Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Evanston Arts Council brings together creative community at local art mixer

Anavi Prakash/The Daily Northwestern
Local artists converse at the Evanston Arts Council’s mixer Wednesday night.

About 20 art professionals attended a get-together hosted by the Evanston Arts Council Wednesday night. 

The event, held at Wine Goddess on Main Street, aimed to give local artists and residents interested in art an opportunity to connect with each other, according to James Deeb, a member of the council and a local painter. 

The Evanston Arts Council largely focuses on giving grants to artists in Evanston to help fund their initiatives. 

“That’s what we do behind the scenes to help other people who are more public-facing do what they want to do,” Deeb said. 

These mixers were a new addition to the Art Council’s calendar last year, according to Vice Chair Krista Fabian DeCastro. 

She said her goal is to get more artists involved with the organization, in hopes of increasing the number of applicants for their grants. 

“Then we’re able to give funding, not only to more Evanston-based artists and organizations, but (also to) new and fresh voices,” she said. 

Ginny Ching-Yin Lo has received grants since 2016 for her dance company, Identity Performing Arts. The organization gives free dance lessons to students in underserved communities in Evanston and the surrounding area. 

For Ching-Yin Lo, these events are a “great idea.” She said she loves them because she gets to meet and engage with the council as well as other people involved in Evanston’s creative community. 

“I got to talk to other people not (in) my discipline, but what are they doing? What do they benefit (from)? I think it may open doors in the future, maybe some collaboration among the artists or art organization,” she said.

The council has two grant programs funded by the city, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Illinois Arts Council Agency, according to Fabian DeCastro.

The Arts Council also helps host A Bright Night for the Arts each November, an annual event where the mayor presents the Mayor’s Awards for the Arts.

Ching-Yin Lo won a Mayor’s Award for the Arts in 2021, something she credits the Arts Council for. 

“I’m really grateful. It’s all connected with the council,” she said. 

The Arts Council’s largest subcommittee is the Public Art Working Group, which funds public artwork in Evanston. 

To advance their efforts, Fabian DeCastro said the Arts Council has been working with various city departments to create more representation for public art.

“One thing we’ve really been working on is building relationships within the different departments in the city of Evanston so that the arts are always represented at the table (in) different conversations, whether they’re economic development or other things like that,” she said.

For Deeb, these efforts have not gone unnoticed. Over the 20 years he has lived in Evanston, he said he’s watched the arts become a more “integrated” part of the community. 

Fabian DeCastro said the council’s work is important because of how “vital” the arts are to the Evanston community. 

“Evanston is really a very creative place in many ways,” she said. “But I also think we have a long way to go in terms of what we can do to bring all of the creative people who live here and all the work that they do (together to) make it more meaningful to everybody who lives in Evanston.”

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @anavi_52

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