Evanston Made hosts month-long celebration honoring Earth Day

Claire O’Shaughnessy, Reporter

When you’re walking outdoors in Evanston this month, watch your step — you might run into a piece of art.

Throughout April, local arts organization Evanston Made is reprising its annual Art for the Earth month with art installations, workshops, film screenings and more. Community members are encouraged to create their own “nature art” with materials found outdoors and to share them on social media.

Now in its third year, Art for the Earth uses art to educate and inspire, according to Evanston Made co-director Liz Cramer.

“We feel that people engage differently through art,” Cramer said. “It’s not another lecture, it’s not another doom and gloom book.”

Cramer said too many people feel powerless in the face of large-scale environmental issues, so Art for the Earth makes an effort to remain action-focused, emphasizing what individuals and communities can do.

“It’s actually something they can feel good about and know there are things they can still do that will make a difference,” Cramer said.

To bring the community together, Evanston Made teamed up with other sustainability-focused organizations this year. On April 1, Evanston Made co-hosted a kick-off party with local organizations Art Makers Outpost, Citizens’ Greener Evanston, Evanston ReBuilding Warehouse and The WasteShed.

The event featured artist demonstrations, hands-on activities and local art from repurposed materials. About 200 people attended, according to Cramer. She emphasized the value of incorporating organizations, advocating for education, climate awareness and environmental justice.

Lisa Haskin, local artist and Evanston Made member, sold coasters she made from old bathroom tiles at the kick-off.

“It’s fun, it’s creative and it gets me thinking about ways to use things versus just throwing them away,” Haskin said. “Artists can give a different perspective on what it means to recycle and take care of our Earth.”

Art for the Earth’s upcoming events, including a community clean-up event, are detailed on the Evanston Made website.

Among the highlights is an installation entitled “Daily Walking” from artist Cécile Trentini at the 1100 Florence Gallery.

For last year’s festival, Trentini created a “sand tattoo” on Lee Street Beach by digging shallow ditches and filling them with red sand. The finished product was an outline of the Earth.

Trentini’s exhibit this year features works created from “photos, objects and thoughts” collected on her daily walks. Trentini spent seven years developing a total of 49 pieces, eight or nine of which she said will be shown in the exhibition.

“(Art) can make it easier for (people) to look at certain issues because the art might be nice to look at, might be beautiful, while still thought provoking,” Trentini said.

The Art for the Earth month calendar also features the LEVIATHAN presentation at the Block Museum of Art on April 16 and the Generations of Environmental Justice all-night “teach out” at Alice Millar Chapel on April 22.

Cramer said bringing the community together is a central mission of the event.

“We really invite everyone from Northwestern to come and explore,” Cramer said. “This is about the next step — not just celebrating Earth month, but making every day Earth month.”

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Twitter: @claireosh

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Evanston Made’s Art for the Earth event showcases nature art around the city