EAC Blog

Meet the Artists: Evanston Made Exhibit

Over the past week, some of our Evanston Art Center interns interviewed an artist from our Evanston Made Exhibit that caught their eye. 

Learn more below about: Vanessa Filley, Stephen Murphy, Kristen Neveu, Jevoid Simmons and Dorit Jordan Dotan. 

 

First is an interview with Lisa Degliantoni, the creator of Evanston Made.

How did Evanston Made start, what was the inspiration for the project?

Meet Artist In Residence: Pedro Velez

Pedro Velez is the first of six in house resident artists participating in the Evanston Art Center’s Society! Artwork In-Residence Program. Pedro is a multidisciplinary artist whose work merges his interests in journalism and art criticism into visual essays that take the form of large sculptural paintings, photographic collages, and limited edition posters. Velez’s work focuses on many topics branching from race, politics and other aesthetic concerns.

Sheila Oettinger: “A Life Making Sculpture in Clay”

Image: Sheila Oettinger, “Boundaries of the Mind."
 
It is easy to overlook the power of hand and body gestures in an age of instant communication. Today’s society relies on texts, tweets and posts. But Sheila Oettinger’s sculpture exhibition, “A Life Making Sculpture in Clay,” at the Evanston Art Center was a reminder of how compelling the human body is.
 
“My work reflects a long standing commitment to explore new and innovative ways to represent the human figure in sculpture,” Oettinger says. It is a point made clear in her recent exhibition of about 50 clay sculptures. The one-floor show featured several sculptural series, including her figurative sculpture reliefs and contemporary realism sculptures. Together, the series revealed the artist’s lifelong fascination with the human figure. At the same time, it was interesting to see the transition in her work. This proved to be the most striking aspect of the show.  

Art Reflecting our Amalgamated World

Image: (Left) Verena Brassel, "Old Script of the Qumran."  (Right) Verena Brassel, "History of Qumran.”
 
America has long been referred to as a melting pot. This fusion of diversity is reflected in Chicago, America’s third largest city.  You may work with Poles, Germans or Asians, then dine at one of the many Middle Eastern, Chinese or Mediterranean restaurants found throughout the city.  On any given day, Chicagoans may feel blended into our amalgamated world. But examining Verena Brassel’s paintings in her exhibition, “Expressions From Ancient Roots: A Spiritual Journey,” at the Evanston Art Center (EAC), just north of Chicago, reveals a fresh perspective on the subject of merging cultures and histories.
 
Image: Verena Brassel, "Stardust."
 

Review: The EAC’s “Winter Arts & Crafts Expo”

 
If you are looking for distinct gifts this holiday season, look no further. The 13th annual “Winter Arts & Crafts Expo”—one of Chicagoland’s largest craft shows—opened this past weekend at the Evanston Art Center (EAC). Running through December 20th, the Expo features the work of more than 100 artists and craftsmen.
 
The holiday music playing in the background will spark your holiday cheer, while meandering between tables filled with jewelry, ceramics and glass pieces. Gaze up to see the innumerable artworks gracing the walls. Although there are plenty of items to choose from, the arrangements are not overwhelming. Rather they are tastefully organized, and highlight some of this year’s most striking pieces.

Art After Five - Highland Park

On November 6, members of the Evanston Art Center (EAC) and their guests are invited to attend the upcoming Art After Five event, a private art collection that includes Pre-Columbian art at a Highland Park residence. Other collection highlights include African, Oceanic, Southwest Asian and Native American art, along with antiquities and Chinese pieces. It’s an evening merging art and architecture, since this extensive private collection is in a home designed by architect John S. Van Bergen, who worked for Frank Lloyd Wright for several years.
 

Review: Works from around our State

Daniel Josh, “Spiked.”
 
What kind of artworks are Illinois artists producing? It’s a relevant question, since the city of Evanston recently hosted the ninth iteration of the One State Together in the Arts conference, a biennial event bringing together creative and art professionals from around Illinois. The conversation continues at the Evanston Art Center (EAC) with an aptly titled exhibition, “Works from around our State.”  
 
Harold Bauer, a Trustee and student at the EAC, came up with the idea of showcasing artists from around the state. Then, the EAC contacted Illinois-based universities, each of which selected two faculty members and two students to participate in the exhibition. Contributors hail from a dozen universities, from Knox College to Lake Forest College. Cara Feeney, curator of the show, explained the focus was to open up the exhibition to universities outside Chicago. “It just seemed a little bit more interesting to have these artists that we don’t know and bring them into our community here,” she added.  
 

Ikebana: The Art of Flower Arrangement

Example of an Ikebana arrangement. Photo: courtesy of Yuko Inoue Darcy.
 
The Evanston Art Center offers several Ikebana courses taught by Yuko Inoue Darcy this fall. Ikebana, a centuries old Japanese art of flower arranging, transforms plant and flower materials into beautiful and elegant expressions. Students taking one of these classes will create arrangements and learn skills relevant to this practice.
 
Ikebana is a creative mode of expression bringing together nature and harmony in a disciplined art form. More than merely placing flowers together, Ikebana practitioners are attune to the setting, container and materials used to create a congruous arrangement. This being so, the beginners-level class Darcy will teach starting September 8 at the EAC is aptly titled, “Ikebana: The Art of Flower Arrangement.”  
 

Review of “Studio Exhibition”

Partial exhibition shot on the first floor of the EAC's "Studio Exhibition."

 

The “Studio Exhibition,” featuring an amalgamation of artwork produced by students of all levels, opened last weekend at the Evanston Art Center (EAC). This two-level exhibition includes an impressive range of work from students that recently completed an EAC class, and features paintings, sculptures, printmaking, jewelry and ceramics, among other media. Although the show reflects the EAC’s many course offerings, it also emanates creativity and offers visual variety for viewers.

EAC’s “ARTiculate” Series Debuts August 6

 
This Thursday, August 6, the Evanston Art Center (EAC) will host its first ARTiculate event. Geared towards young professionals, ARTiculate events take place the first Thursday of each month and feature art-oriented activities: artist talks, films or small exhibitions. On Thursday, attendess will enjoy a short talk by sculptor Victoria Fuller, along with refreshments, at the EAC from 7 to 9pm. 
 

The Evanston Art Center’s Grand Opening

 
On Sunday, the Evanston Art Center (EAC) hosted the Grand Opening of its new location: 1717 Central Street. After moving in May, the EAC has settled into its new home. Classrooms are filled, updated programming has been added and there is a buzz of excitement in the air about upcoming exhibitions and events this fall.  
 
The Opening, which spanned two levels, featured stands selling jewelry and ceramics, music, dance performances, ice cream making and demonstrations from some of the various courses the EAC offers. The variety of presentations and hands-on activities that took place at the Opening parallel the EAC’s guiding mission: fostering the appreciation and expression of the arts among diverse audiences.
 
Of the many events at Sunday’s Opening, three stand out:
 
  • Don Miller, from Mad Lab Industries, displayed drones and discussed the drone camps and classes the EAC offers. Miller explained that Mad Lab Industries created a buildable drone kit for Einstein by Design, who has partnered with the EAC for its drone camps for kids. During these camps, kids have the opportunity to put together and fly a small drone; at the end of the camp, kids can take their drone home. Why drones? This is just one way the EAC is merging technology with art.

Review of “Hybrid’s Paradise”

The Evanston Art Center (EAC) unveiled “Hybrid’s Paradise” in June, the first exhibition in its new space. On view are photographs, paintings, digital works, drawings and sculptures by more than 25 Chicago-based artists in an exhibition that spans two-levels. Curator Sergio Gomez’s decision to include a mélange of artists and media helps clarify the hybrid theme.
 
“Adapting to new evolving environments is key to surviving in today’s world,” says Sergio Gomez, a Chicago-based director, artist and curator of “Hybrid’s Paradise.” He is right. Given the influx of changing technologies and diverse cultures, learning to adjust is essential in both art and life. The EAC’s new space and this current exhibition recognize this very fact. That said, Gomez demonstrates “the experiences of living in a hybrid world,” as he puts it—fitting for the EAC’s new collaborative and multi-disciplinary space.

Upcoming Exhibition: Sarah Kaiser-Amaral’s “Boundaries”

Sarah Kaiser-Amaral's "Fear." Photo: courtesy of the artist.
 
Artists throughout the course of time have pushed the boundaries. Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque fragmented subjects in their Cubist works. Marcel Duchamp created the “readymade,” a term he coined in which mass-produced objects were decidedly pieces of art by the choice of the artist. The list goes on. Considering this theme in a different vein, Chicago-based artist and Evanston Art Center instructor Sarah Kaiser-Amaral creates an exhibition about boundaries in her upcoming show at MLG Gallery, aptly titled “Boundaries.”
 
Kaiser-Amaral’s oeuvre, which includes pairings of figures, animals and patterns, conveys the relationship between humans and nature, brevity of life and persistence of time. However, her new body of work focuses on boundaries. It’s a fitting topic that applies to most aspects of life. There are boundaries in social and political spheres—both physical and invisible—as it relates to immigration, race, gender and globalization. Others include boundaries at work, home or those we set upon ourselves. But how does the artist see it?  
 

The Digital Media Maker Lab at the Evanston Art Center

Bill Floyd, EAC Trustee and Vice President of the Board.
 
 
The Digital Media Maker Lab is a compelling feature at the Evanston Art Center’s (EAC) new location (1717 Central Street). Bill Floyd, an EAC Trustee and Vice President of the Board, and Rob Mulholland, EAC’s Operation Specialist Project Manager, describe what the Digital Media Maker Lab is, what it offers and what it aims to do at EAC’s new location.
 
Partial shot of EAC's Digital Media Maker Lab.
 
To fully appreciate today’s Digital Media Maker Lab, it is important to have a context. Floyd explains that EAC originated in fine arts: 2-D drawing, painting and printmaking. Over time, digital art and media were added to EAC’s curriculum and practice to include digital editing suites, photography, ceramics and metalsmithing. Now in its new space, EAC is enhancing its curriculum once again. 
 

Eleanor Spiess-Ferris, Chicago-based artist and EAC instructor, Debuts New Exhibition

Eleanor Spiess-Ferris, a Chicago-based artist and teacher at the Evanston Art Center (EAC), has a new exhibition on show at Angela Meleca Gallery in Columbus, Ohio, “See No Evil.”  Her gouache on paper and oil paintings are displayed near Chicago-based artist Nicole Gordon’s exhibition, “Reoriented,” also at Angela Meleca Gallery.
 
Human-nature is a common theme for Spiess-Ferris. “I have always been interested in the environment and how one needs to nurture our nature,” she says. “I like to play with the human element and nature in a relationship with each other.” Take “Garden,” for instance, which depicts a morphed figure: part woman, part cactus. Although the cactus suggests a nod to her New Mexico birthplace, the image is an eerie visual representation of humanity and nature merging.
 

New Exhibition: “Hybrid’s Paradise” at the Evanston Art Center

 
 
Knob Job and the Power Box.
“Knob Job and the Power Box." Photo courtesy of Victoria Fuller.
 
“Adapting to new evolving environments is key to surviving in today’s world,” says Sergio Gomez, a Chicago-based director, artist and curator of the upcoming “Hybrid’s Paradise” exhibition at the Evanston Art Center (EAC). This aptly titled show brings together the interconnectivity found in today’s changing society in conjunction with EAC’s new versatile space and approach.

The Evanston Art Center Welcomes Rob Mulholland

Rob Mulholland, Operation Specialist Project Manager.

 

The Evanston Art Center (EAC) welcomed Rob Mulholland to its staff in March as EAC’s Operation Specialist Project Manager. Programming is foundational to his work: assisting to create “an environment for members, students and guests to have the opportunity for creative experiences and personal growth,” as he describes it.  According to Mulholland, his primary duties include researching, evaluating current programming and recommending new programming for the EAC Maker Lab, which features innovative and design experiences, movement and yoga initiatives and the culinary arts center.

 

Mulholland joins at an exciting time: EAC is moving to its new location at the end of May (1717 Central Street in Evanston), and updating its programming. Upon this move, EAC will expand its courses this summer; its offerings in the visual arts will be supplemented with cross-disciplinary programs in technology, engineering, design and new media, among others.  
 

Exciting Changes at the Evanston Art Center

Change is in the air at the Evanston Art Center (EAC). The most exciting change this spring is our move to 1717 Central Street in Evanston at the end of May. The new location features a contemporary design, open space and a coffee shop to facilitate community interaction. Its central Evanston location and updated programming will make the Evanston Art Center a place where creativity meets community.

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