New Cultural Arts Coordinator Joyy Norris was introduced at the beginning of the April 18 Arts Council Zoom meeting. Following approval of minutes from the last meeting, two applicants for Special Project Grants made presentations.

Lea Pinsky of Art Encounter applied for and won $1,000 to supplement the budget for a mural already in the works since 2021. Planned for both walls of the Clark Street CTA underpass in downtown Evanston, it is a tribute honoring notable women in Evanston’s history.

It will be a figurative mural, the lead artist being Dorian Sylvain of Chicago, experienced in this kind of work. The project is supported by the Evanston History Center, the Evanston Women’s History Project and the Shorefront Legacy Center. 

Lea Pinsky of Art Encounter (pix supplied)   

There will be an in-person “listening session” at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 29 at Evanston Township High School so the public can make suggestions of women to be included in the mural. The public is invited and anyone interested may attend –  just RSVP at artist will be present. A smaller session to review all the suggestions will follow.

The final design should be ready in June and it will come to the Public Art Working Group and then to the whole council and to City Council. The work is planned to be completed this summer. The CTA is already enthusiastic and its walls, the council was told, are in better shape than those of Metra.

Nevertheless, the CTA can take the mural down after five years if necessary. Pinsky said that maintenance of the mural is being planned.

The council thanked Pinsky for the work she and Art Encounter have done and continue to do in making Evanston more beautiful.

Angela Lyonsmith of Studio 3, the new name for Kids Create Change, presented a request for arts programming at Evanston’s third Umbrella Arts Festival (the first was called by a different name) to be held in Fountain Square on May 13, 2023. The festival is a celebration of ASAPI (Asian, South Asian, Pacific Islander) culture. Studio 3 plans to offer a free art-making project to a hoped-for attendance of some 500 participants.Their request for $1,000 was granted.

image of Angela Lyonsmith
Angela Lyonsmith of Studio 3 Credit: Angela Lyonsmith

Those engaged will make and decorate simple objects used in ritual celebrations in India, China and Japan The intent is to help participants learn about other cultures and to look for the meaning behind rituals and ritual objects. Each project will allow for different levels of engagement and skill. Lyonsmith said she will be in charge, but five adult volunteers and five ETHS volunteers are expected.

Krista Fabian DeCastro, vice chair, reported that 35 eligible applications were received for the next round of Cultural Fund Grants, 12 from never-before applicants, 14 from BIPOC-led organizations or BIPOC individuals. Five jurors have been chosen but must read through so many pages of applications that Fabian DeCastro proposed paying the jurors an honorarium of $350 apiece, standard for such work. It was agreed Arts Council members would not earn honorariums, should they participate as jurors.  The motion was passed – $750 to come from the city’s Cultural Fund Arts Grant budget and the remaining $1,000 from a smaller, discretionary, Arts Council fund. 

James Deeb, Chair of Public Art announced that a site has, at long last, been selected for the Noyes sculpture. It has been a very difficult process with one obstacle after another surfacing. He also announced that the Working Group had agreed to repair two murals by asking the original artists to manage the repairs. In fact, the committee would prefer to do all repairs this way in the future.

As of the May 16 Arts Council meeting, all meetings will be on the third Tuesday of every month,

Meetings will be held in the Civic Center, room and agenda to be announced on the city website. Attendance will be in person, with no Zoom option. Any public attendance will have to be in person as well. 

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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