Three years ago, the City of Evanston partnered with the national organization Partners for Sacred Places to try to match houses of faith that have unused or under-used spaces with artists or arts organizations that need space. The effort was initiated to address the increased need for office, studio, and performance spaces for Evanston artists as well as to provide an opportunity for local churches, synagogues and temples that are facing increasing maintenance and utility costs with declining or static congregations.
The first version of the program struggled, perhaps in part because the procedures, based on the national model, were found to require extensive time and resources from clergy and their support staff. As a result, there were not many viable options for local artists.
There has been renewed interest in revisiting the program and perhaps find-ing a modified version that works for Evanston, based on a smaller city model rather than Philadelphia/Chicago/Los Angeles-centered programs.
On Feb. 25 at 9 a.m. at the Morton Civic Center, there will be an information session for a working group to gather input on key components: inventorying available space; measuring interest in leased space; and determining what system would work best in connecting artists with sacred spaces. The meeting will not last more than 90 minutes.