Cut, paste, create at  EPL Bad Art Night. Photo by Natalie Wainwright

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A grand exhibit of the artwork of library patrons made through Library programs was held from 1 to 3 p.m. on Aug. 2 in the Community Meeting Room at the Evanston Public Library. The results of “Bad Art Night,” all of the entries in the Jugando con la Ciencia art contest and the handcrafted results of other summer EPL contests, workshops and events – felt animals, handmade paper and more – were exhibited for public delectation.

Bad Art Night
“Do You Love to Create, But Feel Your Skills Are Lacking?” was the opening line of the event poster for “Bad Art Night,” a workshop offered by the Evanston Public Library’s Adult Summer Reading Program.

 EPL Readers’ Adviser Kim Hiltwein facilitated “Bad Art Night” on the last evening of July, guiding the artistic efforts of 18 self-deprecating adult (and one teen) attendees. She said her remarks about her own lack of ability had inspired coworker Heather Norborg to come up with the suggestion that Ms. Hiltwein lead an event for “those who love to create, but feel [their] skills are lacking.”
 Most, if not all, of the group of 18 women and one man were from Evanston, and several had work connections to the Library. The RoundTable was privileged to join the workshop (and to create some inadequate art of its own) with the fabric and textured paper scraps, magazines to cut up, ribbons, stamps and ink pads, glue, scissors, paint, markers, pastels, boxes, cups and more that the Library provided.

Fay had considered making a necklace by gluing pictures from magazines and other objects onto an old record album. She was troubled with some indecision, however, even while putting the last touches on it.

Megan Hering said her piece was definitely wall art. She said she “wanted to play with stuff … and liked the freedom” the workshop offered.
 Christine Douglas’s fascinating “Don’t Feed the Animals” tiger-in-a-cage wearable mortarboard-apron ensemble was inspired by what was more or less an epiphany. She said, “I saw this picture of a tiger and it all came rushing at me at once.”
Stuart Novy, whose piece was one of the few (another appeared to be the head of a unicorn) to distend into the third dimension, said, “I saw those cups, and they screamed, ‘Take me.’ So I took ’em.”

 Every group contains at least one person who cannot help making something impressive. Greta Connor combined a magazine cut-out of Roy Lichtenstein’s “Pistol” with Candyland colors and actual gumdrops to make “USA Gun Love,” a new bold and expressive piece from something that had said a lot in its original form.

 Roy Lichtenstein’s 1964 original became the cover of the June 21, 1968, issue of TIME magazine – right after the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy. By the end of that year, Congress had passed the Gun Control Act of 1968 that barred criminals, minors and the mentally ill from owning guns, licensed most gun dealers and banned most interstate sales. The bubble-gum sweetness framing the smoking gun manifests an extreme irony in Evanston: This town that many residents love enough to call “Heavenston” has been wracked of late by fatal and near-fatal shootings.

Jugando con la Ciencia 
Leida Tirado-Lee, Ph.D. graduate student at Northwestern University, volunteers at EPL with kids and teens in the Spanish-language Jugando con la Ciencia (“Playing With Science”) program that meets alternate Saturdays in the Children’s Room. It is the main offering of Ciencia para Todos (“Science for Everyone”), an organization that aims to shrink the scientific-literacy-skills gap between Latino students and non-minority students.
One of the guest speakers for Jugando con la Ciencia this summer was Julieta Aguilera, associate director of the Adler Planetarium’s Space Visualization Laboratory. A Ph.D. candidate with two masters in fine arts degrees, she emphasized the creative connections between science and art. Children participated in a drawing contest on the subjects of “how science affects everyday life” or “how science can improve lives,” said Ms. Tirado-Lee. The children’s prize was tickets for the Shedd Aquarium; teens won an opportunity to join a Northwestern laboratory for a day of being a scientist.
Winners were announced at the show between 1 and 3 p.m. A list of the Jugando con la Ciencia art contest winners can be found at evanstonroundtable.comm.