Dear Members,

As we head into what is perhaps our most “high profile” time of year at The Magnificent Mile Association, planning for The BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival on Friday and Saturday, November 22 & 23, I am thrilled to announce the appointment of Kimberly Bares as President/CEO. Kimberly brings 25+ years of experience and a proven expertise in commercial district management, governance, strategic planning, and placemaking. She officially starts work at the Association on Tuesday, September 3.

I want to thank the Search Committee composed of: Committee Co-Chair Rick Simon, Holly Agra, Rob Christie, Grant DePorter, Patrick Donelly, Lee Golub, Derrick Johnson, Stan Nitzberg, Lori Olson, Donovan Pepper, Donna Pugh, Mary Ann Rose and Peter Simoncelli. I look forward to a bright future with Kimberly at the helm and ask you join me in welcoming her as she leads this great Association.

In preparing for the busy Holiday season, The Magnificent Mile Association is proud to partner once again on Hospitality Hires Chicago. This event provides a strategic approach to bringing together high demand industry professionals with employers; and this season the event will focus on the retail sector. Register now as an employer at the next event on Wednesday, September 25 at the Palmer House Hilton. Many of our members have taken advantage of this program and have had great success. I look forward to seeing you there.

We will conclude our summer of public art by celebrating the Water Tower’s 150th Anniversary. In honor of this iconic Chicago landmark – and one the of the only buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire – we are installing 20+ custom-painted, 5-foot-tall replicas of the Historic Water Tower along The Magnificent Mile from September 9 thru October 18. If you have an interest in sponsoring or buying an art piece, please contact Ashley Gordon ( for details.

On Saturday, September 14, the Association will partner with the City of Chicago (including the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Department of Water Management, Chicago Public Library, Chicago Fire Department, Department of Planning and Development), the newly-formed Water Tower Arts District and its members (including the Lookingglass Theatre Company, Richard H. Driehaus Museum, and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, among others), AIA Chicago, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, and others for a day-long neighborhood festival to celebrate the sesquicentennial of the Historic Water Tower. Free programming will include family activities, lectures, tours, theater performances, public art, and exhibitions—along with food trucks, dining discounts, and complimentary admission to nearby cultural institutions.

Public art is flourishing around the district. On September 21, Art on the MART, the largest permanent digital art projection in the world, will unveil new site-specific commissions by Charles Atlas and Petra Cortright. The approximately 25-minute program will be unveiled with a free public launch event on September 21 in alignment with EXPO ART WEEK (September 16 – 22). EXPO CHICAGO, The International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art, returns to Navy Pier’s Festival Hall on September 19, featuring leading international galleries, panel programs, onsite installation, and citywide public art initiatives.