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Christmas Markets Abound – Evanston RoundTable

There are several bustling, welcoming Christmas markets in Evanston this fall. Markets and gift sales always pop up around Thanksgiving – even earlier recently, as gift season marketing is getting higher and Christmas music is played from public speakers starting the day after Halloween.

Evanston did pop-up

First floor in the Evanston Made Pop-Up. (Photo by Yancey Hughes)

The newest market this year is the Evanston Made Pop-up in the former Urban Outfitters store at 921 Church Street on the corner of Church and Maple Avenues. This area was touted as “Evanston’s New Center” before Fountain Square was renovated and traffic patterns changed. Whether because of COVID-19 or any other reason, this shop is empty and is rented out together with the huge 18-cinema film complex.

But the folks at Evanston Made, the new 400 membership not-for-profit artist organization, were delighted to be offered six weeks of rent-free space on Urban Outfitters’ two-story, 13,000-square-foot space. It was a challenge to put together a market and exhibition in just two weeks and to install it in four days, said managing director Lisa Degliantoni, but the result is equally satisfactory for the artist and the public.

View of the first floor of the Evanston Made Pop-Up. (Photo by Yancey Hughes)

The first floor mainly displays items for sale, from tapestries and paintings to ceramics, jewelry, prints, clothing, scarves, note cards, small paintings and sculptures, photographs, handcrafted candles and furniture. There are multiple seating areas so tired shoppers can rest their feet. Volunteers take care of the sale, in which 125 artists take part. A few breathtaking works of art by well-known artists such as Karl and Indira Johnson, Nina Weiss are exhibited and sold right at the front.

Liz Cramer and Kathy Halper, co-directors of Evanston Made. (Photo by Yancey Hughes)

The second floor, reached by wide stairs (where Artists Book House – ABH – wrote and installed a poem) is huge and more suitable for large works and installation art. Installation art is a genre of three-dimensional works of art that are often site-specific and intended to change the perception of a room.

The employees of Blick Art Materials, near Maple, all artists, have a wall full of works here.

The second floor also serves as an event room. The market opened there on November 5th with a members-only event with wines, a DJ, and dancing. Two hundred people attended the party, Degliantoni said. Another party, celebrating Evanston Made’s second year as a nonprofit organization, will take place on December 4th from 6pm to 8pm, by reservation only.

On Sunday, November 14th, ABH had several book art “stations” set up on the second floor. There you could try your hand at calligraphy, bookmaking and collage, take a 10-minute “speed-sharing” course in memoir writing or “baumisper,” a breathtaking installation of individual hand-made paper circles, each decorated by a single artist. Degliantoni said about 500 people went through the market that day.

“Tree whispers.” (Photo by Gay Riseborough)

On Sunday, December 2nd, the artist Shruti Vijay will demonstrate and teach “Urban Sketching”.

On December 12th, the actress Claudia Reuteria will read and perform Frida Kahlo’s letters to her husband, the artist Diego Rivera. She is accompanied by live music and a flamenco dancer.

The award-winning short film “Love Dog” by Evanstonian Rob Larson will be shown on December 10th from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. A Q&A with Larson will follow. A $ 5 to $ 10 intake is recommended, and all proceeds are donated to the Center for Independent Futures. This is the only event that has a fee.

“Embrace” plasma-cut recycled metal from Karl Johnson. (Photo by Gay Riseborough)

There will be a literary salon on December 12th where several Evanston authors will sign their latest books and sell them direct to the public. Among them will be Jevoid Simmons and Betsy Bird, others from ABH. Independent booksellers will also be represented.

On Saturday, December 11th, the Evanston Dance Ensemble 2 (ede2), the up-and-coming ensemble of seventh and eighth graders, will perform two pieces from Duke Ellington’s “Nutcracker Suite” at 3 p.m., followed by a 30-minute movement workshop for everyone, that move ages.

A Visit with Santa booth will be arriving shortly, coordinated by photographer Yancey Hughes, and open on weekends with live music on Saturdays coordinated with small business Saturdays.

Evanston Made also shares the space with partners, donors, and volunteer friends for free. Councilor Clare Kelly will use the second floor for her first community meeting, “Coffee with Clare” on December 6th. 7pm to 10pm The Evanston Chamber of Commerce will have its annual Women’s Luncheon there, and there are sure to be more special events like this.

Shopping days and times in the pop-up are Wednesday to Saturday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday to December 19 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Most artists are interested in taking jobs if you don’t see exactly what you want.

Holiday parking at the city’s nearby Maple Street Garage is free between 5:00 PM and 12:00 AM, weekday and all day Saturday from Thursday November 26th to Saturday January 2nd.

And after the first year, when all the art goes home, GW Properties, the owner of the building, says a recreational or entertainment facility will move in. Maybe even a climbing wall!

Evanston Art Center Winter Exhibition

Winter exhibition at the Evanston Art Center. (Photo by Gay Riseborough)

The 19th Annual Winter Crafts Exhibition opened at the Evanston Arts Center, 1717 Central Street, with a ticket-only preview party on November 19th and to the public the next day. There is a large multimedia market on the first floor of the building. The afternoon I was there, bright sunlight fell on the many laden tables.

This is and always has been a judged show. Emma Rose Gudewicz, the art center’s development director, said there were four jurors this year. They were looking for high quality work that would sell well and that they found appealing personally. The jury always tries to control the number of artists in a particular genre – not too many ceramists, not too many jewelry makers, etc.

Emma Rose Gudewicz at the Evanston Art Center. (Photo by Gay Riseborough)

Here you will find handmade clothing, pillows (some with pearls), jewelry, glass ornaments and vases, small paintings, handmade hats, stoles and scarves, small leather goods, turned wooden bowls, hand-painted note cards, Ted Glascoe calendars (view of Lake Michigan), hand-bound Diaries, crockery of all kinds, small sculptures, glass chess boards and sets, hand-cast candles, carved pens, handmade furniture, small boxes and unusual birdhouses.

For years, the Art Center’s winter exhibition was known as the holiday market. I don’t know the reason for the name change. The minimum number of artists on show at the expo is usually around 140 – 157 this year. Renay Mandell, an exhibiting jewelry artist, said she has been there for 12 years now and “knows” that she will get in every year. “I have a following,” she admitted, “so I always do very well here.”

St. Nick’s Fest Craft Fair

On Saturday and Sunday, December 4th and 5th, over 50 artisans will present original gift items and offer Christmas buyers in the Catholic Church of St. Nicholas. The offer ranges from jewelry to pottery, index cards to tree decorations, turned wooden bowls and pens and much more. This is an annual event. The opening times are on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Located in the Pope John XXIII School Cafeteria and Oldershaw Hall, 1108 & 1120 Washington Street.

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