History & Mission
The Evanston Art Center is dedicated to fostering the appreciation and expression of the arts among diverse audiences. The Art Center offers extensive and innovative instruction in broad areas of artistic endeavor through classes, exhibitions, interactive arts activities, and community outreach initiatives.
For more than eighty years the Evanston Art Center has been a major force in bringing together people, art and ideas.
One of the oldest and largest visual art centers in Illinois, the Evanston Art Center is dedicated to making the visual arts an integral and accessible part of the lives of the diverse audiences in Evanston, Chicago, and the surrounding communities. The Art Center fulfills this mission through an extensive offering of visual arts classes, public lectures, changing exhibitions, youth outreach activities, and publications, all of which are designed to engage and enrich the individual and the community.
The Art Center was established in 1929 by a group of civic and cultural leaders from the Evanston community. Alice C. Riley was the guiding light of this group of culturally minded citizens. Under her guidance, the Art Center was established and it thrived. Ms. Riley felt the true worth of a community could not be measured by economic success alone, but also had to take into consideration a rich cultural life.
Moving from its first location in the basement of the Public Library to an abandoned barber shop on Dempster Street to a new building on Greenwood to its current home at 2603 Sheridan Road, the Art Center has continued to be a vital part of the community serving artists, teachers, students of all ages and levels, curators, collectors, schools, and other cultural institutions.
The Art Center has always been connected to its community roots and this bond will remain a guiding force well into the 21st century.
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