Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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New arts fund hopes to bring sculptures to Evanston

In Skokie, public sculptures stretch from Howard Street to Dempster Street along the city’s border with Evanston.

But if founders of a new Evanston arts fund have their way, the sculptures will be extended north to the Evanston-Wilmette border on McCormick Boulevard.

Also on the agenda: art on Chicago Transit Authority bridges, arts scholarships for students, sculptures in downtown Evanston, sculptures along the lakefront — and raising at least $10,000.

“The city doesn’t put much money into the arts — it can’t, really,” said Ron Kysiak, chairman for Friends of the Arts, the primary benefactor of a new arts fund. “We’re supposed to be the center of arts and culture, but if you look around you have a hard time finding the art. This is a private reaction to what we consider a lack of funding for the arts in Evanston, and we aim to do something about it.”

Friends of the Arts is one of two initiatives created last year to bolster the Evanston art community. The Foundation for the Arts will work directly with artists, social service organizations and students. Friends of the Arts will fund the foundation’s projects.

The idea for an arts fund originated more than a year ago because none of the several Evanston arts organizations had enough money to support new projects, Kysiak said.

“We would like to see Evanston known as a center for art,” he said. “Right now there’s a lot of people who are sort of unhappy with the new development they’re seeing. … If people want to make the community more beautiful and appealing, one of the ways they can do that is support what we’re trying to do.”

To form a stable endowment, $10,000 must be raised before any money can be allocated, said Laura Saviano, chairwoman of the Public Arts Committee, which shares leadership with Foundation for the Arts and Friends of the Arts.

“This is just the beginning. This is just the grassroots,” Saviano said. “We’re not (at $10,000) yet; we’re nowhere near there.”

The groups were recently designated as non-profit organizations. Friends of the Arts is waiting for tax-exempt status so that contributors can write off donations. In the meantime, both groups are seeking community input.

“We’re looking for ideas, what kind of people want to leave a legacy behind them in public art,” Kysiak said.

Kysiak said he wants to include anyone willing to contribute, including Northwestern students. She said she hopes to involve the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art and NU’s art department in supporting the new programs.

“We would like to have students be involved if they want to be, not just students with a strong arts background,” he said. “You don’t have to be an artist to appreciate the arts.”

But it will be years before any concrete results are seen, Saviano said.

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New arts fund hopes to bring sculptures to Evanston