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On Oct. 7 Ice House Gallery opened with an exhibition of 17 artists, 15 of whom are from Evanston and the Chicago area. The gallery at 609 South Blvd., is managed by Hannah Litvan, a 24-year-old from Wilmette.
When asked about the name, Ms. Litvan explained she went to the Evanston History Center to uncover records of the building. She said, “It was built around 1920, perhaps a little bit earlier, as an ice storage facility. I’m a big fan of history and architecture, and I think the history of a building is important.”
On the first floor of the old brick building, Ms. Litvan has set up a multitude of paintings, ceramics, woodwork, stained glass, jewelry, and functional art pieces. “I would like to think that we have a style and a price for everyone,” she said. “My goal is to be a gallery that anyone can come into and walk away with something they like.” She said she intends to utilize the gallery’s large open area for artistic performances. “Having a space for people to share their creativity in acting, poetry, music, or what have you, is something I’m pretty open to as long as it is not dangerous,” she said.
The second floor serves as rentable art space for local artists. Ms. Litvan explained that a large part of the second floor is arranged as a co-op-style studio. “The open studio style is typically for younger renters. It’s an affordable space where you can come work and have lockers to store your supplies,” she said. There are also semi-private studios and the potential for three large private studios for artists seeking a more secluded work environment.
In addition to the studio space, Ms. Litvan added, “There is also a photo room to take pictures in, and that is hourly rental. You just have to schedule an appointment and bring your camera and whatever you are taking a picture of. It’s nice for people taking headshots, make-up artists, or someone trying to take a picture of their work; that’s really important for artists now.”
Ms. Litvan said she was initially concerned about how receptive Evanstonians were going to be to her idea. “As a young person and also a woman, sometimes I think people aren’t going to take me seriously. But it never mattered. The Gallery fits into what Evanston projects for its own art community. They are super supportive of each other and uplifting. They want to do things together so that they all benefit.”
When asked what she thought the gallery provides the Evanston community, Ms. Litvan said, “It brings to Evanston a venue for unestablished, per se, artists to show their work. It can be a starting point for talented people and not just displayable art, but functional work. The work spaces upstairs are affordable because we have different models of studio space, so I want it to have a community and collaborative aspect to it.”