August 28, 2017


Press contact: Cara Feeney at Evanston Art Center, cfeeney@evanstonartcenter.org or (847) 475-5300 

EVANSTON, IL - This fall, community and business organizations along Central Street are coming together to beautify their neighborhood with a vibrant new mural by renowned Chicago artist Nick Goettling. As one of the first endeavors spearheaded by the new Evanston Mural Arts Program (EMAP), this unique project is a joint collaboration between Art Encounter, the Evanston Arts Council, the Evanston Art Center, and the Central Street Business Association. The project has been in the planning phases since March 2017, and painting will be take place in September. The mural location is under the viaduct of the Metra train line at Green Bay Road and Central St, on the north side of the street. The street is abuzz with excitement for this project!

The original interest in beautifying this underpass came from former Alderman Grover in 2015, as the current mural there -- depicting commuters on a train -- is over five years old and in some disrepair.  Art Encounter’s newly formed EMAP connected with The Evanston Arts Center and the Central Street Business Association, and together they determined that this was a worthwhile project to collaboratively pursue for the community. With the 2015 opening of the new Evanston Art Center building and the expansion of many new businesses along Central Street, including new restaurants and shops, all parties agreed that the production of a new large work of public art would support and promote the renewed vitality along the Central Street Business District. The project is partially supported by the Evanston Arts Council’s Neighborhood Public Art Fund, the Evanston Art Center, and the Central St. Business Association.

The partners defined as the theme for the mural connections: between businesses, between residents, between individuals and the community at large. Artists were invited to consider the idea that in this district, We are one street, one business district, and one neighborhood, connected or linked through our traditions but also forward thinking in our style and willingness to accept new and innovative ideas.  We are a community of traditions with contemporary notions and forward thinking.”

A Request for Proposals was released in June, yielding 19 proposals from artists around the globe. The winning design went to Chicago-based artist Nick Goettling. His artwork, “Connections and Constellations”, presents a gentle image of the night sky that projects images of Evanston in the constellations above through the viewpoint of a cats cradle. He designed the piece to be both calming and thought-provoking to the many commuters, residents and visitors to the area whether they see it once, or every day.

Nick Goettling has been producing large scale murals across Chicago and around the county since 2011. He grew up in the forests of Washington State, where he earned his Bachelors of Fine Arts from The Evergreen State College with an emphasis on narrative drawing and painting. His art practice led him to Chicago, where he helped found Platform Studios in 2011.  He has made work for public agencies and private clients throughout the country, including The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, the cities of Portland and Tacoma, Northeastern Illinois University, Lagunitas and Stevens Point Brewing, Clif Bar, and others. 

Preparation for the wall and painting will take place over the month of September. When it is complete, this mural will help further enhance the attractiveness of the district, draw more positive attention to the vibrant businesses along the street and surrounding neighborhood, as well as complement the mission of the Evanston Art Center.

Evanston Mural Arts Program is a new public art initiative launched by the local non-profit arts organization Art Encounter. Art Encounter’s mission is to empower people of diverse ages and backgrounds through interactive programs that nurture an appreciation of contemporary visual art and provide enriching explorations in art making. EMAP annually produces large-scale public murals across Evanston, partnering with neighborhood groups and business districts in an interactive, community-based process. The work of EMAP artists will celebrate and amplify local identities, beautify neighborhoods, and turn Evanston’s plethora of CTA and METRA embankment walls into aesthetic assets – transforming them from structural barriers into community bridges.

The Evanston Art Center is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit community-minded art and cultural organization. Their education programs and exhibitions alone impact thousands of people in any given year.  EAC is dedicated to fostering the appreciation and expression of the arts among diverse audiences by offering extensive and innovative instruction in broad areas of artistic endeavor through classes, exhibitions, interactive arts activities, and community outreach.

Central Street Business Association, a 501(c)(6) organization, is a membership group comprised of retailers, restaurants, service businesses, and other nonprofit organizations. The organization helps to create various connections and exciting experiences for residents, visitors, and patrons along this busy, but quaint, corridor in northwest Evanston, Illinois.  Its members can be found along the east to west route of Central Street bounded by Ridge Road on the east, Gross Point Road on the west, and extending south to McCormick and north to Isabella.

Media contact: Cara Feeney at Evanston Art Center, cfeeney@evanstonartcenter.org or (847) 475-5300.


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