Evanston Made, Canal Shores embrace the cold with a nature art treasure hunt


Courtesy of Jamie Thome

A piece of the Artists Book House tree. Artist Mardy Sears created a heart-shaped book insulated in a Plexiglass box.

Samantha Anderer, Reporter

To provide residents with an immersive outdoor art experience, Canal Shores Golf Course is hosting Winter Wonderland, a nature art display across the golf course’s 18 holes through the end of the month.

Visitors can trek through snow to view around 40 pieces of art. Canal Shores, in partnership with Downtown Evanston and Evanston Made, coordinated the “art treasure hunt” to promote the space’s dual function as a public park when golfers aren’t active.

“It’s a super interactive playground in the center of Evanston and Wilmette,” said Lisa Degliantoni, founder and executive director of Evanston Made. “Not everybody knows that.”

Degliantoni said the concept of Winter Wonderland was inspired by Evanston Made’s Evanston Art Connects events, which Degliantoni said are art installations throughout the community where residents can “stumble upon art in yards or store windows or trees.”

Artists of all skill-levels and locations across the country are welcome to submit art.

“The idea is that we get as many artists making and sharing as possible,” Degliantoni said.

Art pieces submitted to Winter Wonderland must be made from recycled materials and be able to sustain outdoor conditions.

Residents who choose to create an art piece can drop off their work at Degliantoni’s studio. Current installations include glass orbs and intricately painted bird houses. Artists looking for inspiration can attend Evanston Made art demonstrations, which are held every Saturday from 3-5 p.m. at the Canal Shores Club House fire pit.

Jamie Thome, a board member of community organization Artists Book House, started his art piece by tying two small paper books to the branches of a tree. As more members of Artists Book House learned of the venture and started adding their work to the tree, the project quickly blossomed into a sprawling display.

“I think it’s beautiful that we have things that are not necessarily books like we think about, but just items that are on the tree that are book-like,” Thome said.

In addition to creating their own miniature paper books, artists have also transformed novels into shapes such as hearts.

As new pieces have come in throughout the month, the course has been frequently updated. Its dynamic nature has drawn interests from residents like Natalie Rahn, whose house overlooks the golf course.

When walking their dog, Rahn and her husband explore different areas of the course, making it a game to locate every single art piece.

“I love that it’s not just something that was installed in one day and that it’s evolving,” Rahn said. “Every time I walk outside I see something different.”

Since the winter is the only season Canal Shores does not have golfers, Winter Wonderland’s planners have tried to use the snowy ground as an asset.

Thome and her fellow artists hope that the winter elements will interact with their art, changing it in unforeseen but beautiful ways. Rahn said the art is meant to fill the blank canvas of snow and enliven what some might find to be a dreary time of year.

“When it’s snowing and I look out there and see all those colors in the distance, it’s awesome,” Rahn said.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @SammyAnderer

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