The Canada Council lacks time, but no ideas

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The Evanston Arts Council met on Tuesday, November 8, and it turned out there was more business to cover than the time allotted for the virtual meeting allowed. A number of items on the agenda had to be postponed to the next meeting.

Ignatius Valentine Aloysius. Credit: Cynthia Kerby

The new Board Chair, Melissa Molitor, chaired Tuesday’s session. New member Ignatius Valentine Aloysius was introduced and welcomed.

Aloysius is a Northwestern writing lecturer, graphic designer, hard rock/metal guitarist, drummer, songwriter, and novelist. He was a judge for the Evanston Cultural Fund Grants 2020-21 and sits on the conservation board of the Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest.

Special project grants were on the agenda at the meeting, with Julie Cowan, creator and founder of “artruck” in attendance. His request for $600 in funding to print materials for this year’s artruck program was granted.

The program is currently called “artruckISH” as it is online only due to ongoing pandemic fears.

Artruck has been a West End Evanston event for 11 years, growing in popularity and attendance. Cowan and her husband annually park two rental trucks in front of their home on Ashland Avenue, add lighting to the gallery, and exhibit up to 60 artists’ works inside.

Artruck in pre-pandemic times. ArtruckISH is online only at the moment.

The event is accompanied by a neighbour’s delicious pastries and other refreshments, with no exhibit fees for performers or admission fees for guests.

Also on Tuesday, Arts Council Vice President Krista Fabian led an in-depth discussion on possible revisions to the Culture Fund guidelines. She suggested simplifying the judging matrix and modifying the application to allow some of the grant money to be used for general programming and general operating costs.

This has not been allowed in the past, but Arts Council members believe the pandemic has caused such hardship for arts organizations that groups may need this kind of help this cycle. The next grant cycle will begin in February, with guidelines announced and sent to arts organizations at that time.

Other news from the November 8 meeting:

  • It was announced that the Evanston Chamber of Commerce is giving $2,000 to the Arts Council to support Black, Indigenous, or Colored artists and their projects. The board will combine this money with grants from the Culture Fund, so the two top-scoring BIPOC-led 2023 applicants will each receive $1,000 in addition to what they are awarded from the Culture Fund.
Artist James Deeb. Credit: James Deb
  • James Deeb, artist and former Vice-Chair of the Arts Council, has agreed to be the Public Art Liaison now that Chantal Healey has completed her term. He will chair the Public Art Working Group, which meets monthly, one week before regular Council meetings.
  • The Arts Council voted to continue virtual meetings until March 2023, for the convenience of members and out of respect for the ongoing pandemic.
  • “A Bright Night for the Arts” the city’s annual celebration of the artswhich awards prizes to outstanding arts organizations and individuals, will be held November 19 from 6-8 p.m. at Studio5, 1938 Dempster Street. One must reserve.
  • The Youth Repairs Art Contest the deadline has been extended to January 9 in hopes of increasing participation. It should be noted that this competition is open to all residents or students of Evanston between the ages of 2 and 22, as well as Evanston youth organizations. Artistic material will be made available to those who request it.
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