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Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

Uptown Building Will Use Its Windows For A Giant, 3-Story Advent Calendar

Wilson Abbey will be transformed into a three-story-tall Advent calendar with holiday art in its windows.

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CHICAGO — A three-story Uptown building is turning into a massive Advent calendar for December.

Wilson Abbey, 935 W. Wilson Ave., will transform its windows with art starting Dec. 1, revealing one more window every day until the final one is lit up for the public late on Christmas Eve.

The windows will be decorated with art from locals and from Karl Sullivan, the art director of the project, and his collaborator, Suzanne Stewart.

This is the third year the Wilson Abbey’s windows have been transformed into an Advent calendar, but it’s the first year the art will take up all three stories of the building.

“I’ve seen cars stop and slowly drive by kind of in astonishment because you’re not expecting it in this neighborhood, all these windows filled with art and light kind of in the middle of December,” Sullivan said. “It’s this beautiful artwork and it kind of takes you away.”

The artwork will include paintings, graphic designs and sculptures, Sullivan said. The ground floor and second floors will have artwork representing Earth while the third floor will focus on Heaven.

Overall, the windows this year will have “celestial themes with a mix of magic realism,” according to a news release. One window will have Tuskegee Airmen representing the three wise men from the Nativity of Jesus.

Sullivan and Stewart have been working on this year’s calendar windows since June.

They continue to do the Advent calendar because they have “the desire to share art and beauty with the neighborhood and the people outside,” Sullivan said. “Not wanting to keep it inside but have it outward-facing so that people can just have a moment of joy or beauty as they’re driving by or walking by.”

The building’s windows will be covered after Thanksgiving, and the windows and their artwork will start being revealed on Dec. 1.

The art will remain up for about a week after Christmas, Sullivan said.

More photos of the Advent windows:

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The Advent windows in past years.
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The Advent windows in past years.
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Artwork that will be featured in the 2018 Advent windows.
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Artwork that will be featured in the 2018 Advent windows.
Credit: Provided
Artwork that will be featured in the 2018 Advent windows.