WE ELEVATE THE ORDINARY

Windows On is a scalable initiative that responds to the decline in brick and mortar retail brought on by the increase in online shopping over the past two decades, the economic downturns of the 21st century, and, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. Windows On seeks to reimagine main streets and retail districts in decline by creating temporary, alternative uses for empty storefronts. By activating these spaces through the lens of community, connection, and culture, commercial districts can take on new life, spark pride in a community, and rejuvenate a neighborhood or town —leading to new investment and growth.

Common Place Projects has created a menu of placemaking, experiential, and programming projects that can work individually or together to fit the needs of any location. Visualized below are a few activation examples that capture the spirit and potential of the Windows On initiative. To kick off the Windows On project series, Common Place Projects implemented
Wabash Windows —a program which enlivened a strip of Wabash Ave. in downtown Chicago with several hand-painted murals that activated the windows of vacant storefronts.

WINDOWS ON
Urban Placemaking

PROJECT SCOPE

Mouse over the colored buildings to see more Windows On activations and read about them in more detail below

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Art 

Installation

Performance 

Stage

Pop-Up 

Shop

Community

Project Space

Windows On

Hub

Programming

Venue

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Pop-Up Shop

Temporary retail experience:

Crafts made by local artists

Seasonal garden & Seed store

Local online business

Best-of local shops

Community Project

Community-driven Content:

Artwork by local children

Responses to a creative prompt

Window mural

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Programming Venue

Programming & Events:

Talks & Lectures

Workshops

Art Classes

Community Gathering Space

Performance Stage

Short-run Performances:

Dance

Theater

Comedy

Music

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Art Installation

Gallery Space:

Paintings

Sculptures

Installations

Photography

Windows On Hub

Welcome Center:

Neighborhood Info

Windows On Guides

Local culture & activities

 
 
 
 

CASE STUDY: DOWNTOWN CHICAGO

PROJECT: Wabash Windows

PROJECT PARTNER: Chicago Loop Alliance

As part of Chicago Loop Alliance’s (CLA) broad Transforming Wabash initiative, CLA invited Common Place Projects to activate a strip of Wabash Ave. in Chicago’s Loop. With the street’s many vacant storefronts, Common Place Projects proposed, developed, and implemented an activation of the storefronts’ windows by curating a diverse group of artists from across the Chicagoland area and inviting them to paint murals directly onto the interior side of the glass. While each window showcased the artists’ distinct styles, a shared color palette inspired by the 100th anniversary of Bauhaus was used to tie the murals together and create a cohesive viewing experience for passersby.

 

The program sought to elevate the Wabash retail corridor, attract the attention of potential tenants, beautify the area for commuters and passersby, as well as provide a platform for local artists to share their work and connect people to the city and the creatives that live there.

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PARK PLACE

Urban Placemaking

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