Evanston looks to fill downtown arts panel

Edward Cox, Reporter

The city is beginning its recruitment process for a committee that will decide whether a performing arts center in downtown Evanston is viable.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl is looking to appoint nine members to staff the Downtown Performing Arts Center Task Force, which will include Downtown Evanston executive director Carolyn Dellutri, a member of the Evanston Chamber of Commerce board, and a Northwestern representative. Potential members have until Nov. 8 to submit an application on the city’s website.

Once the members are picked, the city hopes the task force can finish its work and report back to City Council in the next six months.

University spokesman Al Cubbage said NU would be “happy to participate” in the task force, though it has not picked its representative yet.

In July, Ald. Mark Tendam (6th) suggested downtown Evanston as a possible site for a new performing arts center. His idea came after Piven Theatre Workshop asked the city for a $2.2 million loan to double its space in the Noyes Cultural Arts Center.

Tendam proposed moving performing arts groups from the arts center, which currently leases space to performance and visual artists, to a new downtown location. Some tenants of the arts center were concerned Piven might push out other tenants by expanding within the center.

Earlier this fall, city manager Wally Bobkiewicz cited a study that identified the need for four performing art centers in Evanston. Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the research was completed in December with the help of EvanstARTs, the Evanston Community Foundation and the Evanston Arts Council.

Patrick Svitek contributed reporting.

Edward Cox