The smell of fresh paint permeated the atmosphere of the new quarters of the Evanston Art Center at 1717 Central St. this weekend as staff and volunteers scurried to have the facility ready when classes resume on June 10.

Since Wednesday, all hands have been engaged in the move from the city-owned Harley Clarke Mansion at Lighthouse Beach on Sheridan Road just north of Central Street.

Executive Director Danoff repositions a piece of furniture at the new location.

Started in October, 1929, in the wake of the stock market crash, the center’s first home was in the basement of the Evanston Public Library. It moved to the mansion in 1966, where it has been ever since.

In the 1980s, the Art Center rented additional studio space at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, and the activities at Noyes are being incorporated now into the new Central Street facility.

Ceramic artists Kristin August, Molly Morris, David Trost, and trustee Debra Favre play a key role in the move.

Executive Director Paula Danoff said the organization’s small staff and interns, augmented by dozens of volunteers, made huge deposits of sweat equity as they planned and executed the move to Central Street.

The new headquarters, located across the street from a large new apartment building and just a block from the Central Street Metra station, enjoys the benefits of a sizable volume of walk-by traffic that has generated new interest in the organization, according to Danoff.

It was all made possible as a result of a successful $2.5 million capital campaign.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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  1. End of City Involvement
    I hope this signals the end of the city’s—and ultimately taxpayers—involvement and financial connections. And that soon will be the same for theater, music and Noyes Center.
    All these ‘arts’ [or rather good art] are fine and needed in a balanced society but on their own terms and not the public paying for. The ‘junk’ we see passed off as ‘art’ and the multimillion dollar prices paid for even pieces that most would feel are ‘nice’ to ‘great’ show that even the ultra-rich have no sense of reason—they are in the crowds that don’t see “the Emperor has no clothes.” Evanston “art lovers” too often are in that category.

    1. creative industry consumer and vendor

      Absoutely true that there must be a balance in all things.

      That being said the theatres, dance companies, orchestras, music groups, choral societies and fine art institutions contribute to Evanston's economy in many more ways than the average person may realize.  The latest data suggests that people who attend cultural events in the Chicago area (Evanston included) spend an average of 24 dollars (for residents) and closer to 50 dollars (for non-residents) on NON-event spending.  That is a lot of money pouring into local dining, lodging, shopping, fueling, transit, etc. 

      In addition, these organizations are also consumers who spend money on materials (fabric, building materials, art supplies, food, beverage) and services (graphic design, printing, cleaning, catering).  They also add hundreds of jobs to our local economy.

      The City supports businesses,economic projects and entreprenurial endeavors — supporting creative industry through our nonprofit arts organizations and individual artists can be similarly beneficial, especially when you consider the quality of life, curbside appeal, neighborhood vibrancy and shared experiences brought to us by arts and culture.

      If you are interested in more information about how creative industries affect our local economy, please visit for region-specific facts and figures.

      Hope this information is helpful!

      Best wishes,

      -Jennifer Lasik (Cultural Arts Coordinator)


      1. What portion is NU ?
        Probably a large portion of any income the city gets from cultural events is from performances by NU and materials, earnings from hotels, meals and such are from patrons of NU events.
        Those who are always pushing arts spending in Evanston seem to always ignore what is going on at NU.
        If those pushing the arts would try to take advantage of NU performances, work out an arrangement with NU for residents to get training at NU, both sides would prosper.
        As it is even with NU being one of the top five(?) in theater, it is still a pre-professional programs and jobs will be hard to find.

      2. Sorry Jennifer

        The arts are important in their own way but they are no more important than any other business. The Evanston taxpayers should not be paying for any business, including the arts, except in rare occasions.

        Iwish you well but you need to be a little less self-center. Nobody needs to recieve cash and perks for doing nothing.

    2. Guest…question about that painting over your sofa…
      Is that bulldog holding a full house?

  2. Time to Celebrate

    I pray that the city does not give the EAC 60k to pay for their inspection fees. I know that they will be crying that they are to poor after blowing through 2+ million dollars that they raised in 6 months.

    While the EAC has been the worst tenant anyone could possibly imagine, the Evanston City Council of the last 40 years has been the worst landlord. They let the EAC get away with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of free taxpayer services while the EAC was not holding up their end of the lease. In addition our current city council continues to give the EAC free city service and money as they walk out the door.

    In the forever future, the city should not provide any taxpayer services or funds to the EAC. The Arts Center has proven that they can raise any money they need in a moment's notice.

  3. Welcome to EAC
    We welcome the Evanston Art Center to the Central Street East business community.
    The business and residential community benefit by your presence, expansion, creative thought, and your contribution to the arts is a huge breath of fresh air to what is becoming the hottest block in Evanston.
    But your move is so much more than that. It is a compliment to Central Street, from one end to the other, all of Evanston, and the entire Chicagoland community.
    Welcome neighbor!
    — Bob Danon
    The Danon Gallery
    1810 Central Street

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