At the May 16 in-person Evanston Arts Council meeting, council member Toby Sachs announced the winners of the 2023 Cultural Funds grants.

Judging took from four to five weeks, he said, and the applicants covered a wide range of disciplines, with some new applicants and more BIPOC applicants than ever.

A new mural is unveiled last Aug. 26 at the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian. a 2023 Arts Council grant awardee. Museum Director Kim Vigue, a member of the Menominee and Oneida tribes, is second from left. Credit: Gay Riseborough

The 22 grantees were Songs By Heart Foundation, the Evanston Arts Center, the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, Studio 3 (from Kids Create Change), the Evanston In-School Music Association (EISMA), the Evanston Symphony Orchestra Association, PEER Services, ARTSIE Inc., the Evanston ASPA, artist Mark B. Cleveland, the Piven Theater, the Mudlark Theater Company, the Open Studio Project, Art Encounter, the Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater, Sounds Good! Choir, Crossing Borders Music, Identity Performing Arts, Musical Offering, the North Shore Choral Society, Search Inc., and the Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre.

An additional $1,000 from The Evanston Chamber of Commerce MashUp money will be awarded to each of two applicants – the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, the top-scoring BIPOC organization; and Mark B. Cleveland, who is BIPOC, a term meaning Black, Indigenous and People of Color.

At the meeting it was announced there will be a revival of the Cultural Arts Bulletin, put together by Joyy Norris, the city’s cultural arts coordinator. The first few issues will be monthly, but it will eventually be issued bimonthly. The new Arts Council website,, is live but unfinished, announced chair Melissa Molitor. There will be a form on the site for any “new-to-Evanston artist” or organization.

The Arts Council plans to hold three events in 2024: a meet-and-greet in January, one possibly in July to announce and meet cultural fund grantees, and the usual celebratory “Bright Night for the Arts” in early winter.

Other committee news from the May 16 meeting:

— The Public Art Working Group is writing new guidelines for the selection of public art, and is seeking competent repair people, said committee member James Deeb.
— There is no final date yet for the arrival of the DuSable head in Fountain Square. The Erik Blome sculpture was originally scheduled to arrive this spring.
— The new Noyes Street sculpture will be installed near the CTA station.
— The South Boulevard mural, badly damaged, will be redesigned and installed via a contract with Emap.

May 30 will be the ASPA Lantern Festival at Arrington Lagoon, with the lantern launch to be at dusk. Materials for lantern-making will be available two hours beforehand. It will be a community event and all are welcome.

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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