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An Amuse-Bouche Of Public Art

An Amuse-Bouche Of Public Art

Wabash Lights Project On Track

Wabash Lights, an ambitious public art project that will add shots of color to the underside of the “L” tracks downtown, is scheduled to begin its beta test next week, six months after a crowdfunding campaign raised nearly $60,000 to make it happen.

Twelve rods of LED lights have been installed beneath a small patch of the “L” tracks on Wabash Avenue just south of Monroe Street, giving a taste of what the project’s creators hope to turn into a much more dramatic interactive light show stretching two blocks along Wabash, from Madison to Adams

Twelve rods of LED lights have been installed beneath a small patch of the “L” tracks on Wabash Avenue just south of Monroe Street, giving a taste of what the project’s creators hope to turn into a much more dramatic interactive light show stretching two blocks along Wabash, from Madison to Adams.

“It’s an amuse-bouche of public art,” said Jack Newell, who created the project along with his friend Seth Unger.

Newell, 33, and Unger, 34, plan to turn the lights on for the beta test at 7 p.m. Thursday. The test will go on for six months to a year, with a preprogrammed lighting sequence running 18 hours a day, to troubleshoot technical issues and ensure that the equipment can withstand weather and the rattle of trains.

The project comes amid several efforts to revive Wabash, long the underperforming stepchild between tourist-friendly Michigan Avenue and shopping-centric State Street. The Chicago Loop Alliance last year unveiled a plan for “transforming Wabash” that involves beautification and branding sections of the street. Street murals by renowned street artists have sprouted along what has been dubbed the Wabash Arts Corridor, spearheaded by Columbia College. ( Chicago Tribune )

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