Evanston artist Bill Bridges holds “Sidelined,” a photograph to be exhibited in Central Street’s Art Walk, a part of Arts + Humanities month.

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For the next month, the community of Evanston will be the backdrop, the canvas, the setting and the soundboard for visual and performing artists. Too expansive for just one week, the appreciation of Evanston art and culture – formerly known as Arts Week Evanston – is now Arts + Humanities Month.

The celebration begins with a free opening-night reception at 6 p.m. on Oct. 2 at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St. Designed for all ages, the evening will include an improv set from Piven Theatre’s teen performers, a ballroom dance showcase, a performance by singer/songwriter Justin Lewis and a showcase from Next Theatre’s current production of “boom.” And the next four weeks will be packed with theater performances, concerts, author programs and art sales.

Highlights include an Expanding Visions Art Tour on Oct. 7, a walking tour of Daniel Burnham’s Evanston neighborhood on Oct. 10, the annual Dance Showcase on Oct. 11 and the Evanston Symphony Orchestra’s gala season opening concert on Oct. 25.

Again this year, Central Street merchants present an arts walk, with shop windows exhibiting the works of local artists.

Dance Showcase 2009, a tribute to dance in all forms, features local professional and amateur dance companies performing for audiences of all ages. Among the companies performing this year are Giordano 3, Evanston Dance Ensemble, The Cartier Collective, Elements Contemporary Ballet, Evanston School of Ballet, Enid Smith, B.L.A.S.T., Be the Groove and Kaleidoscope Dance Ensemble. The Dance Showcase is free and open to all.

A full schedule of events can be found at www.cityofevanston.org/artsmonth.