Meet the people who light up Chicago's skyline with messages on the Blue Cross Blue Shield building

Leah Hope Image
ByLeah Hope via WLS logo
Thursday, November 24, 2022
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When you see the message in Chicago's skyline, know there are a team of folks working to add meaning to our celebrations and to a variety of issues.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The south side of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois building takes on a new note for Chicagoans.

"It takes a lot of people, a lot of floors, a lot of shades going up and down," said Roy Swanson, head electrician for Terrence Electric.

The building's electricians and housekeeping teams were busy closing and opening window shades so the white lights in the offices will spell their latest message and the rest of the office lighting is blocked.

Light colors around the columns are controlled by a computer.

"Sometimes, there's still people in the building and people will open or close a shade and once I see it, [I] have to run upstairs and adjust that shade again," Swanson said.

The messages must be short.

Ashley Bullock is the Communications Consultant who creates them.

The day before Thanksgiving, the building will read "Give Thanks."

"It can definitely be tricky trying to find something that represents a cause or holiday in just three words and up to seven letters, but we make it work," Bullock said.

So when you see the message in Chicago's skyline, know there are a team of folks working to add meaning to our celebrations and to a variety of issues.

"It takes a village to create these messages. Each letter is five floors alone, so it does take a large presence, but it's definitely worth it," Bullock said.

"I want everybody to be happy. I want everyone to enjoy. It's been a rough year [and] it's been a rough couple of years, so it's kinda nice, you know," Swanson added. "Hopefully, they are able to see the message out there and enjoy their day."

"Give Thanks" can be seen through Friday evening.