Spoken Word Festival

Spoken Word Festival

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).

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!



An Interview with Barbara Abelson and Dave Wigodner, Co-Chairs of the Recycled Art Sale 2022

As the co-chairs of the Recyled Art Sale, Barbara Abelson and Dave Wigodner are integral to making the sale a success. We spoke to them about why the Recycled Art Sale matters so much to The Art Center and the North Shore community at large. Their answers shed light on how Recycled brings people together, sparks interest in the arts, and helps raise funds for programs, classes, and exhibitions.

Ready to join us for this year’s sale? Tickets are now available for the VIP Preview/Opening Night on October 13 and general admission during the opening weekend!

Interested in volunteering for the Recycled Art Sale? Please email staylor@theartcenterhp.org for more information.

Recycled Art Sale Co-Chairs Barbara Abelson and Dave Wigodner
Barbara Abelson and Dave Wigodner pose together at last year’s Recycled Art Sale (photo by Robin Subar).

The Recycled Art Sale is a community favorite. What do you think draws people from all over Highland Park and the wider North Shore area together to volunteer for, donate to, and shop at the event? What do you think keeps people coming back year after year?

Barbara: “It is very exciting to see how our community responds to the Recycled event with so much enthusiasm. Donors appreciate this great opportunity to pass on pieces they have outgrown in one way or another or perhaps come from family estates that are being broken up while getting a tax letter acknowledging their generosity. Those who volunteer for the event enjoy the camaraderie within the group, as we all work to research the value of the goods we receive, and get the vast array of artwork and decorative items ready for sale. And, of course, those who come to shop look forward to the hunt. Will they find a treasure that has been overlooked by everyone else and will be just perfect for them? There is an undeniable thrill in finding a piece—or several pieces—that truly speak to you, at prices that are within reach, all while helping to raise money that supports The Art Center’s mission.”

Dave: “For volunteers and shoppers – I think it’s the thrill of the search: for a treasure, a bargain, an opportunity to brighten a spot in their home or find an unusual gift. To find the gem that will bring in buyers and make more money. For donors – it’s not always easy to part with something you once loved, no longer need or that has connections to family and home; donating to Recycled puts those things you’re done with into new hands where they’re reborn. It’s a more tangible donation than just dollars. Your stuff isn’t really lost. And it supports The Art Center.”

Our VIP Preview event takes place on October 13, what are the perks of attending the opening night of the sale?

Barbara: “Simply put, it’s the chance to get a first crack at the beautiful and inspiring works that we have collected all year long. Of course, the Opening Night party is always a good time—food, drinks, music, friends, and the chance to be surrounded by beautiful things. Opening Night is a great way to kick off the 10 days of this well-loved event.”

Dave: “First look, more stuff, fun time. The action of flipping through artwork, talking with friends and strangers, with a drink in your hand, good food, and a pulsing beat. It’s pretty electric.”

Recycled is a lot of fun, but it’s also one of The Art Center’s biggest fundraisers with sales from the event going towards our programming, education, and outreach. What do you think makes the arts such an important aspect of our community, one that is worth funding?

Barbara: “Art education and awareness enrich a community by encouraging the imagination to expand, to see the world and its people in new ways, and to give voice where perhaps there are no words.  If creative expression is at the heart of what makes us human, as I believe it is,  we cannot afford to disengage from agencies like The Art Center, as it seeks to reach out with exciting classes, energizing exhibits, and other creativity awakening programming, all the while working to make art available to all through scholarships. We owe it to ourselves and our neighbors to support the arts.”

Dave: “Recycled touches such a wide range of people, art interests (or not so interested) and at such varying price points that it doesn’t exclude anyone: people buying $2 beaded bracelets, $2,000+ artwork, antique prints or objects. We get kids stopping to buy on their way home from middle school, people living in mansions and people in public housing, entrepreneurs looking for bargain art to resell online, designers chasing deals for clients, serious collectors. All shopping together, sifting through bins, looking for something to catch their eye. Or their heart. How many places does all that happen?”

What’s your favorite find from the Recycled Art Sale—either from this year or in the past?

Barbara: “About 70% of the art in my home is from a Recycled event, so it would be hard to pinpoint my favorite piece from so many. I love the Richard Haas print of the Dakota, valued at four figures and for which I paid $100, but I also love the small, unsigned ceramic bowl, delicately painted with flowers that I found last year for $5. And then there is the carved ivory ring from several years ago that I gave one of my daughters for her birthday and the stunning abstract oil that hangs in another daughter’s dining room. See? It’s hard to pick just one piece!”

Dave: “Well – I totally dug unearthing the Lee Godie piece, finding more information on her, talking with gallerists that knew her, discovering the unseen sketches that are part of the artwork.”

“A couple of years ago I bought two colorful desert prints in lurid pink frames that oddly went great with the 1950s pink bathroom wall tile in my daughter’s Tucson apartment, and a couple of small bronzes by Jack & Alice MacLean whose work I’ve admired for years that are now hanging in my home. I have a stack of projects to do with frames and old prints from Recycled. But my favorite now – last year I realized that this big, garish frame held a record album jacket and I bought it. The album is autographed by the performer – Steve Earle – I’ve been a fan for years; we went and saw Steve perform recently. The cover artwork is by Chicago artist Tony Fitzpatrick and this copy is actually signed by Tony. There was a great retrospective of his work last year in Glen Ellen and through a bunch of odd coincidences, I met Tony by his studio and had a conversation that included how Steve Earle’s dog Beau made it into the album cover artwork. The album is “Washington Square Serenade” and one song on it is “City of Immigrants”; I’m planning to reframe it in a beat-up old wood frame that belonged to my grandparents – immigrants that made it across Europe and the Atlantic to the lower east of NYC more than a century ago. And worked in garment factories around the corner from Washington Square. Talk about recycled. It’s not worth a lot of money. It’s not an original. But it’s a story I’ll hold on to.”

Seeking Out the Other: A Community-Building Initiative Presents the Second Event in an Ongoing Series

“Who are the “we” in “We the People of the United States . . .” 

Thursday, February 24th, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Location: The Art Center Highland Park, 1957 Sheridan Road, Highland Park, IL 60035


Guest Speaker: Janea D. Harris of Insight Advocacy will give a short introduction and then moderate topics including:


  • Who are the “we” in “We the People of the United States…?”
  • Does the United States have a “national character” — what defines it and how has it changed over time?
  • What does being a “citizen” mean? What does productive, imaginative, and engaged citizenship look like at this time in our history?
  • What happens to the idea of a shared American identity (liberty, equality, individualism, populism? laissez-faire?) when social mobility declines along with trust in American institutions?


Janea D. Harris is an author (All Girls Have Sup-Her Powers, The Power of Voice, Through the Window of Winter the Rabbit) and poet who loves using creative writing to help children gain a better understanding of complex topics. As an educator, she learned that children often discover lasting life-long lessons in the books that they read. As a newer resident of Highland Park she will share some of her initial experiences after moving to the city, events which led her to co-found Insight Advocacy, with the mission to advocate for inclusion and diversity in our community by providing visibility, insight, and resources to support families of color.


Seeking Out the Other takes on the format of a community potluck meal. Attendees are encouraged to bring food that represents their own background or their family traditions. Plates, flatware and a variety of beverages will be provided.


This event is a continuation of the series ‘Seeking Out the Other’, a collaboration between the Highland Park Library, the Highwood Library, The Justice Project, and The Art Center Highland Park. Part of the Arts in Action initiative of The Art Center Highland Park, the evening’s structure and format was created by Chad Clark, Assistant Director of The Highland Park Public Library.


For reservations, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/seeking-out-the-other-a-community-building-discussion-and-potluck-tickets-264733273347

Iron Five Video Event at TAC

One-night-only screening

Wilmette resident and Art Center Faculty member, Rino Liberatore will showcase his documentary “Iron Five”, chronicling the story of the 1963 Loyola Rambler Basketball Team, still the only school from Illinois to ever win the NCAA Championship in a game that shattered a racist barrier in college basketball.

In 1963 there was an unwritten rule in the NCAA prohibiting college teams to field more than two Black players at a time. Loyola’s starting line-up had four Black players and one white player. See what happened when they braved threats, tradition, and bigotry in this amazing documentary about the game Time magazine called one of the most important moments in college basketball history.

The film includes interviews with members of that celebrated team. “Iron Five” debuted at The Black Harvest Film Festival and aired on WGN-TV. It can only be seen at this special event on Thursday evening December 2nd at 7 PM at The Art Center, 1957 Sheridan Road in Highland Park. Advance tickets will are now available for this screening. https://bit.ly/3kqmzxY

The Art Center, a not-for-profit organization, is the North Shore’s home for artistic discovery and creative exploration. Through innovative programs, exhibitions, and classes designed for all levels and ages, The Art Center provides a welcoming space for our diverse communities to experience and participate in the arts.

The documentary lasts 22 minutes and will be preceded by a director’s reel of archival work, and finish with a Q&A with the producer/director Liberatore. Question and Answer with the film’s creator will follow the presentation.


Vaccination proof must be supplied at the door and masks are required

$10 e-Ticket available here.

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.

A Higher Level of Membership Gets You ‘Behind the Scenes’

The Affiliate Circle Experience

The Affiliate Circle is a unique opportunity for like-minded art enthusiasts to experience the best that TAC has to offer. From behind the scenes tours and private performances, to intimate discussions with local artists, The Affiliate Circle offers one-of-a-kind opportunities to engage with arts and culture attractions throughout Chicago. Be in the loop with the Affiliate Circle Experience.

  • Individual Membership $175/year
  • Household Membership $250/year (membership covers 2 individuals)

The Affiliate Circle is a 12-month premium membership package. Benefits include:

  • Participation in at least three exclusive experiences a year
  • $20 discount on every class
  • $10 discount on workshops
  • Opportunity to exhibit in the annual “In View” Member/Faculty exhibit
  • Member pricing for special events
  • Partner discounts

Most scheduled events are free for members. For a list of upcoming events, or to sign up for The Affiliate Circle Experience, please contact TAC, or call 847.432.1888.