Public art project to install color, inspiration downtown


Source: Jason Brown

Artwork by Evanston community members is displayed in Downtown Evanston to cheer people up in the winter. Artwork will be displayed in the next few months as part of “Winter HeARTh 2016: TryAngles.”

Kelley Czajka, Reporter


In a few weeks, Evanston’s Church Street Plaza will be decorated with vibrant, three-dimensional artwork in order to brighten the daily routines of people getting on and off the Metra.

Evanston community members will gather on Saturday and Sunday to decorate six canvases that will be displayed as a part of “Winter HeARTh 2016: TryAngles.”

Community Arts organizer Jason Brown started the Winter HeARTh Series two years ago as an effort to bring the community together and lift people’s spirits in the winter.

“The winter is this long expanse of time when we’re just gray and stay inside and do our own thing,” Brown said. “It’s a great time to challenge people to do community art, to get outside during the winter months into public spaces, and to doing something colorful.”

Brown added that past events have included “IceScape,” in which community members tie-dyed ice formations on Lee Street Beach with food coloring. Another previous event was “SplatterDance,” in which the City of Evanston and Downtown Evanston partnered with Dance Marathon to paint a canvas by dancing on it with wet paint then displaying it during DM.

For the project, Downtown Evanston provided six street banners to be repurposed as canvases. People will paint colorful triangles on the canvases and adorn them with bottle caps to add more color and texture to the pieces, Brown said.

Once they are finished, the canvases will be displayed on lattices in Church Street Plaza on the northwest corner of Church Street and Maple Avenue, Downtown Evanston’s business development and marketing manager Laura Brown said.

“Arts and cultural activities bring a lot to a community and they’re important both aesthetically but also important to bring people that live and work and just visit the community together,” Laura Brown said. “We’re looking forward to having that as part of the fabric of downtown Evanston and just promoting public art in Evanston”

Additionally, organizers will ask participants to reflect on the upcoming year and goals they might have, Jason Brown said. He added they will be encouraged to write their responses on the canvases.

“One of the questions is ‘What’s something new you’ll try this year?’” Jason Brown said. “Or the deeper questions of what you do in times of trial — I hope to encourage shared vulnerability and also create a sense of belonging with these kinds of questions but also these answers.”

The two-part event will take place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Levy Senior Center at 300 Dodge Ave. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Gibbs-Morrison Cultural Center at 1823 Church St. Jason Brown said they want encourage anyone to come and hope to dispel the idea that only artists can participate.

“Everyone is an artist,” he said. “So bring your creativity and an open mind.”

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Twitter: @kelleyczajka