evanston art connects...

During the summer months of the pandemic, Evanston artists, business owners and residents began spontaneously putting art up outside of their houses and in storefronts.  From front door messages for delivery people and mailbox signs for postal workers, to large-scale banners on porches and storefronts, lawn ornaments wishing friends and family happy birthday, and congratulatory signs for our graduates...  it was a beautiful, creative expression of community!  

The restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic challenged our ways of thinking about community art and arts engagement. This organic form of communication and connection was a source of inspiration.  We wondered... what would it be like if all Evanston residents and business owners displayed art throughout the city?  There are over 75,000 people living and working in Evanston!  So, through a city-wide coalition of the City of Evanston, D65, Evanston Made, local organizations, and residents across Evanston, the Evanston Art Connects initiative was created.  The goal was to get EVERYONE making art. All ages, abilities, skill levels and disciplines on every street, in every neighborhood, and display it on front lawns, sidewalks, doorways, streets, trees, garage doors, storefronts, and alleyways.  Together planned to “art-bomb” Evanston with homemade art, signs, banners, sculptures, installations, chalk art, performances, etc. to honor our front line workers, spotlight our community helpers, celebrate our graduates, and more!  

 

The result was incredible.  So many participants helped to turn Evanston into a city-wide art gallery. The event was a testament to the resilience and strength rooted in our community, and an illustration of the power of art to help connect and heal.

Evanston transforms into a city-wide art gallery!

From May 23 - June 6 there was a city-wide art invitation to walk and/or drive by the art work displayed all over town.  Evanston Made produced a map that listed all of the participating locations.  Evanstonians homes, streets, blocks, front yards, causeway trees, sidewalks, and storefronts who had art on display could be included on the map to help visitors know where to walk or drive by.

Free art materials for Evanston kids and families!

As part of the Evanston Art Connects initiative, we teamed up with Evanston Made and ArtMakers Outpost to distribute free art kits to kids and families. We wanted to make sure that everyone who wanted to participate had access to materials at home.  What started out as a small initiative turned into widespread effort led by Kids Create Change to collect, assemble and distribute art kits to kids and families with limited access to materials.  We distributed over 1,000 art kits!  This initiative is now an ongoing effort by Kids Create Change to ensure that all kids and families have access to art materials and arts engagement through our Access Art Initiative.  For more information click here.

galleries

Evanston artist Cynthia Kerby created these awesome signs to thank our tireless, fearless postal workers!  Here are the directions and a link to the signs so that you can print them out and post them too!

Directions: Make your own shout out for our mail carriers! Decorate your mailbox. Copy and print a sign, wrap in plastic and tape it on! 

 

Postal Worker Gratitude Signs

Photo & Art by @cynthiakerby.trueideas

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