Janet Austin’s steel and mosaic sculpture “Attached.” Photo from Gay Riseborough

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In the coming years, Evanstonians should expect to see more sculptures in the City via a new leasing program inaugurated by the Public Art Committee, a subcommittee of the Evanston Arts Council. The first sculpture leased by the new program was created by Evanston artist Janet Austin and is entitled, “Attached.” The 11-foot steel and mosaic sculpture is currently placed near the lakefront between Hamilton and Lee Street at Elliot Park.

Gay Riseborough, Chair of the Public Art Committee, explains that selected works will be leased by the City for a two-year period. Ms. Riseborough said, “Two years is the average lease period in other cities around the country. Sculptors are really interested in selling their work, and hope by that time to have either tied up a sale with the City or someone who has seen the piece beautifully displayed.”  

“These costs are figured into the leasing costs as in-kind costs by the City. If outside contracting is needed for the installation or decommission, the Arts Council approves those expenses separately from the leasing contract,” she said. The City will not pay for or manage routine maintenance and cleaning of the sculptures, but has agreed to assist if any unexpected damages occur.

The location of the sculptures will depend on decisions made by the Evanston Arts Council in conjunction with City guidelines. Ms. Riseborough said, “It is not our intention to turn the lakefront into a sculpture park. There are many locations in Evanston where we hope to see sculptures, and this program will allow us to place a good number.”

The leasing program will not exclusively draw from Evanston-based sculptors, however Ms. Riseborough expects the subcommittee will look favorably upon homegrown artists. She continues by saying, “With the delivery costs, I doubt that we will lease work from outside of the Chicago area.” For every sculpture that is commissioned in Evanston, there will be an accompanying plaque displaying the artist’s name and title of the piece.

Sculpture proposals should be addressed and sent to the office of the Cultural Arts Coordinator at the Evanston Civic Center at 2100 Ridge Ave. Proposals will be reviewed and accepted year round.