Meet Our New Education Chair

Meet Our New Education Chair

Photo of Ahmed Ibrahim, working with a hammer and hardie.Mosaic instructor Ahmed Ibrahim will continue teaching his popular classes at TAC but will be joining our office staff part-time! He will work with our Director of Education, Mairin Hartt, to bring on new teachers, create new classes and workshops, and expand our offerings.

Ahmed Ibrahim has been working in mosaics since 2000 and believes that the most important part of your artistic practice is venturing outside of your comfort zone.

Ahmed worked as part of the Sabry Mansour artist team designing and installing large-scale mosaic murals at the Ahram Canadian University in Cairo, as well as a project at Helwan University on the Festival Building and many other public projects. He has created and installed many public outdoor and indoor mosaic projects around the Greater Chicagoland area. Currently, along with completing public works, Ahmed is a Mosaic Teaching Artist teaching at The Art Center Highland Park and the Hyde Park Art Center. Ahmed’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and has been awarded 1st Jury prize of the 14th International Mosaic Meetings, Chartre, France.

Ahmed has a Bachelor’s degree in Mural Arts from Helwen University in Cairo, Egypt.

Spoken Word Fesitval

Join us for upcoming poetry readings, a storytelling workshop, and a performance by Short Story Theatre.

Poetry Reading: Native American Heritage, Footsteps into Culture

Wednesday, November 8, 7-9 PM

Join host Lynn West and performers William Buchholtz, Mark LaRoque, Margoth Moreno, and Vincent Romero for an enriching and educational evening of poetry, storytelling, music, and visual art highlighting indigenous culture. This event is free and open to the public, but registration is appreciated!


Spoken Word & Poetry Open Mic Night 

Friday, November 10, 7-9 PM

Come join us for an amazing evening of spoken word and poetry at The Art Center Highland Park! Whether you’re a seasoned performer or just starting out, this open mic event is the perfect opportunity to share your creativity and connect with fellow wordsmiths. Sign up to read and/or recite during open mic upon arrival. This event is free and open to the public, but registration is appreciated! 


Storytelling Workshop with Lou Greenwald

Saturday, November 11, 10 AM-1 PM

Lou Greenwald’s storytelling workshop will provide you with the tools and techniques to weave engaging tales that will leave your audience spellbound. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned storyteller, this workshop is perfect for you. Don’t miss this opportunity to enhance your storytelling skills and connect with fellow storytellers. Registration is required ($65 fee).


Short Story Theatre

Saturday, November 11, 7:30-9:30 PM

Experience the power of words as these storytellers transport you to different worlds, evoke emotions, and ignite your imagination. Whether you’re a fan of heartwarming or funny narratives, thrilling adventures, or thought-provoking tales, this event will have something for everyone. Featuring storytellers Mike Leonard, Larry Glazer, Ellen Blum Barish, Bill Stewart, and Nadia Felecan. Registration is required ($15 tickets).

TAC Member Highlight: Kendra Kett

Photo courtesy of Kendra Kett.

Artist and gallerist Kendra Kett grew up in a colorful home. The child of hardworking agricultural workers from England, Kett was surrounded by “brightly colored painted and wallpapered walls” and “colorful linens, dishes, and rugs.” Of her mother’s style, Kett says: “My mother was pretty different as far as that. We’d visit friends and everything would be beige. And my mom had yellow walls, orange walls, green walls, black walls, and fabric and color everywhere. I have no idea where she got that, maybe working on farms and being in nature.” Though they weren’t artists themselves, Kett’s parents were supportive of their creative daughter, who began drawing as soon as she could hold a pencil in her hand.

In addition to her parents, Kett was inspired to explore art by visits from her sister-in-law: “My sister-in-law who was into the arts took me to the Art Institute every year when she visited us with my brother. That’s when my art appreciation started to develop. We always went down on the train and she bought me art books from the gift store. So as a result, starting very young I had a beautiful art book library in my home. I’ve kept up the tradition of going to museums whenever I travel. So that’s sort of my art education, through visiting and experiencing and being really open to it all.”

Even with her early embrace of art appreciation, Kett was pushed to “get ahead” by studying medicine or law in college. Though she tried to take the pre-med track, Kett found this path was not for her, and chose instead to study psychology and education. Earning her bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in education, Kett built a 30-year career overseeing childcare centers affiliated with major employers. Working her way up to division vice president, Kett led a team of regional managers across the Midwest. 

Between managing her career and caring for her family, Kett’s life did not include much space for artistic pursuits. It wasn’t until her separation from her husband that Kett’s artistic world began to open up once more: “My son’s father is an artist. But it wasn’t until after our divorce that he started focusing on his art. We had a very good co-parenting relationship and we’re still very good friends so I became his art manager. I really started understanding the local gallery scene, volunteering at a local gallery, and helping him put his art forward. He and I did that for about ten years. During that time, I learned a lot about galleries and gallery management, and I could see that I could easily apply all of my business skills to running a gallery.”

Combining her business expertise with the knowledge of the local gallery scene she gained during her time as an art manager, Kett opened the Blue Moon Gallery in Grayslake, IL. As a gallerist, Kett has supported the work of over 100 artists over the last four and a half years: “We made it through the pandemic, we’ve sold a lot of art, and we’re having fun. It’s really a great experience.” After retiring from her business career and immersing herself in the art world, Kett found her way back to her own artistic practice: “I would go on vacation from my crazy hectic business life, and for a week I would lay by the pool at some resort and sketch and draw on my notepad. Then I would just set it aside until the next time I went on vacation. Well, I saved all of those notepads. Then I retired and surrounded myself with artists I said, ‘What am I going to do with all my free time?’ So I got these sketch pads out and started working with what I had there and now I have a whole website full of art.” 

Kendra Kett, The Integration of Grief

Kett describes both her work and artistic practice as intuitive. She began to draw by holding a pencil in each hand, closing her eyes, and letting marks spill onto the page without any planning or agenda. Her resulting works are brightly-hued organic shapes, drawn in a style both fluid and playful. Though her works may appear primordial, Kett wants to ensure that viewers understand that they are not like anything you could see under a microscope. Rather, Kett’s works represent her spiritual interpretation of what happens when our cells interact with our emotions. “I wanted to explore the concept of cell by cell, particle by particle, that we are evolving and growing, healing and recovering,” says Kett. 

Through her work, Kett hopes to help people find a way to embrace the conflicting emotions we all experience: “I think our culture at large wants you to be happy all the time and not really deeply feel your negative emotions. Everyone wants to say, ‘It’s going to be okay, it’s alright, just think positive.’ There’s always this pressure not to feel all of your human emotions. I think you can be happy and sad at the same time. I think you can be feeling really ambitious but also lethargic at the same time. We deal with conflicting emotions all the time. It’s totally normal, it’s a normal thing and you don’t have to fix it.”


Kendra Kett’s work will be for sale at TAC through November. Click here to learn more about her and her work on her website. Visit thebluemoongallery.com to learn more about the Blue Moon Gallery, located at 18620 Belvidere Road in Grayslake, Illinois.


Are you a current TAC member interested in being featured as a future member highlight? To apply, please fill out the Member Highlight Application, found here, and email it to staylor@theartcenterhp.org or bring it to TAC’s front office. 

Not yet a member, but want to participate? Sign up for a TAC Membership here!

Artist Pritika Chowdhry and Dr. Jacque Micieli Discuss the Partition of India & 9/11

9/11 is a day of reflection, of remembrance, of contemplation. The questions of “What if?” and “How did this happen?” infiltrate media stories, blogs, and posts. This year, the 22nd anniversary of 9/11 falls shortly after the yearlong 75th anniversary of the partition in India, delineating the boundaries of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India.

The Art Center Highland Park is currently exhibiting the latest iteration of Pritika Chowdhry’s Unbearable Memories, Unspeakable Histories, Part 2: Partition Anti-Memorial Project. Over the past 15 years, she has created ten different anti-memorials with the tenth one previewing at TAC during this pivotal time.

While installing the exhibit, Pritika and curator, Caren Helene Rudman added an installation commenting on 9/11, adding to the complexity of the intersection between these massive geopolitical events in history.

TAC is proud to continue to produce thought-provoking exhibits that build on the power of art to communicate, share ideas, and hear from voices often left out of the dialogue.  This video highlights the dialogue between artist Pritika Chowdhry and author Dr. Jacque Micieli as they discuss 9/11 & Partition of India.

Member Highlight: Pauline Kochanski

Image courtesy of Pauline Kochanski.

The work of Pauline Kochanski is not easily pigeonholed. Her artistic career spans both decades and mediums, producing photographs, ink drawings, watercolor paintings, and hand-crafted ceramics. In her early twenties, Kochanski was introduced to photography and eventually earned a degree from Colombia College, then still at its original location on Ohio and Lakeshore Drive. Kochanski worked in the photo and printing industries, but all the while she was drawing. When non-degree courses were offered at the Art Institute and Truman College, Kochanski took part. “I’ve always liked having my hand to draw,” Kochanski says, “That’s why I liked the darkroom almost more than any other part of photography—because my hand was in the work.”

Now retired, Kochanski is able to make time every day for artwork: “I believe that I need to do something every day that’s about writing or visual art. Even if I’m reading about it or going to look at art, I’m participating every day in something that is creative or creates ideas. Because that is one of my main ways of identifying myself. There are so many things that I do. I meditate every day and I do yoga every day. It’s important for me to feel as if I am being myself every day.” 

For Kochanski, being herself means being a little bit of everything at once. She is not simply a photographer or ceramicist, an artist or mindfulness meditation teacher or grandmother. She is all of these things at once. “We are not all one thing at one time,” Kochanski says, “ we have many, many identities. Sometimes when people say, ‘How would you describe yourself?’ I find that a really to be a really difficult thing to answer. At that moment I am whatever I am doing at that moment.” 

Like her identity, Kochanski’s work is similarly multilayered. As Kochanski says, “In my drawings, I layer color over color. So there’s a color often underneath a black background—there’s a little gold, or a little blue, or a little red that comes out because there is always something beyond the outside. There are many layers to everything that we do, everything that we are. So even in my ceramics, the insides are smoother than the outsides, because there is a difference between who we are inside and how we present ourselves. How people perceive us is often different than how we think we are perceived. It’s not a dichotomy that we live with, it’s just that we are many things.” 

As part of our Member Highlight program, Kochanski’s ceramic works are now featured in the TAC Gift Shop. Skillfully crafted but organic in their formations, these vases, bowls, and stones feature natural hews with flecks of gold leaf. According to Kochanski, these bright additions to her work have a touching origin story: “The gold leaf is really important to me. I was doing some ceramics and a piece broke and I got really upset about it. We tried fixing it and it came out of the first firing and the piece broke off again and I just decided to work with it. I had all this gold leaf in the house that had belonged to my husband, he was deceased by that time. So I decided to gold leaf all the broken edges. So it became part of my work. It fits into the end of a poem by Leonard Cohen, where he talks about how ‘there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.’ To me it really talks about life, it’s kind of a thing that I carry with me. Because there are cracks, we are perfect in our imperfections. We are each individual. No one is like me, no one is like you. We are perfect as we are. But there are cracks that let the light come into us and let the light come out of us. Those are the kinds of things I try to carry.” 


Pauline Kochanski’s work will be for sale at TAC through September. Also, be on the lookout for Kochanski’s upcoming solo exhibition, which will be presented by the North Shore Art League at the Winnetka Community House next summer. Click here to visit Kochanski’s website. 


Are you a current TAC member interested in being featured as a future member highlight? To apply, please fill out the Member Highlight Application, found here, and email it to staylor@theartcenterhp.org or bring it to The Art Center office.

Not yet a member, but want to participate? Sign up for a TAC Membership here!

Toy Gun Teddy Bear Installation

Blog Post Written By “Toy Gun Teddy Bear” Creators Beth Enterkin, LCPC, Julie Ludwick, LCPC, ATR-BC, and Adrienne Weiss, LCPC, ATR. 


This grassroots community art project was born when Marion Greenwood posted a question on a Highland Park community Facebook page asking what could be done with the toy guns that her children owned. Marion and other Highland Park families no longer wanted these painful reminders in their homes and were seeking responsible ways of disposing of these toys, which cannot be recycled.  Upon seeing Marion’s post, Beth Enterkin responded that perhaps they could be turned into art.  As an Art Therapist who has focused her career on the healing of trauma survivors, Beth’s belief is that transforming our trauma triggers creates space for healing in a way that goes beyond simply disposing of them.  She saw this as an opportunity to do something transformational by taking an object that represents something terrifying and coming together as a group to reshape it into something beautiful, empowering, or comforting.  

Other Highland Park parents and community members began commenting that they and their kids wanted to be involved, too, and as the interest grew, it became clear not only that there was support for this project in the community, but also that it was a powerful and all too rare opportunity for kids to get involved in the healing of their town, not just as recipients of support and care, but as young, growing agents of change themselves.  Kids wanted to turn in their toy guns and wanted to be part of the process of transforming them into something new.  In mid-July 2022 The Art Center Highland Park allowed us to set up a collection box in their entryway where kids could drop off toy guns in a symbolic act of standing against gun violence.  In just a short time we collected many Nerf guns, squirt guns, and other gun-like toys that children were willingly donating to the project.  Every toy gun used in this project was donated by a child from Highland Park, in the wake of our community trauma.  Of course, we do not seek to shame other families for choosing to keep toy guns in their homes, or to erroneously link playing with toy guns with future violence (studies have not found a clear link.)  The goal of this project is to honor the families and children who decided that they no longer want to own or play with toy guns, and chose to donate their toys, by creating something meaningful out of them.  

The next step, determining what to do with the toy guns that had been donated, was more complicated.  We were inspired by the artist Corrina Sephora, a blacksmith who transforms real guns into works of art with the hopes of creating a dialogue about the impact of guns on our communities and society.  Corrina talks about a traditional belief that there is a type of spirit in the metal she works with, as a natural element from the earth.  She works with a concept that she can “set the metal free” or spiritually transform it from a gun into something beautiful.  It quickly became clear that the plastic guns we had collected were materially quite different.  We spoke to experts in plastics recycling and engineering, and discovered that this material is incredibly difficult, and even dangerous, to work with.  Melting them down would release toxic fumes.  Smashing them would release shrapnel.  Disassembling them would be very time intensive. From a practical and safety standpoint, we would have to leave the toy guns whole, and so we began to think about how we could transform all of the donated toys together, as a group, using them as building blocks to create a sculpture.

After discussing many possibilities with the group of parents, community members, and Art Therapists who came together, the idea of the teddy bear was chosen because of its poignant symbolism of childhood and innocence.  If the goal is to transform the toy guns, what could be more transformational, more different from the idea of a gun, than the idea of a teddy bear?  Corrina Sephora often transforms the real guns she works with into flowers, birds, and other organic shapes, returning the metal to a natural form.  The plastic of these toys was man made, and intended for children as a plaything.  So it felt fitting to return it to the form of something playful and childlike.  Interestingly, the symbol of the teddy bear has an inherently pacifist history, having been named after Teddy Roosevelt who infamously refused to shoot a bear.

There is a push and pull between the imagery of toy guns and that of a teddy bear.  Although both are childhood playthings, one symbolizes innocence and comfort, the other aggression and even, to some, trauma and violence.  The cognitive dissonance of seeing toy guns inside a teddy bear highlights the dissonance we face as we navigate parenthood and childhood after a mass shooting.  Viewing this piece calls up many uncomfortable questions:  What is the significance of the toys we give to our children to play with?  How do we raise children in a society where mass shootings like the one we experienced here in Highland Park occur again and again?  (see footnotes and)  And, as one community member who helped to collect the donated guns put it “when there are so many toys available to kids to spark the imagination, why imagine shooting?”  We don’t pretend to have all the answers, but confronting our own discomfort and dissonance is an essential step. As Art Therapists, guiding communities and individuals to find safe ways to express and explore their own cognitive dissonance about troubling subjects is often a part of our work.

Before even putting this piece on display, we have wrestled with a variety of responses from those who have viewed the sculpture, ranging from gratitude and enthusiastic support to anger.  These reactions are a reflection of the polarization in our society, as well as the shattering, splintering nature of trauma.  People may see their own traumas and biases reflected in this piece, and as such, viewing it might not be comforting to everyone. Although the sculpture we have created may be viewed as provocative, the process of creating it was a healing experience for those involved.

For those of us who worked on the piece together, we enjoyed a sense of community and benefited from talking about our shared experiences while actively making something with our hands.  We had discussions about the impact of the shooting on ourselves and our families and ways we have chosen to act and take care of ourselves in the aftermath. We supported and empathized with one another. We found grounding in the repetitive nature of building a structure out of chicken wire.  We also experienced the frustrations of working with materials that were not always forgiving and enjoyed the group problem solving efforts we took on together.  We celebrated milestones along the way, the finishing of certain elements, the relief and joy that certain parts were taking the shape we hoped for. The ups and downs of our art process mirrored the ups and downs of our own healing processes and grew more pronounced as we edged closer to the anniversary of the shooting.  We felt immense pressure to complete this sculpture in time for that date and felt an equal sense of relief when the majority of our work was complete in time for us to rest and regroup with our own individual communities and the larger Highland Park community over the July 4th weekend. 

While one of our goals in creating this piece was transformation, we also sought to provide containment.  Containment for us meant to make these toys less accessible, to in some way, at least symbolically, neutralize the threat of potential violence.  To accomplish that, we created containers, armatures constructed from chicken wire, to encase the toy guns.  We also wrapped some portions of the armatures in plaster gauze, both obstructing the viewer’s eye from some of the guns and creating more of a barrier to accessing the items that are locked inside. Perhaps the most debate we had during this project was whether to cover more of the sculpture with plaster or to leave it as is (plaster covering the teddy bear’s head plus a t-shirt with a window in the center).  Questions we asked ourselves included: What feels safer? What reflects our intention more strongly?  What does the community need? And aesthetically, what works better? Feedback from community members and our group’s own perceptions fueled some concern that we did not provide enough containment, enough safety in our sculpture for the community to be able to view it safely.  We had to dive into our own trauma reactions and check in with the pulse of the community and where it was taking them.  In the end, we have decided that the toy guns need to be seen to have the intended impact, but with sensitivity and acknowledgement to those who may not be ready or able to view objects that symbolize violence and potentially trigger trauma reactions.  We intend to provide some word of caution, so that viewers can make a decision for themselves about whether to view the sculpture or not.  These toys, so easy to obtain and often used without consideration of what they are modeled after, become a strong symbol when viewed within the context of the shared experience of our community and the larger society that is impacted by gun violence. We realized in processing this dynamic, that our art process mirrors the internal struggle we share in wrestling with the fact that we have not been able to take away the threat of gun violence from our families and communities. But what we have done is come together in a powerful way and we hope to share our experience and our art with the Highland Park community and beyond.

We chose to wrap the teddy bear in plaster gauze, the same material that is traditionally used to create casts for broken bones; a symbol of healing.  Some of the children and families who originally donated their toys to this project came out to help with the construction of the bear and the application of the plaster gauze. As we worked, we discussed the white color of the plaster gauze we were working with. Should we leave the bear’s face, neck, and t-shirt white? The white color of the plaster gauze caused us to reflect on our racial identities. We discussed gun violence in the United States and acknowledged that BIPOC communities and individuals are more likely to be affected by gun violence.  It is important to recognize that BIPOC communities are disproportionately affected by gun violence while simultaneously typically having less resources to support healing in the aftermath. Black Americans are 10 times more likely than white Americans to die by gun homicide.  Hispanic and Indigenous people are more than twice as likely to die by gun violence than white people. 

In light of the impact of gun violence on communities of color, and the whiteness of the plaster material, we wondered if we should paint the bear, covering the white gauze with color. In the end, we chose to leave the bear white to support our original intention to symbolize a cast, viewing it as a symbol of a healing material rather than of skin color.  We invite anyone who may feel so moved to use a sharpie to write a message of hope for healing on the bear, much the way you might write “get well soon” on the cast of a friend with a broken bone.  Although it is our psyches, our community, and our society’s relationship with real guns that needs healing, not the toys inside this sculpture, we hope that the symbolic acts in this process, from donating or giving up a toy gun, to wrapping a sculpture in plaster gauze, to signing the outer cast, can provide some opportunity to be a part of a process of transforming the pain that our community has endured into comfort, hope, and dialogue about change.


Special Thanks to all the children who donated toy guns to this project, Marion Greenwood, Steve Sarowitz and family, and The Art Center Highland Park


  1. Highland Park’s parade shooting was one of 636 mass shootings in the US in 2022, according to Every Town for Gun Safety https://everytownresearch.org/mass-shootings-in-america/
  2. Including Highland Park’s parade shooting, there were 720 mass shootings in the US in the 1 year from 7/4/22 to 7/4/23 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mass_shootings_in_the_United_States_in_2022 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mass_shootings_in_the_United_States_in_2023

Call for Art: Instruments of Fear!

Call for Art: Instruments of Fear!

Join The Art Center Highland Park and the Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest in creating “Rock n’ Roll Through History” installations.

Artists are called to submit their design ideas for the guitars these skeleton rockers will “play.” Prizes will be awarded for the crowd favorites—$500 First Place, $250 Second Place & Third Place. Each instrument will be auctioned off to support art classes and outreach programs at TAC.

Medium: artists can use actual guitars, cut out from other materials, or bring their material to a Highwood location to be cut with a jigsaw. Material and design should be outdoor-friendly.

Installations will be on display throughout the City of Highwood for a month leading up to and including The Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest, October 6-8. All work must be completed by October 1 and delivered for installation by that date.

Crowd favorites will be awarded: $500 for First Place, $250 for Second Place, and $250 for Third Place.

All instruments will be auctioned off to support art classes and outreach programs at TAC. The auction is to take place October 28-31.

IMPORTANT DATES:

August 18: Submissions of concept due

August 31: Notification sent

October 1: Delivery of work

Click here to submit your proposal!


More about The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival:

The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival and Skeletons on Display is the biggest outdoor celebration on Chicago’s North Shore featuring all-you-can-carve pumpkins, nightly lightings of pumpkin-filled walls, carnival rides, costume contests, trick or treating, two stages with live music and entertainment, hundreds of skeletons displays depicting the history of rock and roll, hayrides, food and beverage vendors and so much more!

Greeting Cards for a Cause

Have you ever emptied every drawer in your house, searching for a blank greeting card before a birthday party? TAC students from Ina Beirle and Alexis Kanarek’s Mixed Media: Collage and Assemblage class have you covered! Stop by TAC’s gift shop and pick from a wide variety of colorful collaged greeting cards.

The class crafted these cards in honor of their friend Joyce Koenig, a “rare and compassionate woman.” All sales of the cards will benefit funding arts education at TAC.


About Joyce Koenig:

Joyce was a generous woman and artist. She was socially conscious and as a Reiki Master, she worked with hospice patients.

Walking down the flight of wooden stairs off her kitchen, you entered the basement of her lovely house. Set with big tables and stools, one could meet a friend or make new friends there while decorating the front of a white card. Joyce was particular about everyone using the various papers she had—and there was a lot—along with other materials to add to a card, like glitter or sections of old greeting cards.

Joyce entertained anyone who volunteered to make cards: artists, non-artists, birthday parties, and all sorts of get-togethers. She appreciated anyone willing to use their creativity and always had snacks set out for people to enjoy while making one-of-a-kind artwork.

Joyce sold the cards at various sales, like holiday bazaars. The money she earned went to support a camp for children with cancer.

 

 

 

Late Night at the Galleries

Late Night at the Galleries

6:00-8:00 PM on June 14, July 12, and August 16

Join us this summer for the return of our Late Night at the Galleries series! Bring a blanket, dinner, lawn chairs, and enjoy three concerts featuring Crossing Borders Music on The Art Center’s front lawn. Our galleries will also stay open late for after-hours viewing.

The Late Night at the Galleries concert series is a part of TAC’s Arts in Action programming, sponsored by Jessica & Steve Sarowitz and the Wayfarer Theater. Through active promotion of diversity and inclusion in the arts, TAC seeks to include everyone in its ongoing mission to be the North Shore’s home for creative exploration. Alongside Crossing Borders Music, TAC hopes the community will join us in celebrating the unique musical traditions of Haiti, Cambodia, and Black American composers this summer!

 

June 14, 6-8 PM: Roots: Haitian String Trios

Hear string trios by Haitian composers “rooted” in the beauty of Haitian culture and its unique history, religion, and folk traditions! Music by Werner Jaegerhuber, Rudy Perrault, Sabrina C D Jean Louis, plus folk song arrangements by Julio Racine celebrate Haiti’s revolutionary freedom-seeking origins, its folk music, its unique religious traditions—and its connection to Chicago through Chicago’s founder, Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable!

 

July 12, 6-8 PM: Cambodian Music: The Living Tradition

The Crossing Borders Music String Quartet joins Nisa Pov, Resident Artist of the National Cambodian Heritage Museum and roneat ak (Cambodian xylophone) performer for an amazing night of new arrangements of Cambodian classics! The performance includes beautiful new arrangements made by Crossing Borders Music violinist Rasa Mahmoudian and overseen by Pov for the Cambodian Day of Remembrance. Be one of the first people to ever hear this amazing fusion of Cambodian and European traditional instruments—live and in-person!

 

August 16, 6-8 PM: Looking Back and Looking Forward: African-American Composers

This program features music by Black American composers of yesterday and today, including “Five Folksongs in Counterpoint” by trailblazing, early 20th century Chicagoan Florence Price – plus a reading of new works by four youth composers from Chicago’s West side! The program will also include “Rara” by Jean “Rudy” Perrault, “Forgotten Royalty” by Jessica T Carter, and “Stand Up (for Breonna Taylor)” by Jordyn Davis – all commissioned by Crossing Borders Music. Plus, hear a world premiere performance of the fun and expressive music of Thomas “Blind Tom” Wiggins arranged for string quartet by AJ Isaacson-Zvidzwa!

 

Interested in sponsoring a Late Night at the Galleries event? Contact us at info@theartcenterhp.org.

Knitting Communities Together

 

Calling all knitters and crocheters!

Knitting Communities Together is an all-ages, multi-town art project aimed at bringing joy, comfort, and camaraderie to the residents of Highland Park and its neighboring communities. Through the therapeutic and community-building process of knitting, we are calling on residents of Highland Park and the surrounding communities to come together to knit or crochet colorful yarn creations over the course of six weeks, culminating in a colorful and collaborative art installation.

The Art Center Highland Park (TAC) will host free, learn-to-finger-crochet classes. No experience is required and all supplies will be provided! TAC will also have bins for donated yarn and finished knitting if completed on your own.

TAC Class dates:

  • May 22nd, 6 pm – 7:30 pm
  • June 1st, 4 pm – 6 pm
  • June 3rd, 10 am – 1 pm

“Coloring Day”, meaning the art installation, will take place on June 29th at 3:30 pm when we will come together in Sunset Woods Park in central Highland Park to wrap trees with our colorful yarn creations. This is an all-inclusive event — all of HP and its surrounding communities are invited to participate in this joyful process!

For more information, reach us at info@theartcenterhp.org

Additional drop-in knitting and crochet opportunities:

Park District of Highland Park at West Ridge Center Room 1 on Monday evenings from May 8 – June 19 (excluding Memorial Day) from 6-8 p.m. A non-instructional opportunity for knitters to gather (novice knitters are welcome – knitters love to help others learn!). Two bins will be available – one with donated yarn for all knitters to utilize (or donate to) and another for completed strips of knitted yarn.

Other opportunities may arise for knitters to gather – these opportunities will be shared on the Knitting Communities Together 2023 Facebook page. Knitters can share progress, request, or offer yarn to other knitters and learn or post about knitting gatherings. Join today!