The Art Center is a Local Business Too!

The Art Center Highland Park is a Local Business, too.

Have you ever even considered the value of Highland Park having a thriving arts center just off-center of our downtown? Do you realize that we’re a business, too, and that we drive results to our community in a big way?

You may not think of it in this light, but we’re a business, too.

  • We employ 3 full-time and 4 part-time employees year-round
  • We have a pool of 60 teachers who are independent contractors and depend on us for income
  • We create summer employment for teens in our summer camps
  • We never turn down a scholarship request and have done outreach programming from Highland Park to Waukegan
  • We collaborate with other not-for-profits to support their success by offering discounted rental rates or free room use when possible
  • We operate on just under a $1m budget and (pre-COVID) trend income positive
  • We don’t always ask for ‘freebies’: we regularly buy hardware supplies, use caterers, buy beer/wine/liquor, use printers, security companies, plumbers, landscapers, and electricians and we choose local businesses as often as we can.
  • We do not own our building – we pay rent to the city
  • Our employees, teachers, and students shop and eat locally
  • We attract 30,000 attendees each year to our events, classes, and festivals
  • For our summer concerts on the lawn, we incentivized attendees to shop/dine locally and gave them a free raffle ticket if they could show a same-day receipt.
  • Our executive director is on the city’s Cultural Arts Advisory Group and is a member of the Chamber of Commerce
  • Our Art Walk recently showcased over 40 stores throughout the city at no cost to the store owners
  • Our gift shop offers unique gifts and we charge sales tax like any other store
  • Our events bring YOU sales

“Event-related spending by arts audiences reflects an average of $22.87 per person in spending for hotels, restaurants, parking, souvenirs, refreshments, or other similar costs-with non-local attendees spending nearly twice as much as local attendees ($38.05 compared to $21.75)”


As we tell people, the arts are not the icing on the cake, but a key ingredient to success. We want to remind you that we’re willing partners for anything that we can do to support the health and welfare of the Highland Park business community and we hope we can count on you for any support you can give us in return – raffle items, hang our event posters in your windows, and consider holding events, parties, or team building events at our center.

We want to be YOUR business partner. Please reach out to us for any ideas for collaboration, brainstorming, or programming that will support your business. We are invested in our community and hope you are invested in us.

Reach out to James M. Lynch, Executive Director, 847-432-1888, ext. 4


Please also reference our arts community friends: Bitter Jester Music Festival, Ravinia Festival, Highland Park Players, Makkai Ballet, North Shore School of Dance, Soul 2 Sole, and others


Henri Dauman: a Conversation

This is a unique event for The Art Center. We rarely feature one artist, one artistic medium in our main gallery. But when we were offered the opportunity to be the FIRST midwest exhibitor of the photography of Henri Dauman we jumped on it. The exhibit is open from October 1 through November 13, Monday through Saturday, 10-4, or by special arrangement for groups with special needs or other requests. Read more about it by CLICKING HERE.

The night before the opening Curator Caren Helene Rudman and Executive Director James M Lynch had the opportunity to talk to Henri and his granddaughter, Nicole Suerez, and her husband, Peter Kenneth Jones, respectively the Producer and Director of the documentary film about Henri’s life, Looking Up. The video below is a part of the conversation they had about the life, work, and future of this gifted genius, Henri Dauman.


Update on COVID Policy, Masks and Vaccination

Dear Faculty, Students, and Staff;

It has been great to have live classes back in our building for the past few months. We’ve made every effort to remain a safe space, with masks, smaller classes, and social distancing. Whenever possible our events and get-togethers have been staged on our front lawn to minimize the risks of social gatherings.

Unfortunately, with the new Delta variant, we need to go back to stricter controls. Here are the requirements for visiting TAC as of September 7, 2021.

  1. For our Fall classes, we plan to be fully in-person in our galleries, events, and classes.
  2. All in-person staff, faculty, students ages 12 and up, and vendors must be vaccinated*
  3. Faculty, TAC Staff, and Students ages 12 and up are required to show proof of their vaccination status and proof-of-vaccination documentation by September 7 (per Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order, issued August 26, 2021)
    1. You can present your documentation to either the Director of Education, Mairin Hartt, or Executive Director, James Lynch,  on the day of your first class or can email your documentation to the Director of Education
    2. TAC will not keep your documentation on file and you are not required to show proof-of-vaccination documentation to anyone at TAC except the Director of Education or the Executive Director. **
  4. All staff, faculty, students, and vendors will be required to be vaccinated to attend live events, classes, or workshops.
  5. Keep your proof with you. TAC reserves the right to ask for proof of vaccination status for any participant in live programs, classes, or workshops held in our facility.
  6. Regardless of vaccination status, anyone entering the premises of TAC will be required to wear masks covering their nose and mouth, including in studios and classes.
  7. As per CDC and IDPH guidelines, a minimum of 3-feet distancing will be maintained in classes and throughout the building to the extent possible.
  8. Remember: Break-through Covid-19 infections are possible even for vaccinated individuals. We continue to require that you should stay home if you are not feeling well and not return to live classes, studio time, or events until you test negative for COVID-19.
  9. We will continue to monitor state and CDC guidelines and update our policies accordingly. Let’s hope for the best.

* If you are not vaccinated, you must show proof of receiving the first Covid Vaccination shot or proof that you have scheduled your first shot Covid Vaccination shot. If you have received your first Covid Vaccination shot, you must show proof of schedule for the second injection within 42 days of the first shot. All in-person Faculty, TAC Staff, and eligible students must be fully vaccinated by October 30.

** In the case of a medical exemption, medical documentation will need to be provided to the Director of Education or Executive Director.

*** Please review the In-Person Open Studio and Class Safety Protocols specific guidelines and updates.