First Saturdays highlights work of local artists and their venues

First Saturdays highlights work of local artists and their venues

At Evanston Made’s First Saturdays Art Events this weekend, attendees got the chance to enjoy artwork at local businesses, venues, galleries, bars and restaurants.

Russell Muit’s art adorns the walls of Evanston Pour. Credit: Olivia Landon

Evanston Made is an organization that seeks to help Evanston artists in a variety of ways, from helping them grow in their profession to connecting them with potential patrons.

With the first Saturday events, Evanston Made executive director Lisa Degliantoni realized that getting people out of the house and away from Netflix was her first challenge. Then it was getting them to stick.

“People don’t like to hang out too long,” Degliantoni said. “They like to go in, get some bad wine, have a piece of cheese, look at art, bounce and go to various, right?”

Her solution to the problem was to invent First Saturdays, where Evanstonians can jump from an afternoon drawing class at Sketchbook Brewery to evening gallery openings at The Village Farm Stand. The events are inspired by Chicago’s First Fridays.

“We said to anyone in the art world, whether you’re a gallery, whether you’re a coffee shop with art: Be open,” she said. “Hold an event if you want or a booze sale or an artist talk, and we’ll put you on a little card.”

While First Saturdays started small, by September 3rd the events were spread across 12 Evanston locations, thanks to their members and partners like Dempster Mile.

“Dempster Mile has been a great partner” and “an economic driver for Evanston,” proving “you can have a great art collection with all Evanston artists,” said Liz Cramer, co-director of Evanston Made.


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