Because of COVID-19, artruck has not been held in its normal “situ” (two trucks) since 2019. And this spring, it will again be different.
Artruck began in 2011 with artwork presented in two rental trucks and became a popular Evanston tradition. This year, artist and artruck founder Julie Cowan continues her innovative plan for exhibiting the work of more than 60 participating artists: artruckish.
Cowan, an artist-printmaker and full-time digital designer at Northwestern University, said she “still wanted to keep people connected and making art, as artruck does. So artruckish came along.”
The suffix “ish” is an informal adverb that means “somewhat, in a way or not exactly,” according to the Cambridge Dictionary. And in its new incarnation, artruckish is not exactly the same as artruck.
This year, participating artists were given a sheet of 8.5″ by 11″ white art paper embossed on Cowan’s studio press and asked to make a piece of vertical, black-and white 2D art. Artists could use any media or technique, as long as they followed those guidelines and stayed within the edges of the paper.
With the latest artruckish, works are displayed several different ways. You can find them online. Or you can view them in the windows of Union Pizzeria, 1245 Chicago Ave. Neil Good, Cowan’s husband and artruck partner, built and designed the display at Union, where they will be shown starting May 13 for a couple of weeks.
Cowan also created a free newsprint broadside with images of all the artworks, thanks to a Special Projects grant from the Evanston Arts Council. The broadside will be available near Union in several former Evanston RoundTable newspaper boxes.
Artists participate in artruckish and artruck events at no cost and, unlike many other exhibit spaces, are asked only to share their work and the exhibition with friends and acquaintances. To purchase art, contact Cowan at firstname.lastname@example.org or via a QR code at Union Pizzeria. All proceeds go to the artists.
Artruck is “a pure community endeavor, not at all commercial,” says Cowan, whose work Lincoln was featured in a two-person exhibit in January at Evanston’s Perspective Gallery, 1310½ Chicago Ave. Her print exhibition was developed during a virtual artist residency with the University of Illinois Springfield’s Making Our History: Artists Render Lincoln’s Legacies project.
The artruckish and artruck events not only provide space for artists to show their work, but they also help bring together the neighborhood’s many talented artists.
Cowan and Good live in the 1100 block of Ashland, where Cowan maintains her studio and makes her art. For previous artrucks, the couple rented two moving trucks and parked them back-to-back in the street in front of their house. Then they attached ramps, lit the cargo compartments, and filled the vehicles with art.
The street was blocked off, and artists were asked to bring a dish or a bottle of wine along with their work. A neighbor contributed homemade breads and pastries, and soon it turned into a street party. About 200 people showed up at the very first artrucks in October 2011.
For more information, visit https://artruck.org/artruckish-2023/.