The Collection: Where Art Meets Fashion at Fashion Outlets of Chicago Unveils Michael C. Thorpe Commission for Inaugural Purchase Prize at EXPO CHICAGO

photo credit: George Almaraz

Via PR

ROSEMONT, Ill. – THE COLLECTION: Where Art Meets Fashion, the multifaceted contemporary art program located within Fashion Outlets of Chicago with support from the Village of Rosemont, today announced the artist chosen to create a work for its inaugural Purchase Prize at the 11th edition of EXPO CHICAGO. As part of its ongoing sponsorship of the exposition, Fashion Outlets has chosen Michael C. Thorpe to create a custom artwork to join THE COLLECTION’s 23 large-scale installations.

"I am humbled and honored to be a part of THE COLLECTION at Fashion Outlets of Chicago in their outstanding collection of contemporary art. I'm a firm believer that art is for everyone, and this kind of setting draws people of all kinds to engage with objects and aesthetics,” said Thorpe. “It means the world to me that people who may not typically interact with art in its more formal settings have the opportunity to see my work. That’s what it’s all about."

The commission, titled house Lou Jones built, is a quilted work reflective of his artistic practice, executed through his inventive use of textiles, fabrics and quilting techniques. Inspired by artist Lou Jones, the piece is an interpretation of the beginnings of Thorpe’s art career and the home studio of his mentor.

“Michael C. Thorpe’s inventive, unique approach to artistic fabrication makes the perfect addition to THE COLLECTION,” said Jim Hansen, Senior Property Manager at Fashion Outlets of Chicago. “We’re thrilled to present this inaugural Purchase Prize at this year’s edition of EXPO CHICAGO as the first textile-based commission for THE COLLECTION.”

Michael C. Thorpe describes himself as a painter working in fabric and thread upon a foundation of drawing which he views as the evolved practice of mark making akin to the stitches of quilt making. His compositions are born of long-term projects in which Thorpe is engaged – quilted paintings and works on paper that explore his surroundings, abstraction, letters and words as subjects; sculptural constructions created by combining found objects and quilting debris; and performance pieces emerging from the dedication to an idea. The result is a figurative and conceptual art that is as ingenious as it is uniquely contemporary.

Thorpe is represented by Anthony Gallery, Chicago.

About Michael C. Thorpe

Michael C. Thorpe was raised in Newton, MA and earned his BA from Emerson College in Boston, MA where he studied photojournalism.  Before his first solo exhibition, Thorpe attracted the attention of NPR, who wrote an article about his story and dedication to creating art in the medium of quilting.  Press articles about Michael C. Thorpe have been published in Artscope Magazine, Boston Art Review, The Boston Globe, CNN Style, Cultured Magazine, Howl, and PBS, among others.  Thorpe was recently featured in a Dove Men+Care television commercial and he participated in a collaboration with Nike and the NBA for the league’s 75th anniversary. Works by Michael C. Thorpe have been added to the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and numerous private collections around the country.  Thorpe was included in Storied Strings: The Guitar in American Art, an exhibition organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, that opened in October 2022 and later traveled to the Frist Art Museum in Nashville.  Thorpe’s work was also included in Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories, organized and first presented at the MFA Boston in 2021 and then at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA through March 2023.  In the Spring of 2023, the Paul R. Jones Museum, University of Alabama presented a solo museum exhibition, Michael C. Thorpe: Nonsensical Formalism.  Recently, Thorpe's work was included in Birds in Art, organized by Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, WI.  In 2024, Michael C. Thorpe will have one person exhibitions at four museums in four states - California Heritage Museum (Santa Monica, CA), The Delaware Contemporary (Wilmington, DE), Fuller Craft Museum (Brockton, MA), and Hickory Museum of Art (Hickory, NC).

About THE COLLECTION: Where Art Meets Fashion

THE COLLECTION: Where Art Meets Fashion is a multifaceted contemporary art program located within Macerich’s Fashion Outlets of Chicago, with support from the Village of Rosemont. Components of THE COLLECTION include 24 permanent commissions and a rotating exhibition series located throughout the common area of the shopping center. The public art program has invested in works by Daniel Arsham, Derrick Adams, Carlos Rolón Dzine, Jen Stark, Matthew Hoffman, and many more. THE COLLECTION’s rotating exhibitions feature work by a variety of artists displayed in glass cases located throughout Level Two of the shopping center. For more information, visit

About Fashion Outlets of Chicago

Fashion Outlets of Chicago is an award-winning 530,000 square-foot, two-level indoor shopping center that is home to more than 130 designer outlets, an impressive contemporary art collection known as THE COLLECTION and high-end amenities. The one-of-a-kind upscale outlet property that redefines and elevates the outlet shopping experience, is located at 5220 Fashion Outlets Way in Rosemont –minutes from O’Hare International Airport and Chicagoland’s major highways. For more information, visit