Evanston art lovers enjoyed tasty desserts, chamber music and live performances on Thursday, November 4 at A Bright Night for the Arts, an annual event hosted by Mayor Daniel Biss and the Evanston Arts Council.
The gathering celebrated the city’s vibrant artistic community, and took place at the Evanston Art Center.
Community members mingled and perused the exhibits on display, which included Dan Oliver’s “Afire” and Indira Freitas Johnson’s “The Resonance of Emptiness.” The Caterist provided sweets, the Northwestern University Medical School Orchestra performed live music and circus artists from the Actor’s Gymnasium juggled and danced on stilts.
The first speaker, Evanston Arts Council Chair Toby Sachs, welcomed the crowd and presented a video created by Meleika Gardner of Evanston Live TV. The video showcased local arts organizations and included clips of their directors talking about what art means to them.
Mayor Biss also took the podium, reminding the audience that the arts are not just hobbies meant to fill spare time, and that they play a necessary role in the community.
Several local artistic organizations celebrated anniversaries recently. The crowd cheered as Mayor Biss called their names, which included the Evanston Children’s Choir, celebrating its 20th birthday; the Evanston Dance Ensemble, celebrating its 25th; Funkadesi, celebrating its 25th; Evanston Symphony Orchestra, celebrating its 75th; and the Music Institute of Chicago, celebrating its 90th.
Mayor Biss also recognized Judith Cohen and Gay Riseborough, both of whom served two three-year terms on the Evanston Arts Council and were previously on the Public Art Committee before it was absorbed by the Arts Council. Cohen is involved with literacy, literature and library work, and Riseborough has photographed and cataloged public art in Evanston.
Finally, Mayor Biss announced the winners of the Mayor’s Awards for the Arts, which went to Doug Hait, a photographer who gave a face to homeless in Evanston with his “See My Story” project; Tim Rhoze, who has focused on bringing black theater and arts to the community as the Executive Director of the Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre and founder of the Evanston Performing Arts Collective; and Identity Performing Arts, an organization led by founder and Artistic Director Ginny Chung-Lin Lo that has provided free dance programs.
The recipients were chosen from 86 nominees.