EAC Blog


To Ponder Three by Nicole Nienow immediately drew my attention from across the gallery. The ceramic faces are simultaneously attractive and repellant, with their over-sized features and penetrating gazes. Despite the fact that the artist mostly uses brown tones, the colors are nuanced and effective, highlighting the dark creases of these creatures’ twisted faces. I was both horrified and delighted by this piece – would I ever be bold enough to display something like this in my living room?


Edwin, one of our EAC Interns, writes about his first day at the Evanston Art Center, and his favorite artwork on display in the gallery:

When I stepped into the building as an intern for EAC, I saw the many pieces of artwork that were being displayed on the first floor. As I approached the second floor of the building, I saw more and more paintings.






Holly Wong is a visual artist based in San Francisco, California. She studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and graduated with a Master of Fine Arts concentrating on New Genres. She creates installations that include sewing different fabrics associated with women’s history. Her exhibition “Silent Music” includes an amalgamation of different materials sewn together to create a visual. Her recent works have addressed environmental destruction and the need for awareness on treating the earth as a sacred refuge.


One of the new exhibits at the Evanston Art Center this July is a collection of paintings by Natasha Giles Somerville. One particular painting caught my eye, the one titled “Famille”. On a background of dark blues and purples emerges a rowboat filled with adults and children. The closer the boat is to the viewer, the more clear are the figures in the painting. In the front of the boat, a small child is smiling, her facial features clear to the viewer.


While helping to install the new exhibition, Desmond Beach: Color Me This, it was hard not to be in awe of his electric use of color and digital media. Each piece is a unique portrait representing the African American community. One of my favorite pieces is #2, which is on a wall of 5 pieces that have multicolored faces. The contrast of the colors used on the face with the black background on this piece is really captivating.


Mounted on display at the Evanston Art Center hangs Doug Dewitt’s piece, Borrowed Harmony. What I found intriguing about the piece is that it reflects two parts: the forefront display and the foundation of the piece. Dewitts use of texture and material make for a contrasting yet harmonious artwork. The fluidity of the markings on the EPDM rubber portray a sense of playfulness and whimsical touch. While the rustic, firm, foundation of the piece literally nails down this act of play.


Direct Conversations is a 2015 oil on canvas by Olea Nova. It is an abstract piece in which none of the splashes and gobs of paint seem to rest in conversation with one another, despite the piece’s title. The splashes of black, dark blue, and maroon paint cover chunks of the canvas in a haphazard manner; if the title is meant to be heavily read into the painting, the conversation that the piece represents must be a violent or conflicting one. This piece rests in discontented correlation with Nova’s other pieces in the Evanston Art Gallery.


Ellie, one of our EAC Interns, writes about her first day at the Evanston Art Center, and her favorite artwork on display in the gallery:

On my first day as an intern at EAC, I spent some time in the gallery taking in the works on display. I was moved by the whole series by Olea Nova, but particularly drawn into a piece titled “When.” The series consists of large uniform canvases, painted in a particular color scheme. The movements in the pieces are beautifully thought out in an abstract fashion.


This porcelain bowl stood out to me because of the pattern and color combination. The carvings are almost nostalgic, sending a wash of pleasant memories over me. They remind me of being cared for by my surroundings on a sunny, breezy afternoon. The colors only add to this soft feeling of relaxation. This piece feels like it has captured a heartening moment of reflection and reassurance. The combination of the pattern and colors, along with the smooth, glossy finish, creates a scene that is almost melancholic, but highly reassuring and calming.


Doug DeWitt’s exhibit on display at the Evanston Art Center has a beautifully dark and entrancing way about it.  The seemingly endless rings in the center of a dark wall hanging of “I did not know Marissa” resembles some sort of black hole, or other dimension that the viewer can’t quite comprehend.  The title leaves me curious about the context of this piece, and the emotional significance that it has in DeWitt’s life. I love the colors used in these pieces.


Olea Nova, Air, 2015

Olea Nova’s series of abstract paintings are currently hanging in the Art Center. These uniformly large canvases each display similarly simple color schemes but create a diverse group of compositions.


Paula Froehle, Care, 2018

On his last day of work, Jeffrey, our EAC intern from China, writes about one of his favorite artworks on display in the exhibition Paula Froehle, Deborah Hirshfield and Laurie LeBreton:

It’s time to say goodbye to EAC. I love the slogan “Art for everyone”. During my stay, I’m so lucky to view three


Zane, our EAC intern from China, writes about one of his favorite artworks on display in the Loyola AP Show:

Today, the Evanston Art Center display the new exhibition, about Junior & Senior High School Student. I’m a art student. When I was in the third year of high school, I started to contact art and painting. At that time, we wanted to draw the painting as realistic as possible and lay the foundation. Here, I saw a different understanding of art.


Today was my first day volunteering here, although I have been involved with the Evanston Art Center before. During my sophomore year, my peers and I worked with the Evanston Art Center and ETHS’s Emerge Leadership Program to organize a show that exhibited around 17 young Evanston Artists. I am currently a senior in high school, and when I entered the center on Tuesday afternoon I was greeted with the same welcoming and reassuring energy that I remembered from two years ago.


At first this piece may give off a sense of chaos but the color placement and brush strokes give the composition a cohesive look and sense of movement. The bright red color surfaces strongly when focused on but fades away to emphasize the blue and green tones around it. The longer I look at it, the more changes in my eyes. The little patch of seafoam green stands out to me as geometric and abstract and catches my eye through it’s contrast with the surrounding shades of blue and yellow.


Nancy Rosen’s “Stephanie”, on display at the Evanston Art Center, has a beautifully dark charm to it that pulls you into the frame.  I love the emotion in this piece.  The figure’s place in the composition creates a sense of sorrow and pain.  I feel a contrast between her gentle hand placement and the harsh jagged features on the rest of her face, it almost feels like she has this soft contentedness amid a world of pain.  I was immediately drawn to the woman’s long, bone-like features.  There is so much detail in the woman’s face, it took me a few seconds to realize


Hello. I’m Jeffrey from Shenzhen University, China. For three weeks, I will be in Evanston Art Center as an intern. Here I’d like to talk about two wonderful artwork both about Lake Michigan.



The Evanston Art Center is home to one of the largest art shows in the Midwest, the Evanston + Vicinity Biennial Exhibition. The exhibition was juried by Sergio Gomez, Curator and Director of Exhibitions at the Zhou B Art Center; Aron Packer, Owner and Director of Aron Packer Projects; and Therese Quinn, Associate Professor of Art History & Director of Museum and Exhibition Studies at the University of Illinois in Chicago. These three jurors had the opportunity to award three jurors choice awards and three monetary awards to the Biennial participants.


Ariana, our EAC Intern and a freshman at Shanghai University in China, writes about her favorite artwork on display in our newest exhibition, Design is a Verb: Chicago Sculpture International Biennial curated by Alyssa Brubaker. Design is a Verb is on display in our First Floor Gallery from July 27 - August 26, 2018. Learn more:



We are excited to welcome our newest EAC Intern, Terry, a freshman from Fudan Universty, Shanghai, China. Terry writes about his first impressions of the Evanston Art Center in the blog post below:


My name is Terry, a freshman from Fudan Universty, Shanghai. I’ll act as an intern in this brilliant Evanston Art Center for three weeks.



Andrea, our newest EAC Intern, writes about her favorite artworks on display in the current Evanston Made exhibition in our First Floor Gallery. Evanston Made runs throughout the month of June. Learn more here: https://www.evanstonartcenter.org/exhibitions/evanston-made-1


Pantsuit Nation II, Melanie Deal



Sophie Fairmont, our newest EAC Intern, joins us from Boulder, CO, and writes about her first impressions of interning at the Art Center below:

The moment I walked into the Art center I knew I would love it. I was greeted with a warm hug from Paula, who generously and kindly took me under her wing. Art pieces glimmered from sunbeams, and the big roomed slowly became a meeting pace for friends to catch up. Everyone I met greeted me with a warm welcome, and big smile. My nervousness soon disappeared.


Hola! My name's Marina and today is my first day as the Community Outreach intern.

It's a crisp Monday in March and walking into the art center I was met with a warm welcome. After walking past the front desk, I was able to take in the gift-shop and main exhibition gallery. Interestingly enough I arrived while they were in-between exhibits! The white walls were bare yet gleaming under the track lights. The energy in the space was tranquil.


We will miss our EAC Intern Jack, as he travels back to his home in Changchun, Jilin, China! We wish Jack the best of luck as he continues his journey! Below he writes about his last day at the EAC:

It’s my last workday and I really treasure the last few hours in Evanston Art Center. It’s really a good place and I do enjoy those unforgettable days! I’ll never forget the working skills that I’ve gained here and I’ll also never forget those impressive artworks.


We are excited to welcome our newest EAC Intern, Jack, an exchange student visiting from Changchun, Jilin, China! Jack writes about his first impressions of the Evanston Art Center in the blog post below:

As flowers need sunshine, we need art to enrich our life!

In Evanston Art Center, we can see all kinds of art works.

Here is a painting -- Angel. I love it. The cloud in the middle is a symbol of an angel and it is in oceans of books. I think the painter wants to convey that knowledge creates an angel.


Anne Guitteau, our second SHAPE OF NOW Artist-in-Resident, collaborates with Katrin Schnabl building a multi-dimensional knitted environment. Using discarded plastic that has been carefully cut and repurposed into yarn, the traditional craft of knitting becomes the vehicle for a conceptual exploration of space, environment and body. Having both independently knitted with plastic before, this residency provides a unique opportunity for a larger-scaled investigation.


We are excited to welcome our newest EAC Intern, David, an exchange student visiting from Shanghai, China! David writes about his first impressions of the Evanston Art Center in the blog post below:

If you are looking for a place to visit and enjoy the art in Evanston, Evanston Art Center (EAC) must be the best choice for you. You can have exhibitions, classes and events in the EAC. So let’s just visit the Evanston Art Center in the first view.


We loved being a part of Comcast Newsmaker's segment with Paul Lisnek of WGN News! Paula Danoff, our very own EAC newsmaker, had a great interview about EAC's various classes, exhibitions and outreach programs. 

Thank you to Comcast Newsmakers for inviting the Evanston Art Center to participate in this outreach program!

Check out this very special segment here: https://comcastnewsmakers.com/2017/12/13/make-art-part-life/


Interviewed by Millicent Kennedy

Rafael E. Vera’s installation TBD… nevermind is currently on display at the Evanston Art Center as part of the Evanston + Vicinity Biennial: Group Exhibition. I recently had the opportunity to speak with him about the shift in his work that led his art practice in this new direction.


Katherine Nemanich’s piece Duality 1 is composed of collage and ink on paper. Though only two colors are featured in this piece - black and white - the intense contrast of flat ink next to 3D paper construction results in a simplistic yet incredibly engaging final product. If we look at the natural world around us, whether it is the dark space behind a blue sky or the abyss beneath a glistening surface of water, darkness tends to fall behind and light is seen in the forefront.


JASON BROWN is a visual artist who investigates the ideas of place and space and how they intersect with identity through his 2D work in both public and private spaces. As The Zip Code Kid, he has three pieces in the Evanston Made show, each representing the main zip codes of Northwestern. During a visit to the Evanston Art Center, we were able to sit down and chat more about the ideas behind his work and his unique study of how we are formed by the places we inhabit.

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: ÔÇ£A Life Making Sculpture in ClayÔÇØ

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 EACÔÇÖs ÔÇ£Winter Arts & Crafts ExpoÔÇØ

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 ÔÇ£Studio ExhibitionÔÇØ

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.

EACÔÇÖs ÔÇ£ARTiculateÔÇØ Series Debuts August 6

This Thursday, August 6, 2015, 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 CenterÔÇÖs 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 ÔÇ£HybridÔÇÖs ParadiseÔÇØ

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-AmaralÔÇÖs ÔÇ£BoundariesÔÇØ

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: ÔÇ£HybridÔÇÖs ParadiseÔÇØ 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.