Ella Verly and Elsie Weidaw snack on s’mores at Evanston Made Canal Shores. (Photo by Adina Keeling)

Decorated with ornaments and art installations, the trees on the Canal Shores Golf Course have never appeared more glamorous.

Evanston Made, the nonprofit arts organization, transformed the golf course into a Winter Wonderland where residents enjoyed a warm fire pit, snacked on s’mores, watched the sunset, attended workshops and created art installations that dangle from the trees. 

Hosted every Saturday in February from 3 to 5 p.m, the event drew community members outdoors in a COVID-safe gathering. 

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Evanston Made hosted its first Winter Wonderland last year during the pandemic, when the organization had to pivot to develop COVID-safe community programming, said the nonprofit’s co-director Liz Cramer. 

After a successful first year, the nonprofit decided to host the event again. “We’ve had a really great time and great turnout,” said Cramer. 

Ellen Greene hangs an ornament onto her memorial tree, which provides a space for mourning. (Photo by Adina Keeling)

One of the art installations in the golf course is a memorial tree by local artist Ellen Greene. The names of loved ones who have passed away are sewn into the ornaments, which depict angels and are laminated and strung onto the tree. 

The tree creates a space for reflection and leads to “more honest and open and public discussions of grief and loss,” said Greene. It’s important to have spaces for mourning, even in celebrations and joyful community gatherings, she said.

Resident Kim Sagami and her children attended Winter Wonderland on Feb. 26, the event’s last day. Sagami said she wished she had known about the event earlier, and is looking forward to attending next year. 

“I can’t believe this is free,” said Sagami. “This reminds me of why I love Evanston.”

Adina Keeling

Adina Keeling is a photojournalist and reporter, covering city news, sustainability, schools, and art. She also investigates mental health systems and environmental injustices in Evanston, and puts together...

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  1. Thank you for doing such a fantastic job supporting the arts in Evanston! Visibility is key for the arts and your organization is providing it! Love these photos by Adina.