A breakdown of the Evanston art scene


Illustration by Angeli Mittal

For those looking for an artistic outlet, Evanston offers a wide range of creative opportunities.

Audrey Hettleman

Whether you’re looking to get inspired by the creativity of local residents or craft works of your own, Evanston boasts a wealth of artistic talent and opportunities. 

Our North Shore home has a significant artist population. From a multitude of galleries, to a collection of theatres telling diverse stories, Evanston’s arts scene is blooming. 

If you’re looking to explore the rich arts scene that surrounds Northwestern’s campus, here are a few places to start. 


Evanston Made has been around since 2013 and became a certified nonprofit in 2020. 

Founded by Evanston Arts Council co-Chair Lisa Degliantoni in 2013, this  community engagement initiative aims to bring opportunities to the city’s artists while involving other residents. 

The organization has more than 400 registered members. Many of these members are artists — painters, textile-makers, musicians and more — while others are simply local art lovers who wish to support the cause. The group hosts a show as well as multiple gallery walks year-round. It also has networking opportunities, an event calendar and discounts at partnering businesses. 

For art supplies, check out Blick Art Materials in Church Street Plaza. For those looking for a more sustainable source, check out the WasteShed on Hartrey Avenue, which sells donated art and school supplies. 


Dance Center Evanston offers classes for all ages. Adult classes in tap, hip-hop, ballet and more cost $15-$16 per class.

The center also hosts the Evanston Dance Ensemble, which hosts performances in the spring. The ensemble also has a subsidiary, Ede2, which aims to bring dance performance to community theaters in underserved areas. 


Music lovers don’t even need to leave Evanston to listen to great performances. Live music hall Evanston SPACE hosts a variety of musicians, with past performers including The Lumineers and Alabama Shakes. Its upcoming “Out of Space” performance series will feature Elvis Costello, Car Seat Headrest and more.

The city also hosts the Starlight Concert and Movie Series over the summer. These concerts extend into the fall, with the last one on Nov. 6 at the Levy Senior Center.

If you’re a music student wanting to get involved in the Evanston community, look no further than Evanston Young Artists. The organization needs Bienen School of Music students to teach the next generation of North Shore virtuosos. Founded by NU students in 2018, this organization seeks to make music education accessible to everyone and looks to college students for help.


When looking for great theatre, don’t count out community-centered productions in Evanston. 

Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre performs African American and African diaspora-centered stories.  Founded in 1979, the venue welcomes performers, playwrights, costume designers and others of amateur to professional experience levels. Its most recent play was “The Mamalogues,” which centers on the struggles that single, Black, middle-class mothers face. 

Mudlark Theater Company hosts residencies, classes and camps for young performers. It put on five productions during its spring season, some of which were performed outdoors. While NU students are out of the age range for program participants, Mudlark looks for volunteers to help support its staff. Volunteers can help plan Larkabout, the theater’s spring benefit event, develop fundraising strategies or sell box office and concession items. 

Centered in Wilmette, the 2nd Act Players focuses on subjects that impact people in the latter halves of their lifetimes — think chronic illness, divorce, familial dynamics and the like. The theatre opened in 2013.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @AudreyHettleman 

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