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The City of Evanston, the Evanston Community Foundation and the Evanston Arts Council are collaborating to gather public input on the arts in Evanston and to generate recommendations for policy, programs and infrastructure. The recommendations will foster a more dynamic and coordinated climate for the arts in Evanston for artists, the creative economy and the City’s residents. This cross-community collaboration will suggest a “Roadmap for the Arts” in Evanston.

The first phase of this effort, from September 2012 to January 2013, seeks to identify the diverse perspectives on arts and culture from community members who care about the arts in Evanston, whether they are artists, patrons, business professionals, parents or students. The initiative will include public listening sessions, an online survey, stakeholder interviews, focus groups and more.

The collaboration is spearheaded by a seven-person working group. Members are representatives of the City of Evanston, the Evanston Community Foundation and the Evanston Arts Council along with nonprofit consultant Amina Dickerson.

Whether people attend a meeting or not, they are invited to share their thoughts about the arc of arts experiences, current and potential, in Evanston through an online survey. The survey will be available September 16 through October 7 at www.evanstarts.org. Additional information will be posted at the web site starting September 10, 2012.

The vision that is discovered during the first phase will provide the foundation for a more extensive planning effort to be undertaken by the Arts Council in collaboration with the Community Foundation and other local groups. There will be a more comprehensive, multi-year plan to develop and integrate arts into overall city planning efforts. Preliminary findings and recommendations will be shared with the public for comment at two open community meetings in November. The final report will be issued in January 2013.

 The cross-community working group will conduct the following five public listening sessions:

• Sept. 20, 10 a.m. to noon at the Music Institute of Chicago (1490 Chicago Ave.)

• Sept. 20, 7 to 9 p.m. at Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center (1655 Foster St.)

• Sept. 24, 7 to 9 p.m. at Oakton Elementary School (436 Ridge Ave.)

• Oct. 5, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ecology Center (2024 McCormick Blvd)

• Oct. 6, 10 a.m. to noon at the Block Museum of Art (40 Arts Circle Dr. on the NU Campus)