Student and Volunteer, Aidan Lowery

Introducing Aidan Lowery, TAC student, volunteer and son of our current Director of Education, Heather Lowery. We recently had a chance to talk to him while he took a break from helping to organize classroom supplies and Recycled art.

Aidan took his first class at TAC when he was just 5-years old. He took a session involving ‘sculpey’, a beginners’ tool for learning to sculpt or make pottery. “That didn’t last long,” Aidan says, “I wanted to move to the real thing.” The ‘real thing’ in this case was a ceramic class with older students. Apparently, it worked.

Thirteen years later he is still taking ceramics classes and now does functional or hand building work. His interests are too many to list here but the list starts with remote control planes, Virtual Reality gaming, welding, re-building an old school bus into a combination mobile home and studio, and taking care of his four pet rats: Soot, Ash, Pluto and Pumpkin.

A life-long Highland Park resident, Aidan attended Ravinia Elementary School and then Highland Park High School as a homeschooler. “He has so many interests and hobbies,” adds his mom, “that traditional education seemed too limiting for his active mind.” The results speak for themselves. Aidan literally grew up at TAC and is part of the great community that surrounds it. Continue reading “Student and Volunteer, Aidan Lowery”

The Art Center Highland Park Covid 19 Message: (April v. 2)

The Art Center Highland Park Covid 19 Message: (April v. 2)

This is a time where sometimes it is hard to smile.  We have all learned to be creative about how we communicate and connect with those we work with, take art classes from, or someone we love.  At this time of social distancing remember to connect with your creative side.  Many art museums around the world offer virtual visits, you can go to the opera on-line, or even watch penguins explore the Shedd Aquarium.

Our first suggestion, visit The Art Center Highland Park Virtual Gallery to see the current exhibition, Love and Collaboration, an exciting and engaging exhibition.  We need more love and collaboration right now!

To move outside HP check out Google’s Arts & Culture platform, where many Chicago institutions offer digitized access to their exhibits and in some cases an interactive “explore” function that allows you to virtually stroll from room to room at will.

The list includes downtown’s Adler PlanetariumShedd AquariumField Museum, and Art Institute of Chicago as well as smaller neighborhood museums like Washington Park’s DuSable Museum of African American History, the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen, the IIT Institute of Design, and University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute.

All of us at The Art Center Highland Park wish you smiles during this difficult time.  With our underwriting sponsor NorthShore University HealthSystem we help you stay safe.

Be Well! 

A Covid 19 Message from NorthShore University HealthSystem

Get the Word Out for Everyone’s Safety

To limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of us must take aggressive action to keep ourselves, our family, and our community safe. Now more than ever we need to get the word out. Please pass this important information on to your local family, friends and neighbors.

If you or anyone in your household is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please call 847-HEALTH9(847-432-5849) to talk to a NorthShore clinical expert. The expert may recommend testing.

Symptoms may include any one or a combination of:

  • Decrease in sense of taste or smell
  • Fever – temperature of 100 or higher
  • Cough
  • Congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Muscle aches with flu-like symptoms

If you are already a NorthShore patient, you can also log into NorthShoreConnect ( to be screened, or if you are not a NorthShore patient, you can enroll in NorthShoreConnect, and use the COVID-19 E-Visit. Please go to and click on the “sign up now” button and follow the instructions.

Donna Bliss Interview with Carol Austin, PHD Clinical Psychology, TACHP Faculty “Your Brain Your Art”

NorthShore University HealthSystem February Blog:

February 10, 2020:  Donna Bliss Interview with Carol Austin, PHD Clinical Psychology, TACHP Faculty “Your Brain Your Art”

Carol is an artist and psychologist who works with her students to explore the unique relationship between creativity and the brain.  Described as “mind blowing”, this class stimulates creativity, stretch the mind, and help overcome blocks to understand how we think and process information. Carol also focuses on exploration and personal discovery and to foster cooperative group processing and sharing.

Donna: “Carol, tell us about the impact of creativity on our brain and general outlook on life.”

Carol: This class, “Your Brain Your Art” aims to help everyone think and process information.  For example a Left Brain person processes one way, and a Right Brain student processes their way, both can use creativity to slow the aging process”.

Donna:  That is intriguing, we all want to stay young and vibrant.  Can you explain how that works?”

Carol: Trying new things stimulates the brain function, enhances memory and helps the aging brain.  We don’t really forget things, our brains are just on overload, so it take longer to remember.  When I deal with aging students I sometime hear, ‘Nothing interests me, I’m complacent, or I need to try something new.’ If your brain is healthy you will try new things.”

Donna:  What is the specific link between art and creativity and brain function:”

Carol:  Ask yourself how many hours did you spend in school leaning history? How many hours did you spend learning to make decisions, or how much time does it take you to process information?  Using that same amount of time being creative will give you insights that will help you in your creative expression, and slow down the aging process.”


Carol Austin teaches, “Your Brain Your Art” at The Art Center Highland Park, and will offer that class for the Spring Session.

The Link Between the Arts, Health and Wellness

The Link Between the Arts, Health and Wellness 

Health and Wellness programs underwritten by NorthShore University HealthSystem


Nutrition and exercise seem to be the buzz words for being healthy and maintaining mental wellness. Our advice includes having a good sleep routine, practicing relaxation, and having a good social network.  Are you looking for something else to add to your toolbox? Why not try the arts?

The Arts, Health and Wellness

The link between the arts and health and well-being goes back many years.  In fact, the use of the arts in health has been increasing for the past thirty years. The “arts” are more than just drawing and painting. They include music, dance and movement, writing, sculpture, woodwork, mosaics, jewelry making, fiber art printmaking and more.

At The Art Center Highland Park those activities are all under one roof. You don’t need to be an “artist” or a professional crafts person to benefit from doing these activities. The act of being creative is the key and it can help decrease everyday stress and anxieties. Participating in the arts can also help with depression, increase positive emotions and, in some cases, even improve immune system functioning. And, if you create art within a group setting, you can form supportive relationships and friendships. Creativity is increasingly being validated as a potent mind-body approach to address a variety of challenges. Why not give it a try?

Try a Winter Class

Beat your Cabin Fever and check out our classes that will get your feet tapping, your brain working and let you walk out feeling energized and creative.

New dance classes:

  • Adult Swing and Foxtrot Class, guaranteed to put a spring in your step and a smile on your face
  • Adult Cha Cha and Tango Class: put a Latin beat to your winter blues

Feeling musical, try one of these classes:

  • The Basics of Blues Guitar
  • Creative Guitar Ensemble for Beginners
  • Life Rhythms Drum Circle

To get your creative juices flowing:

  • Illustrated Words
  • Your Brain Your Art
  • The Joy Project: Art and Wellness
  • Journaling for Self Care

When you are ready to become a professional artist find the opportunities here:

Art and Healing Network  Click here
The Arts and Healing Network offers a list of possible grant and sponsorship opportunities through a robust database that is searchable by location and media.  The database is extensive and covers many different venues. It’s worth exploring.

Health and Wellness programs underwritten by NorthShore University HealthSystem

Easy Ways To Make Your Art Accessible To Everyone

Easy Ways To Make Your Art Accessible To Everyone

by: Katlyn Eriksen

Creating or simply appreciating art can do so much to feed the mind and soul, which is why it’s important that everyone should be able to experience it, despite any physical limitations. Because of this, museums all over the world are now taking concrete steps to provide a satisfying experience for those who are visually impaired, as well as for people who have mobility challenges. The Wellcome Collection, in particular, is making headlines as the New York Times notes that this science and medicine London institution could be the most accessible museum in the world right now. With display heights strategically planned to accommodate wheelchair users, audio and visual guides, and exhibits that include items that can be touched, it’s clear to see why visitors are flocking to this museum: the institution makes it very clear that accessibility has a place in art. 

Whether you’re a seasoned artist or are looking to showcase your art for the first time, you too can make your art accessible to everyone. With some planning and strategy, you can help those with physical limitations experience art in the best way. 

Choose your location wisely

Having good lighting and adequate space is key to having a successful art exhibition, but to make it accessible, pick a place located on the ground floor. If that’s not possible, make sure to book a place where there are lifts in the building. Having no steps or ramps within the exhibit space can also help those with mobility issues move around better. 

Enlist the help of a sign language interpreter

Letting people know that your exhibit is disability-friendly through an accessible and easy to navigate webpage can get the word out and give people with disabilities a general idea about what to expect from the event. On your website or social media page, make sure to specifically list the accessibility provisions, and provide your contact details so those with questions about it can get in touch with you. As more people will be going to your exhibit, have a plan in place to ensure that even those who are impaired can communicate with you and other artists. If you know someone who is fluent in sign language, ask them if they can help out at the exhibit, or you can hire a sign language interpreter. The standard rate of a sign language interpreter is currently at around $27 per hour, so make sure to have a budget in place.

Guide them well

On the day of the exhibit, make sure that doors are kept wide open so wheelchair users can move around, and have an evacuation plan in place in case of an emergency. Instead of pre-recorded audio guides, the artist and those who are familiar with the artist’s work should serve as exhibit tour guides, as they can vividly describe a piece of art to those with visual impairments. Placing Braille descriptions near paintings or installations can also help those with partial or total vision loss to get more information. 

Art should be an inclusive experience as it does so much to improve a person’s well-being. Try following these tips to make art accessible to everyone, and to help build a more equal and diverse art community.

Show you care, Be Aware!

TACHP has recently partnered with NorthShore University HealthSystem to communicate the strong relationship between the arts and Health and Wellness.  Through this partnership, TACHP wants to join our partners to spread the word about breast cancer awareness and the importance of getting your annual screening mammogram.

With a dedication to breast cancer prevention, NorthShore’s Center for Breast Health team places an emphasis on early detection. NorthShore’s Center for Breast Health performs more than 90,000 mammograms annually at our screening facilities located across the Chicago area, including downtown Chicago, in Nordstrom at Old Orchard shopping mall and our Center for Breast Health at each of our hospitals. Same-day screening mammogram appointments are often available, as well as fast-track scheduling for diagnostic procedures and appointments with breast surgeons.

As a preeminent imaging center in the Chicago region, and an industry leader in breast cancer prevention, NorthShore provides:

  • State-of-the-art breast imaging technology, including breast tomosynthesis (3D mammography), ultrasound, MRI and automated whole breast ultrasound (ABUS) for women with dense breasts
  • All images interpreted by dedicated breast radiologists, which research shows improves the rate of cancer detection

TACHP will offer a weekend ‘space’ in our galleries for health care professionals who are willing to offer resources and information concerning women’s health.

Watch this space for details about a woman’s health event, an honest discussion about breast cancer, its consequences, available resources, and other women’s health issues. Nutritionists, women’s health experts and others can take part in the event.  You can be a part of it during our Voices and Visions exhibit next Spring.

Reach out via email:

See these resources:

NorthShore University HealthSystem Breast Cancer Resources

Fact Checking: Debunking Mammogram Myths

The Art Center Highland Park and NorthShore University HealthSystem Partner for Health and Wellness Curriculum

The Art Center Highland Park and NorthShore University HealthSystem Partner for Health and Wellness Curriculum

The Art Center Highland Park sees the intrinsic link between creative expression and wellness, plus the trend of an aging population in the area as an opportunity to expand. That’s why they are partnering with NorthShore University HealthSystem to expand their Health and Wellness curriculum.

“I was looking for a corporate partner for this new expansion and my attention was drawn to NorthShore University HealthSystem’s core mission, ‘to preserve and improve human life’. There is great synergy with our goals as artists, so I reached out to them,” says Donna Bliss, Director of Development for TACHP.  “Their direct activities to achieve this mission are achieved through the provision of superior clinical care, academic excellence and innovative research and our activities are to create challenging programs that activate the brain, creativity and create community. We’re going ‘full spectrum’ on healthy living.”

While NorthShore launched their initiative Healthy You, an online source for timely health and wellness news, inspiring patient stories and tips to lead a healthy life, TACHP expanded their curriculum from three to nine Health and Wellness Classes, offered in multiple days and times, plus workshops.

Healthy You covers a range of topics from

  • 6 Ways to Boost Your Immune System
  • Healthy Eating on a Budget
  • How to Maximize the changes of Daylight Savings Time

TACHP offers the following:

  • The Art of Play (and Intro to the Art of Play
  • Word Play
  • The Joy Project
  • Sketchbook Journaling
  • Your Brain, Your Art
  • Life Rhythms Drum and Singing Circle

Contact NorthShore University HealthSystem:

The Art Center Highland Park:


Sunday Salon Artist Talk

Please join us for our first Sunday Salon Artist Talk!

Engaging Diversity in the Arts: Community Discussion

The Art Center Highland Park hosts a panel discussion, Engaging Diversity in the Arts, on Sunday, September 22, 2019, 2:00-4:00pm. 

Panelists include moderator Gabrielle Lyon, PhD, Executive Director of the Illinois Humanities, and featured artists from our exhibition, IMPACT Color IMPACT Black and White, Rhonda K. Brown, Cesar Conde, and Caren Helene Rudman. 

We invite the community to this free event to join the conversation about the need for and acceptance of inclusion and freedom of expression. TACHP hopes to bring people together with Impact Color Impact Black & White, by breaking down barriers of constraints racial and negative preconceptions of those who are seen as “different”.. We hope you all join our conversation bringing communities together to make an impact in a positive way.