TAC 6 Month Update

TAC 6 Month Update

We made it a policy to send you a 6-month progress report on how The Art Center Highland Park is fulfilling your expectations and using your generous support dollars. Our fiscal year starts in September, so March is our half-year mark. That means it is appropriate for you to ask: are we doing our best?

What’s New?

  • We are serving a whole new audience. Recently we began a collaborative program with Arts of Life, a not-for-profit for creative adults with developmental disabilities. The program has expanded from one class to three, with AOL staff working in our studios. All students are on scholarship and we don’t turn anyone away.
  • Post July 4, we continue to offer monthly programs for those affected by the tragedy. We plan to continue this partnership with The Art Impact Project.
  • EXCHANGE Events are now happening every month – thanks to a generous grant from Jessica and Steve Sarowitz and Wayfarer Theater we have underwriting for the next 12 months of EXCHANGE programming.
  • One more full-time employee. We now have a full-time marketing and design associate and our social media results are impressive. That could be why attendance at our events is so high!
  • The BEST place to be—as part of our initiative to be the favorite studio/gallery/meeting space on the north shore we have begun projects to make TAC a more welcoming space:
    • The jewelry studio has an additional studio space for the hydraulic press and a 5S-organized tool wall.
    • The mosaic studio had a MAJOR facelift with a new wall color, better-organized shelving and storage, new work tables, high back stools, and a 50” TV for demonstrations.
    • The hallways on the lower level are getting a warmer paint color and, thanks to a local Girl Scout Troop, are decorated with a beautiful new mural.
    • The lower lobby has a new paint job, too, with café tables, a coffee maker, a microwave, a mini-fridge, and a community chalkboard. We’re adding bench seats and a library next to make this a between-class hangout for faculty and students.
    • The Atrium space/student entry has new comfortable gallery-style seating and a couple of magazine racks that we keep stocked with the latest magazines from the world of arts and culture.

What Continues to be Successful?

  • Our Recycled Art Sale was a record-breaker! Generous donations from the community made this community favorite a big success. Next year we are moving it back inside the galleries after three years of COVID-safety awareness. That’s good news for our volunteers who will not have to huddle over space heaters or hold down the tent flaps in the fall winds.
  • Education is bouncing back. The 2023 Winter Session saw pre-COVID registration numbers as we continue to invite new teachers to our faculty and add new programs for all ages and skill levels. We have even added introductory prices for new classes and teachers to bring in a whole new group of students who we hope will stay with us for a long time.
  • EXCHANGE Events are growing. As mentioned above, along with underwriting, our recent speakers have been very popular and high-profile. Sculptors Donald Lipski and Omri Amrany, puppeteer Sam Lewis, artists Norman Teague, Rene Arceo, and Indira Johnson, and documentary filmmakers Bob Hercules and Brett A. Schwartz have educated and entertained full audiences of delighted patrons.
  • Senior Center Classes will continue. Since the Highland Park Senior Center moved to its new space, we have been their new home for all the art classes they offer.
  • Our gallery has hosted one amazing exhibit after another, with a ‘best of’ rating from New City Magazine, features in Sheridan Road Magazine, Highland Park Neighbors, reviews in the Chicago Reader, and a shout-out in the New York Times.


What’s Coming?

Late Night at the Galleries returns. We are booking musicians for our summer series of picnics and concerts on the lawn, giving evening access to our gallery exhibits. Want to be part of an energetic drum circle event?

Partnerships and collaborations. We are hosting or planning projects with as many of our partner not-for-profits and arts and culture providers as possible: The Balance Project, East on Central, Short Story Theatre, The Art Impact Project, Sister Cities, The Park District Highland Park, Highland Park Library, Highwood Library, the Wayfarer Theater at Renaissance Place, Facets Multimedia – and the list keeps getting bigger.

The Passion Project and Ignite Passion. Every spring we choose one hyper-dynamic exhibit as the setting for our annual spring benefit. This year we are celebrating our passion. As we say in our Vision Statement, “The Art Center Highland Park’s vision is to be a cultural destination that inspires and ignites a passion for the arts; providing a forum for self-expression, dialogue, and community engagement. On Friday, May 5, TAC will undoubtedly be the best place to be, with cocktails, a DJ, a silent auction, a raffle, live painting, art demonstrations, and a special performance by the world-famous Hubbard Street Dance.

So, back to our original question: are we doing our best? We hope you feel we are and that you remain confident in our ability to continue to offer creative and challenging gallery exhibits, a wide-ranging series of arts-related classes and instruction, and community-building programs that are unrivaled on the North Shore.

Thank you for your support!

The TAC Team