The view of Stockholder’s Color Jam from the southwest corner of State and Adams. (Photography by Joy Olivia Miller)

Splash of color

DOVA chair Jessica Stockholder created Chicago’s newest public-art installation.

When Color Jam, the public-art installation at State and Adams Streets in Chicago’s Loop, officially opened on Tuesday, people walking through the usually drab intersection took notice. They stopped, looked around, and gave a “wow” or “cool” at the bright red, blue, and green vinyl covering the crosswalks and sidewalks and spreading up the buildings on each corner.

University of Chicago Department of Visual Arts chair Jessica Stockholder, the artist behind the summer installation, “envisioned a ‘three-dimensional painting,’ spilling out of windows, through doors, and into the surrounding landscape,” writes the Chicago Loop Alliance, which commissioned the project (Philip Barash, a former humanities student, and Tyrone Tabing, AM’92, work at the alliance and helped to commission Color Jam).

That three-dimensional vinyl painting has come to fruition and is resonating with passersby. “It’s a time out,” said a man in a suit walking through the intersection. “It makes you think we’re more alike than different.”

If you don’t live in Chicago or work in the Loop, you still can see how people interact with the art through a live video feed. Color Jam runs through September.


A street level view of Color Jam at lunchtime during its first day.