YEA! — the Young Evanston Artists Festival — will return to Raymond Park at Chicago Avenue and Lake Street from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, to celebrate youth art and creativity.
Celebrating its 32nd anniversary this year, YEA! typically draws over 5,000 guests and features the work of over 1,000 students from 40+ schools and teachers.
All public, private and parochial schools, preschool through high school, are invited to exhibit students’ artwork in this inclusive, non-competitive art event.
YEA! has grown over the years to provide a dynamic, unique community experience offering live student performances, an exhibition of student work, and a diverse offering of hands-on creative workshops.
New initiatives for 2019 include the expanded Teen artist exhibition areas. Evanston middle school and high school students will showcase student work in the ‘Room & Board’ theater and lounge that will feature original student media art, live illustration student demos and comfy lounge seating sponsored by Room & Board.
In addition, a half dozen teen artists will conduct hands-on activities with younger artists including cartooning, vision boards, comic books, caricatures and social justice painting.
Also featured this year is an exciting partnership with EvanSTEM. EvanSTEM is a public-private partnership project housed within District 65 with the goal of creating an Evanston ecosystem of STEM educators, program providers, industry leaders and professionals to increase underrepresented student success in STEM programs, courses, and ultimately careers. EvanSTEM has generously supported YEA! this year by sponsoring WTTW’s Nature Cat to make an appearance from 10am-12pm.
Performances featured on the main stage at YEA! Include D65 Choral Groups, Middle School jazz bands, and King Arts Rock Ensemble. New to YEA! this year is a second stage featuring The Art of Evolution Theatre, Evanston Children’s Choir, Piven Theatre, Evanston Dance Ensemble (Ede2), Musical Offering Theatre Show, the School of Rock Band and more.
Piano in the Park will also make its debut appearance at YEA! this year. The City of Evanston
Parks, Recreation & Community Services department invites you to tickle the ivories of this free public piano that will be touring the parks this summer. For more info and events surrounding this project please check the City of Evanston’s public calendar.
2019 Maker Area participants: This year YEA! welcomes over two dozen ‘Makers’ that will host free art making stations that include participants such as Art Encounter, Block Museum, Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse, Open Studio Project, One River School of Art & Design, The Imaginary Game, Human Rube Goldberg Machine with Author Sara Aronson, Evanston Public Library “Marble Run”, First Congregational Church “Seeds of Kindness”, Learning Bridge “Loose Parts”, Jam “Intro to Cartooning”, Cradle to Career, Evanston-in-School Music Association (EISMA) and more.
History of YEA! Founded in 1987, YEA! was the brainchild of local resident and business owner Harvey Pranian and led by him until his retirement in 2017, when he handed the reins to Hope Washinushi- current Board President. With a deep appreciation for the community he served and a heartfelt desire to show it, Harvey decided that it was time for the businesses in the area to band together and give back to the community.
He recruited his fellow business owners to join him in sponsoring an event that would serve as a venue for local kids to show their art. Next he met with School District 65 art teachers and their overwhelmingly positive response was all he needed to fuel his determination to bring a Young Evanston Artists’ festival to life. The current Board members are Hope Washinushi, Sarah Laing, Geeta Maker Clark, Daria Van Engelen, Evan Finamore, Baxter Swilley, Christopher Jobson, Walker Lawerence and Nicole Nava.
VOLUNTEERS: For those interested in helping YEA! On May 18th please visit our sign up portal.