Photo by Karina Wang

Artists, art lovers, and two U-Haul trucks parked end to end on Ashland Avenue between Crain and Greenleaf streets made for a mellow evening recently.

Neighbors, friends of the artists, passers-by and various kids and dogs wandered up and down the ramps that led into the two “galleries,” one in each U-Haul.  Fifteen artists offered their paintings, prints, drawings and textile art for mounting in the two U-Hauls during the evening event. 

Artruck is the inspiration of Julie Cowan, an artist and resident of Ashland Avenue. The first Artruck exhibit was last October, and the most recent was on June 1.  Ms. Cowan and her husband, Neil Good, contact the artists, rent the U-Hauls, put up the lights and hang the show, with installation help from John Serafin.

The June 1 Artruck had the added bonus of baker David Bond’s  “bread car” parked across the street, making the evening satisfying in other ways, as visitors ate fresh bread and baked goods. 

Ms. Cowan says, “Evanston has a reputation of having an active artist’s community, a creative community. But I don’t feel it most of the time. As an artist, I was always waiting for someone else to create an opportunity to show my art, looking for a new gallery or exhibition where I could show. And then this idea struck me as a way to show work, to offer the space for other artists as well and have an interesting evening where people connect.

“We rented the trucks, and Neil figured out how to use construction lighting to illuminate the trucks and securely hang the work… the gallery was prepared within a few hours and with little money.”

It seems that Artruck is a quick and easy way to get art and art lovers together, giving them a chance to consider the art they see and to feel a part of a creative community.

Perhaps Ms. Cowan and Mr. Good will take it on the road someday.

Ellen Galland

Ellen Galland has had an architectural practice in Evanston since 1983. For more than 20 years, she has written articles for the RoundTable, including the column “Ask An Architect" and "The Green Column"...