operations for Bloomingdale Signs by Tomorrow.
Color Jam would be Chicago’s largest-ever public art installation, and the art spectacular would require 76,000 square feet of media – enough material to make 50,000 vinyl records, wrap more than 130 city busses, or cover one-and-a-half football fields. “This would be the largest production by square footage that we had ever taken on,” says Schellerer.