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New 2.6 Acre OOH Canvas for Chicago’s Loop

Art projections at Merchandise Mart

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Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, home to OOH Buying Agencies, is proposing to ‘LIGHT UP’ the building this year with projection lighting.  As part of a public art’s project, ‘any artist’ will be allowed to submit their creative for projection to the Merchandise Mart’s south walls, which faces the Chicago River.  It will be free.

I have had the good fortune to make dozens of sales calls over the years to OOH agencies located in The Mart.  It is a grand, timeless landmark, known for its art deco. It is the kind of place you want to arrive early and leave open time before your next appointment to walk around and check out. Or stay in the adjoining Holiday Inn.

Built by Marshall Field & Co. and later owned for over half a century by the Kennedy family, yes those Kennedy’s, the Mart houses leading retail and wholesale  companies, many who are architectural and interior design enterprises, under a one giant roof.  And that roof is big!  When ‘The Mart’ opened in 1930, it was the largest building in the world, with 4,000,000 square feet of floor space.  It typically hosts over 20,000 visitors and tenants per day.

The Chicago City Council is considering an ordinance allowing the state-of-the-art projectors and ‘other technology’ on the Riverwalk, near the building, in what is being called. “the largest permanent installation in the United States.”  City Hall said it is the first time a projection of its size and scope will be completely dedicated to art, with no branding or sponsorship credits. 

No branding or sponsorship, i.e. no advertising. Hopefully that caveat is removed sooner than later. We’ve seen similar prohibition and eventually, over time, ‘branding and sponsorship’ is allowed. We sure hope it is immediate.  The project will be privately funded by the building owners, Vornado Realty Trust.

Perhaps we’ll see bluemedia there soon.

photo credit Chicago Sun Times Provided image by The Mart

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