After a tumultuous city Administration and Public Works Committee meeting earlier this month, the board members of the Artists Book House “looked at each other and said, ‘We need a board meeting,’ ” explained Audrey Niffenegger, the group’s founder and president in an interview last week.

Harley Clarke mansion, 2603 Sheridan Road

Two days later, the group told the city via Council Member Eleanor Revelle, in whose Seventh Ward the mansion and grounds are located, that it would not be continuing with the project to turn the Harley Clarke mansion into a book and literary center. Instead, the group said it would move to a more modest location.

“The [Jan. 9] meeting brought home to us very vividly that our lease with the city was built on quicksand,” Niffenegger said.

Artists Book House members felt they could not move forward after requests the board made for new fundraising benchmarks were brushed over at a city meeting for the second time in three months, said Niffenegger. And the discussion became mired in their relationship with a local landscaping group.

In the interview, Niffenegger said the board members came to their decision after the Jan. 9 meeting where council members spoke about bringing in a mediator to attempt to resolve a dispute between Artists Book House and the Jens Jensen Gardens in Evanston, a nonprofit group that tends the mansion’s gardens, yet had no legal standing on the property lease.

Coming out of the pandemic

Niffenegger, author of the best-selling novel The Time Traveler’s Wife and an Evanston Township High School graduate, said she had been coming to the mansion since age 14, when it housed the Evanston Art Center. She said she hoped to replicate the work she had done at the Center for Book and Paper Arts formerly housed at Columbia College Chicago, considered a leader in the literary arts field before it closed in 2019.

Artists Book House President Audrey Niffenegger: “If our benchmarks will be repeatedly as a blunt instrument to get us to do things that seem very I’ll-advised then it would be folly for us to start investing real money in the property.” Credit: Bob Seidenberg

The previous city council selected the group’s proposal over three others after Artists Book House received the highest score on the city staff’s grading system.

The 40-year lease for the mansion at 2603 Sheridan Rd., which had been vacant since 2015, was awarded in May 2021, already more than a year into the Covid pandemic.

“We immediately understood, before it [the project] even started to happen that the greatest need for philanthropy was going to be in the area of keeping people fed, housed, treating the sick – you know, the most urgent basic humanitarian need.”

She said what might not have been accounted for was its lingering effect. On top of that came a war in Ukraine raising fuel prices and triggering inflation.

“That just means people conserve their cash…a sensible thing,” she said. “But it doesn’t help us get us to where we need to go.”

A murder of crows on the main staircase of the Harley Clarke mansion. Credit: Gay Riseborough

She told the RoundTable: “The way arts organizations raise money is by bringing people together. You have parties, you have art auctions, you gather. We couldn’t do that. … It also diverted money that in rosier times might have come our way as an arts organization.”

The group kept the city updated on its fundraising progress in quarterly reports. In June, officials suggested that the group draw up revised benchmarks as part of an amended lease, Niffenegger said.

She said she spent much of the summer working with the group’s project manager and architect, developing more realistic fundraising benchmarks as well as revising the phases of construction, moving work on the exterior to the forefront. One advantage of that change is that potential donors would see tangible proof of work on the house, she said.

‘Two separate issues stuck together’

Artists Book House original benchmarks, written into the lease, called for $2 million to be paid in May 2022. That was to be revised to $1 million by the end of 2022, a goal that was met via end-of -year pledges. “It was a stretch,” Niffenegger admitted.

The revisions also included slightly lower, but still ambitious, fundraising benchmarks – $2 million by the end of 2023, compared with $4 million by May 2023 in the original lease; then $3 million per year after that until the mansion’s renovation was completed and open to the public in 2026.

The group was scheduled to present the goal changes at the Oct. 10 city council meeting last year. “We weren’t expecting that it would be controversial,” Niffenegger said. “The idea was to make our lease accord better with our reality and give us a fighting chance to do what we hoped to do.”

View out the back window of the Harley Clarke Mansion in October 2022 shows the gardens and Lake Michigan. Credit: Richard Cahan

An hour or so before the meeting, though, Niffenegger said, her group learned that the Jens Jensen Gardens group had asked First Ward Council member Clare Kelly to tie the fundraising benchmarks’ approval to a more official status for Jens Jensen Gardens in tending the mansion’s grounds.

“So suddenly, these two separate issues got stuck together,” Niffenegger said.

During the citizen comment period at the start of the meeting, Niffenegger urged council members “not to postpone [acting on the new benchmarks] or anything else, but to just please vote on it tonight, and let us have our lease revised so we can move forward.”

But Charles Smith, president of the Jens Jensen group, spoke after Niffenegger and asked council members to hold off. He said there were unresolved issues with the city’s current lease, “and recently we’ve been engaged [in discussions] with the city, Artists Book House, that may result in some additional alterations to the lease.” 

Smith said the Jens Jensen group believed the mansion and the gardens should remain separate.

When the Evanston Art Center – and before that Sigma Chi fraternity – used the mansion, they paid little attention to the gardens, Smith said in an interview with the RoundTable. The Garden Club of Evanston maintained the wildflower garden, and local residents Pam and Jim Elesh donated funds to refurbish the grotto.

Kelly saw lease extension as a ‘leverage’ point

During the council discussion, Council Member Revelle spoke in favor of the vote to revise the fundraising goals.

But First Ward Council Member Clare Kelly moved to hold the item, referring to Smith’s remarks. Before being elected to the council, Kelly was a member of Evanston Community Lakehouse and Gardens, a group that plans to team up with the Jens Jensen group if it won the lease.

Front of the coach house of the Harley Clarke mansion. Photo from City of Evanston

“I think it’s really important that we get this lease right,” Kelly said. “I think it was understood from the beginning that the coach house should be managed by Jens Jensen Gardens, as well as the landscaping. This is a legal document, right? We shouldn’t kind of pass this down the road to be amended.”

But even the issues around all of this remain murky. An April 21, 2020, memo from City Management Analyst Tasheik Kerr noted that Artists Book House would refurbish the coach house.

The memo refers to a sublease between Artists Book House and Jens Jensen, reading: “As it pertains to the renovation of the Coach House, ABH [Artists Book House] plans to enter into a sublease with Jens Jensen Gardens in Evanston. The Coach House will be the home for this garden group. ABH would remain responsible for ensuring the renovations under the lease agreement.” Yet that sublease never materialized.

At the Oct. 10 meeting, Kelly proposed that the council hold any action on the issue, sending it to the Administration and Public Works Committee to develop separate leases for the mansion and its grounds.

Council member Clare Kelly: “I think that it’s understood from the beginning that the coach house should be managed by the Jens Jensen Gardens, as well as the landscaping.”

Revelle said while she agreed with Kelly about examining separate leases, she thought it important to move forward with Artists Book House request as the benchmarking targets were a completely different issue.

Responded Kelly, “This is the way leases work, and this is, you know, our leverage point. This is so important to our community and Jens Jensen President Charles Smith, who has been working hard on it. I think this is the moment to use this opportunity to get the lease right and to separate those leases.”

Kelly’s use of the word, “leverage,” prompted Niffenegger to address the council a second time at the meeting.

“I don’t see why the revision of our fundraising targets in the phasing construction should be used as leverage to apparently try to induce me to do something that I might not otherwise do,” she said.

Niffenegger said there was a lot of confusion at the Oct. 10 and Jan. 9 meetings about the Jens Jensen group’s role in relation to Artists Book House use of the property.

There were “people who thought that Charles’ group somehow has some kind of legal right to the property,” she said. “They don’t have a sublease. They don’t have a lease. They don’t have a memorandum of understanding. They don’t have a license. They are at the moment, not there by any reason other than that, Artists Book House said you can be there.”

Visiting the conservatory of the Harley Clarke mansion in October are Hannah Miller (from left), Philip Hotz, Kenna Hotz and Nathaniel Al-Najjar. “It’s stunning,” said Al-Najjar. Credit: Richard Cahan

At the Oct. 10 meeting and in a follow-up interview, Kelly conceded that “leverage” might have been the wrong word. But her point was to make the arrangement work, she said, “and this was our moment to do that, that’s our responsibility as an elected official.”

At no point, she noted, did anyone express unwillingness to approve the benchmark changes Artists Book House was seeking. As for her advocacy for the Jens Jensen group at the council meeting and later chairing the Administration and Public Works Committee, Kelly said, “I’m deeply immersed in this community, everybody knows that. There’s very little I haven’t been involved with.”

Kelly said she was supportive of Artists Book House’s efforts and wanted to see the group succeed. But she said she felt both groups were integral to each other’s success.

Keys to the coach house

Artists Book House members have been working with Smith almost since the Harley Clarke mansion lease was awarded.

“When we were given keys by the city, one of the first things we did was I handed a key to the coach house to Charles Smith,” Niffenegger said. “And I said, ‘Now, let’s negotiate a sublease for you guys.’”

Artists Book House pursued the sublease for eight months. And when the sublease negotiations failed, Niffenegger said she offered Smith a spot on the Artists Book House board of directors.

Charles Smith, president of Jens Jensen Gardens, sits on a rock installed by landscape architect Jens Jensen behind the Harley Clarke mansion in October 23, 2022. Credit: Richard Cahan

“We knew that Charles had for years wanted to restore these gardens. It’s a great passion of his and I have respect for that. As one artist to another, I know what it’s like to make it your mission to share to do something creative,” said Niffenegger.

“And so I think when another bunch of people might have just given up, we kept coming back and trying various things. But we deadlocked because there were things that they wouldn’t budge on, that we couldn’t give.’’

At the Artists Book House board meeting in December, the board voted to have Smith’s group give back the key to the coach house and leave, Niffenegger said.

“The reason for this was they had taken the discussion outside of our family circle – you know, we were no longer talking directly with each other,” she said in the interview. “They were trying to speak to us through the medium of the city council and make demands that way.

“And so I wrote a letter to Charles Smith and Bill Brown [a Jens Jensen board member]. At that point we thought, ‘OK, we can’t really pretend that this is ever going to work out with them, and so I asked them for the key back.’”

She said neither of the two men responded. “But suddenly the matter of our benchmarks was on the agenda of the Administration and Public Works Committee meeting.”

More than a garden variety dispute

Smith, for his part, never answered directly whether the key had been returned, but said he was disappointed at Artists Book House’s decision to pull out of the process. In fact, he said he called Niffenegger the day after the turbulent Jan. 9 meeting to express respect for her and the program.

“I think Audrey herself was incredibly brave for taking it on in the beginning,” he said in a Jan. 23 interview with the RoundTable. “I think the relationship we started with would have been a good thing for the community had it gone on.”

Part of the dispute, he said, revolved around whether Artists Book House had the right to make alterations to construct things – terraces, walks, other things – that were incompatible with Jens Jensen’s design principles, he said.

View out the back window of the Harley Clarke Mansion in October 2022 shows the gardens and Lake Michigan.

He confirmed that Jens Jensen did go outside the Artists Book House after its board voted to change to the lease concerning the grounds. The conversation then switched, he said, to city council members and staff “how that would happen,” he said.

Before that Jan. 9 meeting, Niffenegger said that her group spoke to some council members who suggested issuing a request for proposal, or RFP, inviting firms to bid on the landscaping and restoration of the coach house.

“We would have gladly acquiesced to that,” she said. “We believe that an RFP process was very beneficial to us. It would have helped us get our ducks in a row, helped us understand what we were trying to do.

“Of course, Charles and his group would have been very welcome to participate in an RFP. And I’m sure they would have had an advantage because Charles has been studying the property and has had years to think about this.”

But at the Jan. 9 meeting, the discussion was all about bringing in a mediator.

Chairing the meeting, Kelly at several points in the discussion maintained the committee’s direction to the mediator should include a directive “that we’ve clearly stated that we feel the Jensen group should have the Jens Jensen gardens, the coach house, including the grotto, which is a fundamental.” She said the mediator could determine how far out from the mansion the perimeter lines would be drawn.

Split the baby?

In discussion, new Second Ward Council member Krissie Harris was among those who expressed difficulty with that approach, noting, “There is no need for mediation if we’re telling them what the space is.”

Second Ward Council Member Krissie Harris. Credit: Richard Cahan

She drew a comparison with the biblical story where King Solomon orders the splitting of a baby to resolve a dispute over whose child it is. “That’s clearly where I feel we are right now – that we cannot come to a consensus on who belongs to the baby, and we are about to split the baby. And I have a problem with that.”

Meanwhile, Niffenegger noted: “The matter of our benchmarks wasn’t really discussed – someone called out, ‘What about the benchmarks?’ and Chairperson Kelly sort of waved her head and said, ‘Oh, you know, we’ll do that,’ or something. I don’t even remember her exact words. That was the total extent of that discussion.

“But the upshot of it, as far as we can understand – and I am not even sure that the committee itself completely understood what they had just done – is that our benchmark and construction phases revision is completely dependent on going through mediation with Charles Smith and his group.

“Given the way fundraising has been going, even if we managed to get them to approve our revised benchmarks, I think we would just end up before them again very shortly,” she said.

“And if our benchmarks will repeatedly be used as a blunt instrument to get us to do things that seem very ill-advised, then it would be folly for us to start investing real money in the property.

“I’m disappointed that it worked out this way, because our intent was to be good partners with them,” she said about the fallout with the Jens Jensen group. “And, you know, we tried to set up the lease in such a way that once all of us who are presently wrangling are gone – however many years that may be – that the people who come after us could work within the parameters of this arrangement.

“I mean, you don’t make a long contract like that for yourselves necessarily. It’s got to endure without creating strife. But there was so much strife already that entering into a long contract seemed out of the question.”

Bob Seidenberg

Bob Seidenberg is an award-winning reporter covering issues in Evanston for more than 30 years. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism.

Join the Conversation

16 Comments

The RoundTable will try to post comments within a few hours, but there may be a longer delay at times. Comments containing mean-spirited, libelous or ad hominem attacks will not be posted. Your full name and email is required. We do not post anonymous comments. Your e-mail will not be posted.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. It seems to me that Ald. Kelly should have recused herself due to conflict of interest. Mr. Wertymer is correct; Council should have approved the Pritzker proposal when it was presented and there were no viable alternative proposals. Instead, we continue to have unusable, non revenue-producing property.

  2. So the City drove Jennifer Pritzker out of town for this? The project is run by committee with changing membership. And the project looks like it. The City should get down on its knees and beg Pritzker to return.

  3. After reading all this, I need to say that I personally toured the house thoroughly, well before ABH’s tenancy was determined, on one of the days when Evanston opened the place to the public. There were absolutely no fountains in the conservatory. None. Clearly Ms. Sreenan is repeating or creating outright falsehoods.

  4. Questions not answered, what does the lease say? Is there 2 separate leases?
    The issue to me seems to be ABH was only asking for more time to raise more funds, due to the 3, year set back with Covid shutdowns. Not completely understanding why this could not have been the only issue discussed in January’s meeting? So ABH could keep the commitment to the HCM lease? It’s frustrating to see how an issue gets diverted into so much confusion!! How about the 3 million Covid money surplus going to this HCM project?

  5. Evanston City Council keeps beating its head against the wall thinking idealistic NFPs can raise funds for a multi-million dollar renovation and continuous maintenance as well as programming operations. Jennifer Pritzker would have had this property renovated years ago.

  6. This just makes me sad. I still feel like I don’t fully understand what happened, but my best guess from the article and comments is that ABH had the lease and JJGE had no standing. Why the sublease to JJGE never materialized is unclear to me (did I miss something?).

    It seems like JJGE, unhappy with plans for the mansion’s exterior spaces and the demolition of one of the original fountains, made an end run around ABH and hijacked the City Council Committee meeting in order to somehow tie ABH fundraising benchmarks to … something JJGE wanted? (Which still isn’t clear.) I’ll just assume they wanted control over exterior spaces.

    Did the ABH lease contain any language about preservation or restoration of the Jensen gardens? Why was there no sublease for JJGE? Why should that ball have been in ABH’s court? I have so many questions about this.

    Restoration of the gardens is as laudable an enterprise as restoring the house. But can we be guided by the general principle that the perfect really cannot be allowed to be the enemy of the good? Maybe some sacrifices will be necessary; I don’t claim to know.

    What I do know is that the City of Evanston just lost the only tenant with a plan that was even close to viable for that property and the old Jensen gardens are still a sad ruin, with no money to restore them. So do we have a winner here?

    Did anyone involved think ABH (or any tenant) would stick it out under such contentious circumstances? It was always going to be a monumental task to raise the kind of money needed to renovate and care for that building. As much as I hoped ABH could pull it off, I knew it was a long shot. Whatever just happened certainly did not help us preserve that building—OR its gardens.

    What was the goal in that meeting? What now? What are other possible tenants supposed to think? Who would EVER want to work with the City under these kinds of circumstances?

    Whatever the real story, and it would be mostly finger-pointing to tease it out now, the upshot is likely that we just threw the baby out with the bath water, and the Harley Clarke mansion is doomed.

    Nice job, everyone. Thanks for nothing.

  7. Artists Book House hasn’t demolished any fountains in the conservatory, or anywhere else. The Evanston Art Center removed them, long ago.

  8. This article accepts Audrey Niffenegger’s version—“quicksand” may also describe the tenant. It is unfair to both JJGE and the City, the latter of which tried to accommodate ABH, the lessee, in the Jan. 9th APW meeting. Claims one through six are either misleading, unchecked or refuted by other sources:

    1. Audrey’s timeline for her decision to renege on her lease is at odds with what Mr. Seidenberg himself wrote for the RT on Jan. 12th , “The move came after a difficult meeting Monday where a city council committee recommended that a mediator be called in to resolve a dispute between the two nonprofits involved in the lakefront property, Artists Book House, which contracted to renovate and run the mansion and programs, and Jens Jenson Garden, charged with maintaining the gardens and other outside properties. Niffenegger said the group was on the verge of making a decision to pull out of the project before the meeting “and it was like the meeting gave us a little shove.” “We were taken by surprise,” she said. “We just thought it was a routine thing [concerning the lease restructuring] and a revision in benchmarks.”

    2. The claim that “the discussion became mired in their relationship with a local landscaping group.” This is dismissive—JJGE is not just “a local landscaping group”. JJGE is cited as a partner in Audrey’s own proposal to the City! Blaming JJGE by describing discussions as “mired” is not consistent with Charles Smith’s’ gracious comments about ABH and Audrey at the Jan. 9th APW meeting.

    3. The quote from Audrey about when she learned of Clare Kelly’s knowledge of her dispute with JJGE is contradicted by an ABH email Audrey sent out on Jan. 4, 2023 subject lined “ABH Needs Your Help!” notifying recipients of the upcoming APW meeting. In the Jan. 4 email, she states “…Since we cannot enter into a 40-year relationship with another organization who are willing to use their influence with the City Council to get their way, we asked JJGE to vacate the coach house.” Nevertheless, Mr. Seidenberg accepted her claim that “An hour or so before the meeting, though, Niffenegger said, her group learned that the Jens Jensen Gardens group had asked First Ward Council member Clare Kelly to tie the fundraising benchmarks’ approval to a more official status for Jens Jensen Gardens in tending the mansion’s grounds.”

    4. “Before being elected to the council, Kelly was a member of Evanston Community Lakehouse and Gardens, a group that plans to team up with the Jens Jensen group if it won the lease.” I too am a member of ECLG. There are no plans “to team up with” JJGE. ECLG was, like others, on the sidelines wishing ABH success. Furthermore, what is the insinuation about Council member’s Kelly’s membership in ECLG?

    5. Audrey is further quoted, “They don’t have a sublease. They don’t have a lease. They don’t have a memorandum of understanding. They don’t have a license. They are at the moment, not there by any reason other than that, Artists Book House said you can be there.” Fun fact: Charles Smith was there well before the City even issued their RFPs, let alone Audrey’s brief leasing of the property, as noted in this 2019 RoundTable article: https://evanstonroundtable.com/2019/08/07/the-jens-jensen-gardens-at-the-harley-clarke-mansionnow-a-combination-of-beauty-and-neglect/ .

    6. Has this claim been fact checked?: “The group kept the city updated on its fundraising progress in quarterly reports.” Did the everyone involved really do their due diligence?

    Lastly, the following quote from Charles Smith resonates with my own concern for the destruction of the Conservatory’s fountains: “Part of the dispute, he said, revolved around whether Artists Book House had the right to make alterations to construct things – terraces, walks, other things – that were incompatible with Jens Jensen’s design principles, he said.” Speaking of the right to make inappropriate alterations to the property, ABH took it upon itself to demolish one of the two corner fountains in the Conservatory, just because fountains were not in ABH’s now defunct plans for the conservatory. However, at least one of the Conservatory fountains is still gone.

    1. As architect for the ABH, I should mention that the proposed development of the terraces, etc. for Harley Clarke were developed with Teska Assoc., who has restored over a dozen Jens Jensen Landscapes. The outside eating terrace was situated in an area where there were no original plantings, and would have had little or no effect on the restoration of the Jensen Landscape. Furthermore, JJGE never voiced any concern about the terrace. Seems like the proverbial “red herring” to me.

    2. To clarify a few of your numbered issues here:

      re: 2. “JJGE is cited as a partner in Audrey’s own proposal to the City!”—JJGE was not cited as a partner in the ABH proposal. The original proposal said, “A garden group,” not specifically JJGE. JJGE was given keys to the coach house only by the graciousness of Audrey and the ABH board, and it was only with the understanding that a sublease would be forthcoming. Unfortunately, it was not.

      re: 3. “Nevertheless, Mr. Seidenberg accepted her claim that “An hour or so before the meeting, though, Niffenegger said, her group learned that the Jens Jensen Gardens group had asked First Ward Council member Clare Kelly to tie the fundraising benchmarks’ approval to a more official status for Jens Jensen Gardens in tending the mansion’s grounds.”” This concerns the OCTOBER full city council meeting, not the January 9th committee meeting. Either you misread that quote from Bob, or your misunderstood the timeline quoted here.

      re: 4. “Furthermore, what is the insinuation about Council member’s Kelly’s membership in ECLG?” This seems like a question for the writer, not ABH or Audrey.

      re: 5. “Audrey is further quoted, “They don’t have a sublease. They don’t have a lease. They don’t have a memorandum of understanding. They don’t have a license. They are at the moment, not there by any reason other than that, Artists Book House said you can be there.” Fun fact: Charles Smith was there well before the City even issued their RFPs, let alone Audrey’s brief leasing of the property, as noted in this 2019 RoundTable article: https://evanstonroundtable.com/2019/08/07/the-jens-jensen-gardens-at-the-harley-clarke-mansionnow-a-combination-of-beauty-and-neglect/

      Both of these things can be true at the same time. Regardless of whether or not Mr. Smith was already “doing things around the property,” there needed to be a formal sublease, MOU, or license with JJGE, so both parties could move forward with fundraising for the property. Unfortunately, Mr. Smith and his group did not accept reasonable terms presented to them.

      re: 6. ABH’s project manager met with city employees on a quarterly basis with updates, as part of the lease agreement.

      re: “Lastly, the following quote from Charles Smith resonates with my own concern for the destruction of the Conservatory’s fountains: “Part of the dispute, he said, revolved around whether Artists Book House had the right to make alterations to construct things – terraces, walks, other things – that were incompatible with Jens Jensen’s design principles, he said.” Speaking of the right to make inappropriate alterations to the property, ABH took it upon itself to demolish one of the two corner fountains in the Conservatory, just because fountains were not in ABH’s now defunct plans for the conservatory. However, at least one of the Conservatory fountains is still gone.”

      As ABH’s architect John Eifler mentioned, the terrace and walks in the plan did not disrupt any of the Jens Jensen gardens around the mansion. Additionally, ABH’s landscape architect, Teska Associates, has restored many Jens Jensen gardens in the Chicagoland area, and are well-versed in historic Jens Jensen practice, aesthetics, and preservation. Unfortunately, one of the complaints from the JJGG in ABH’s 8 month attempt to negotiate a sublease was that JJGG did not want any oversight or to partner with Teska.

      As Audrey commented above, ABH didn’t remove any features from the Conservatory; the fountain mentioned was removed by Evanston Art Center years and years ago.

  9. This is the sort of rigid thinking that might cause the entire property to be razed. ABH held out many olive branches. It is too bad it came to this.
    Charles Smith said, “Part of the dispute, he said, revolved around whether Artists Book House had the right to make alterations to construct things – terraces, walks, other things – that were incompatible with Jens Jensen’s design principles”.

  10. Kelly said, “I’m deeply immersed in this community, everybody knows that. There’s very little I haven’t been involved with.” Claire’s ‘immersion’ is merely advocacy for her wants, that’s what “everybody knows”. As noble as the Jensen Garden group’s ambitions are, they have no legal standing or claim, and yet they’ve inserted themselves to the point of tearing asunder an agreement in which neither they nor Claire Kelly seem to have any genuine interest in advancing. As Dr. Ledesma voiced, shame on both of them.

  11. Shame on those city politician! Shame on the Jens Jensen Garden group! I enjoyed volunteering for ABH. As an artist myself it was a total pleasure to offer my time to a place that introduced me to printmaking when the mansion housed the Evanston Art Center. I feel sad for this outcome.

  12. Such a shame to lose this wonderful group, Artists Book House. The mansion will probably be torn down now, a further shame. Shame on Evanston.