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 Paints helps children and adults find their inner artist

Aviva Bechky/Daily Senior Staffer
Maeve Bowen, 7, helps paint a communal project at the Robert Crown Community Center on Saturday.

On Saturday afternoon, children and adults alike crouched along 25-feet-long pieces of blank paper on the floor at the Robert Crown Community Center. They drew circles and filled them in with colorful paint before adding petals, stems and leaves. Soon, a cheery, whimsical design emerged.

The event was Evanston Paints, a workshop hosted by the local arts group Evanston Made to encourage people of all ages to get creative with a communal project. Over the course of Saturday afternoon, about 70 people painted six strips of paper, each one bright with spirals, flowers and dots. Evanston Made plans to hold a similar workshop again in May and then display the works of art at the Evanston Art Center starting June 1.

Kathe Stoepel, a member of Evanston Made, suggested holding the event, inspired by the communal art project Ideal Exhibition with Hervé Tullet. Years ago, she did a similar event in Lake Forest, Illinois, and wanted to bring something similar to the Evanston community, she said.

“Kids’ art is great — I just like how they’re uninhibited,” Stoepel said. “We’re also making the point that everybody’s an artist. So, anybody that wants to come and draw can do it.”

Evanston Made member Sholo Beverly directed the workshop. She guided everyone through the activity step by step, instructing people to start with circles, switch places along the paper and add decorative flourishes.

Both she and Evanston Made artist Liz Brent said they were excited to see how everyone turned Beverly’s instructions into pieces of art.

“This is a very loose and free art experience where everybody’s working on circles and lines,” Brent said. “So, it’ll be interesting to see how people create their own.”

For Delphine Declerck, who turns 7 this week, adding her own flourishes meant painting green squiggles and purple raindrops. She said her favorite part was turning her drawings into flowers.

Delphine’s mother, Evanston resident Ke Gong, said she found it meaningful to create a work of art with so many other people. The event, she said, was definitely up her family’s alley.

“(Delphine) loves to draw,” Gong said. “We both draw at home, so I figured it’d be a fun mother-daughter bonding experience.”

Elsewhere, Brian Bowen and Caroline Kerns brought three kids — though the youngest, about six months old, didn’t join in on the art. Maeve and Nell Bowen, ages 7 and 4, painted geometric and swirly designs in purple, blue and red.

Maeve Bowen, who loves drawing unicorns and emojis at home, said she was “enjoying all of it.” Her parents were happy to see her and Nell collaborate on an art project with other kids, they said.

“We just love exposing our kids to new creative opportunities,” Brian Bowen said. “The earlier that they have a chance to make art, the more excited they’ll be about making it for themselves.”

Volunteer Jamie Thome said she was delighted to see all the families, including the Bowens, bringing young kids to the event.

Though she had to stay by the check-in table to talk to newcomers, Thome said she could peek over and feel the joy of the event.

“It’s fantastic that people came out on a beautiful day to make art together and create these wonderful paintings,” she said.

Lisa Degliantoni, co-director of Evanston Made and event producer for Saturday’s workshop, said she loves helping generate that excitement.

“We really feel that one of the most gratifying parts of our work is when we are able to connect artists to the community in a way that makes everybody feel like they’re an artist,” she said. “And that’s really fun with events like this because everybody feels like they contributed.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @avivabechky

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