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Young Evanston Artists Foundation 31 announces the return of its annual art festival – but not to Raymond Park, where it has been held since 2015. Due to the ongoing pandemic and restrictions on public gathering, this year YEA! returns to the streets, where the festival began, for an Urban Gallery Walk down the Main/Dempster mile, with artwork available for viewing for more than a week. The 2021 YEA! event will feature 22 storefronts displaying art from 3,700 students, representing 31 schools in Evanston.

“We are so grateful to the local businesses who are helping us bring the Main/Dempster Mile alive with student artwork from all over the city,” says YEA! Board Chair Hope Washinushi. “It has been such a tough year, we hope that this event will do what YEA! always does so well – bring Evanstonians together to celebrate our young artists and their amazing teachers, especially in a year when we have spent so much time apart. ”

The YEA! Board has been planning all school year and has worked with teachers throughout the City to create an entirely new kind of show, one that features composite boards of digital recreations of art pieces students have created during distance learning.  

“Remote learning for our budding artists has been a challenge – for teachers and parents, too. I am thankful to YEA! for the quick thinking and shift to make an art display possible,” said Denise Taylor, art teacher at Haven Middle School.

In addition, to augment the festival and in place of the live performance stages featured at each year’s event, YEA! has launched its own YouTube channel, “YEA!Tube.”

The channel will spotlight young artists in all artistic mediums by providing an outlet for them to share their process, their goals and their work or performances.

Young Evanston Artist’s Urban Gallery Walk will take place May 15 through May 23. All artwork will be visible from the sidewalk and visitors are encouraged to stroll the mile and enjoy the many displays while observing all COVID-related safety protocols, including social distancing and mask-wearing.

More information and a map of the event is available here.

About YEA!

It is the mission of the Young Evanston Artists Foundation (YEA!) to provide the youth of Evanston a unique forum for the exhibition and performance of their art. The YEA! goal is to nurture, enable, and inspire the children we serve, the youth of Evanston, to prepare themselves for the challenges of the future so that they will do so with self-confidence, a creative spirit, and a caring heart. In this hope, we believe their influence and inspiration will contribute to the well-being of our community and the world beyond.