At the Evanston Arts Council’s meeting Tuesday, Nov. 8, there was more business to cover than time allotted, so a number of listed agenda items had to be put off to the next meeting.

Ignatius Valentine Aloysius Credit: Cynthia Kerby

New council Chair Melissa Molitor presided at the Tuesday session. New member Ignatius Valentine Aloysius was introduced and welcomed.

Aloysius is a lecturer in writing at Northwestern, a graphic designer, hard rock/metal lead guitarist, drummer, songwriter and novelist. He served as a judge for the 2020-21 Evanston Cultural Fund Grants and is on the curatorial board at Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest.

Special project grants were on the meeting agenda, with Julie Cowan, creator and founder of “artruck,” present. Her request for $600 in funding to print materials for this year’s artruck program was granted.

The program is, for now, called “artruckISH” because it is online-only due to the persistence of pandemic fears.

Artruck has been a west Evanston neighborhood event for 11 years, growing in popularity and attendance. Cowan and her husband park two rental trucks in front of their house on Ashland Avenue every year, add gallery lighting and exhibit up to 60 artists’ works inside.

Artruck in pre-pandemic times. ArtruckISH is online-only for now.

The event is accompanied by a neighbor’s delicious baked goods and other refreshments, with no exhibiting fees for artists or admission fees for guests.

Also on Tuesday, Arts Council Vice Chair Krista Fabian conducted a thorough discussion of possible revisions to the Cultural Fund guidelines. She suggested simplifying the judging matrix and changing the application to allow for a portion of the grant money to be used for general programing and general operating costs. 

This has not been allowed in the past, but Arts Council members believe the pandemic has caused such difficulties for arts organizations that groups may need that kind of help this cycle. The next grant cycle will begin in February, with guidelines announced and sent out to arts organizations at that time.

Other news at the Nov. 8 meeting:

  • The Evanston Chamber of Commerce is giving $2,000 to the Arts Council to support artists who are Black, Indigenous or people of color and their projects. The council will combine that money with the Cultural Fund grants so the two highest-scoring BIPOC-led 2023 applicants will each receive $1,000 in addition to what they are awarded from the Cultural Fund.
Artist James Deeb Credit: James Deeb
  • James Deeb, artist and former vice chair of the Arts Council, has agreed to be Public Art liaison now that Chantal Healey has completed her term. He will chair the Public Art Working Group, which meets monthly, a week ahead of the regular Arts Council meetings.
  • The Arts Council voted to continue with virtual meetings until March 2023, for the convenience of members and out of respect for the continued pandemic.
  • “A Bright Night for the Arts,” the city’s annual celebration of the arts, at which awards are presented to outstanding arts organizations and individuals, will be held 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, at Studio5, 1938 Dempster St. Reservations are required.
  • The Youth Reparations Art Contest deadline has been extended to Jan. 9 in hopes of increased participation. The contest is open to all Evanston residents or students between the ages of 2 and 22, as well as to Evanston Youth Organizations. Art materials will be made available for those requesting them.

Gay Riseborough

Gay Riseborough is an artist, has served the City of Evanston for 11 years on arts committees, and is now an arts writer at the Evanston RoundTable.

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