Have you ever seen Evanston in the springtime? From the lakefront to the oak trees to the architecture, Evanston itself is a gigantic outdoor art exhibit, without walls or admission costs.
When you begin to roam around, you will find that Evanston offers a surprising variety of other outdoor art events, festivals, markets, outdoor workshops, exhibitions, sculptures, and murals. This Guide to Outdoor Art in Evanston provides you with a list of inviting art events that are happening in Evanston, in the open air and sunshine, maybe just around the corner. After Covid and closed doors, after a winter of ice and snow, put on your sunglasses and your walking shoes, and let’s go enjoy the outdoor art.
Outdoor Festivals and Markets
9th Annual Evanston Art and Big Fork Fest (8/19, 8/20, 8/21)
Located in the center of downtown Evanston, accessible by bus and by train, this unique Art Fest features one-of-a-kind, collectible paintings, sculptures, jewelry, photography, and furniture. During this 3-day event, visitors can also see live art demonstrations and chat with the juried artists who have brought their work from around the country. If you love the idea of spending an afternoon eating, browsing the shops, and viewing beautiful art, then this would be the ideal activity for you!
Maker’s Market (5/1, 8/7, 10/2)
In the fresh air of the Maple St. Parking Garage, Evanston Made and Downtown Evanston host an art and artisans’ market featuring unique, handmade arts and crafts of all kinds, including jewelry, crafts, paintings and more. If you enjoy searching for those incredibly special, once-in-a-lifetime pieces, you will happily lose yourself in the twists and turns of the Maker’s Market.
Sculptures and Murals in the Open Air
Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park
Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park is located on the border between Evanston and Skokie, and features over 60 large-scale, modern sculptures created by renowned local and national artists. The Park provides a beautiful and interesting way to experience art on the stroll. It is over two miles long and is perfect for walking, biking, jogging and even stopping for a picnic in the shade of an impressive work of art.
Ten Thousand Ripples Public Art Project
A multi-platform public art project, Ten Thousand Ripples, by Indira Freitas Johnson, consists of 100 white sculptures of the Buddha. Each Buddha has its own beauty and its own personality. The Buddhas can be discovered in surprising locations in and around Evanston. This is an amazing and captivating exhibit, a treasure hunt that is truly worth the search.
“Silver Wings” was created by Ferdinand G. Rebechini. It is a 15-foot-tall abstract sculpture that combines stainless steel and reflected light to make magic. It can be discovered at Green Bay Road and McCormick Boulevard.
“The Encounter” was created by Hubertus von der Goltz’s and can be found on top of the Maple Street parking garage. This is a surprisingly realistic sculpture that consists of two figures approaching each other on a long, narrow piece of wood. According to von der Goltz’s statement, “The Encounter” symbolizes “the coming together of different cultures and backgrounds.
Learn more about The Encounter here:
The sculpture “The Blue Line” was created by artist Jim Brenner to symbolize the entrance into South Evanston. The sculpture is a unique combination of blue LED lights and steel. This work of art provides a fascinating experience for the viewer as it seems to move and change as the viewer moves and changes. It is located on the Custer Street bridge. While you are in the area, explore the side streets to get a feeling for this old and interesting neighborhood.
Learn more about The Blue Line here:
Found in north Evanston, local artist Teresa Parod has painted beautiful murals on otherwise unremarkable garage doors, a delight for the unsuspecting alleyway walkers! While you are in the area, be sure to take a stroll down Central Street and enjoy the small town feel of its shops and coffee houses.
The goal of Art Encounter’s Evanston Mural Arts Program is to connect neighborhoods with schools and community organizations to create a more beautiful neighborhood while making art accessible to all. By using the map available on their website, you will walk through downtown Evanston, along the “L” train tracks, past restaurants, shops, and interesting houses. Every mural is a discovery and is a work of communal art, worthy of attention and admiration!
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