Organizations discuss developing Evanston’s arts initiatives


Madeline Fox/The Daily Northwestern

Jennifer Lasik, the city’s cultural arts coordinator, talks Tuesday at a joint meeting of the Evanston Arts Council and the Public Art Committee. The councils met to discuss expanding the evanstARTs initiative into a brand for city arts efforts, as well as upcoming arts events.

Madeline Fox, Reporter

The Evanston Arts Council and the Public Art Committee met Tuesday to discuss expanding their evanstARTs initiative, used to develop the city’s art scene into a brand.

John Schroeder (Weinberg ’84, Kellogg ’87) presented the organization’s findings on the evanstARTs initiative as a viable brand. Schroeder is part of the Kellogg Community-Alumni Network, or CAN, an organization of Kellogg School of Management alumni who work in the Evanston community to help nonprofits with their marketing, analysis and research needs.

EvanstARTs was created as a community arts roadmap report to gather public input on the arts in Evanston to create recommendations for policy, programs and infrastructure. Kellogg CAN found that the name could be used going forward as an umbrella brand for all arts initiatives in Evanston, Schroeder said.

“Umbrella branding is a clear best practice of most sophisticated local arts organizations — it’s the catalyst that unleashes the potential of individual arts organizations,” Schroeder said. “Our judgment on evanstARTs as this brand, based on what we’ve heard, is that it’s pretty darn good.”

Schroeder also outlined several steps the committee could take moving forward, including tracking the fiscal impact of arts events on the community, forming a network group with other successful arts organizations and reaching out to Northwestern, a partnership that Jennifer Lasik, the city’s cultural arts coordinator, agreed is in need of work.

“That partnership and collaboration is missing, and we could really benefit from it,” she said.

Council members discussed reaching out to the University as a whole, rather than just its arts organizations, such as the Block Museum of Art and The Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts, which the city has partnered with in the past.

The councils also discussed the future of the Next Theatre Company, which closed November 10 due to financial troubles.

“We do have a lot of people vying for the space,” Lasik said.

The space left by the theater at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center will be available for short-term rent until May 31, 2015, after which the city may find a permanent lessee or leave it open as a flexible space for short-term rent.

Council members reviewed upcoming events in the city’s art community, including an upcoming installation called Art Under Glass and the second annual Winter HeARTh, which consists of a series of arts events.

Art Under Glass will place art from 11 local artists in open storefront windows of unleased spaces downtown. The installation will kick off Nov. 29 with a reception featuring the artists, followed by an artist walk to the included buildings, council member Fran Joy said.

The Winter HeARTh events series may include a collaboration with NU Dance Marathon, said city staffer Jason Brown, who is involved in planning the event. This partnership would replace the previous one with NUDM for the annual tree lighting, for which the timing did not work out this year, Brown said.

“Potentially we’d like to partner with them on something performance-arts based,” Brown said. “Last year’s events were visual arts-based, so it would be coold to do something with performance art.”

Last year’s Winter HeARTh events included a yarn-bombing at the library and creating colored ice on the beach using squirt guns of food coloring and water.

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