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Public Art

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The City of Evanston believes that public art connects us emotionally and socially to our neighborhoods and each other.  We encourage art that adds to the aesthetics of our community and that embodies inclusion, engagement and interaction.

View the City's interactive Public Art map to view works across Evanston.

Arts Council

The Arts Council is the general review board for all public art projects and programs. To apply for public and community art funds as part of the Neighborhood Public Art Fund, the interested artist and/or organization must present the project before the Arts Council. Please review the Procedure for Requesting Arts Council Funding before presenting before the Arts Council. 

The Arts Council and former Public Art Committee are proud to celebrate the existing projects around the city and look forward to funding more public art projects to contribute to the vibrant livability of Evanston and all of the city's residents and visitors.

Below are just a few highlights:

Ten Thousand Ripples

Evanston is one of ten Chicago communities, and the only one outside of Chicago, participating in the exciting public art and peace project, Ten Thousand Ripples (TTR). In Evanston, TTR is focusing on bridging differences in our community that are barriers to peace.

TTR is a collaboration between artist Indira Johnson and Changing Worlds. Learn more about TTR at

TTR created artistic workshops and residencies to address these issues of difference, cultural understanding and peace creating opportunities for dialogue.  Collaborating partners in Evanston included Family Focus, Open Studio Project, Evanston Art Center, Evanston Community Foundation and its Friends of the Arts Fund, Evanston Ecology Center, Evanston Public Library and Foundation 65.

The focus of these activities was the installation of ten fiberglass emerging Buddha sculptures designed by Johnson. The sculptures invite us to think about how we can find peace in our own lives and in our communities.

The TTR collaboration is utilized public input for the final placement of the Buddha sculptures around Evanston. Ten sculptures were present as the first phase of the project, and 6 remain as permanent additions to Evanston's public art collection around the city. 

Search & Effect

Search & Effect, a multimedia  installation at the Sherman Plaza Garage by the artist team of Krivanek+Breaux, was selected from among five finalists and approved by the Public Art Committee and City Council in response to a call for artists in 2012.  Funded through the City’s Percent for Art Program, the project was completed in the of 2014 at the southwest corner of the garage, near the intersection of Davis and Benson streets.

Artist Statement

This large-scale public sitework encompasses the entire high-rise structure.  Looking upward at the façade from ground level, a viewer becomes aware of the up-and-down movement of elevators as spotlight beams are focused downward to suggest searching.  The view outward from inside the elevator cabs

will be mediated by patterns of Text-Icons, to enhance the experience of looking outward over the city.  Entering or exiting the elevators on the upper floors, building users will trigger motion-activated spotlights in the observation area, highlighting large-scale Pattern-Icons upon the surfaces of panels that face outward.  Viewers can become further engaged by casting shadows of their bodies upon these surfaces, to assert a human presence.  At ground level, passersby on the sidewalk encounter Silhouette+Shadow Inscriptions that are revealed by the spotlights of descending elevator cabs, words that suggest the unforeseen outcomes, consequences, and impacts of ideation and creation upon individuals and broader society.

Evanston Custer Avenue Bridge Project (The Blue Line)

Artist Jim Brenner created this gateway identification artwork that denotes the entry to (or departure from) South Evanston. It transforms the Custer Street bridge fence, on the 200 block of Custer Ave., into a sculpture that utilizes the effect of motion across distance to create a sense of movement from a changing perspective.


The vertical plates of steel function as vertical louvers in a window shade, creating a sense of cadence that occurs as one passes the sculpture with the blue line of LED light appearing to rise and fall as one goes by. 

The result is an artwork that is interesting both for pedestrians and as seen from a moving car.




Library Sidewalk Poem Project

 The City of Evanston’s Public Art Committee and the Board of Directors of the Evanston Public Library created a poetry competition to select five original poems to be installed in concrete on the sidewalk ramp in front of the Evanston Public Library in downtown Evanston.

Winners have been chosen: Selected Poems

A dedication was held on October 19, 2011.


The Encounter

The Encounter, the sculpture atop the Maple Avenue Garage, was dedicated on Friday, December 18, 2009. Created by artist Hubertus von der Goltz, The Encounter features two figures delicately balancing and moving toward each other on a plank.

The sculpture symbolizes the coming together of people from different cultures and walks of life just as the public below will encounter each other on the sidewalks of Evanston as they work, shop, take in a movie or go to dinner. The garage is located at 1800 Maple Avenue.

Fire Station #5 Public Art

Photo of Fire Station Number 5 public art installation

Public Art has been installed at Fire Station #5, located at 2830 Central Street in Evanston (see photos in this section).


The City of Evanston has replaced the existing Fire Station #5 with a new, state-of-the-art two-story structure. Building materials were selected to blend in with existing buildings on Central Street, primarily red brick, terra cotta tile, and glass. This new construction was designed to be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, meeting consensus-based national standards for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. Green aspects of the building include a wall for vines and storm water collection and reuse for washing trucks. The site of the new building has a limited setback area from the street, which impacted the type of project that would be appropriate for the site.

The winning plan was submitted by Robert Smart. His plan is outlined below.

Public art panel with green lightingPublic art photograph with blue lighting

Emitting Waves
by Robert Smart, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Materials: Glass and acrylic LED panels

As an essential element known to all forms of life, water, when used respectfully, helps maintain a balance between the earth, wind, and fire. A series of glass and cell-cast acrylic panels will be carved with images depicting the flow of water. Viewed from both the interior and exterior of the building, the images will appear to "float" as they will be lit internally by low-voltage, computer programmable, light-emitting diodes. Providing light refraction and focused edge-illumination, subtle transitions in light within each panel will create "breathing" movement, emulating the flow of water.

Finalist waves image


Song of Roland, restored muralThere is a community-wide effort to save the historic art in Evanston schools! Are you aware that several hundred objects of historic and artistic value still survive in Evanston schools? Learn more!

Margherita Andreotti, PhD, conducted a Preliminary Survey of Historic Art in the Evanston schools with contributions by Christine Bell, PhD, and Nancy Flannery. Their report is divided into two pdf files

(a written report as well as accompanying photos).

Report on public art in Evanston schools (350 KB)
Illustrations - art in Evanston schools (7.85 MB)

Neighborhood Public Art Program

Mosaic at Willard SchoolIs there a site in your ward -- a wall, garden, corner, park, etc. -- that would benefit from a community art project? The Evanston Arts Council is pleased to encourage public art projects in a variety of neighborhoods throughout the City. The Neighborhood Public Art Program invites neighborhood groups to apply for funding support for public art projects that would enhance the quality of the community.

The Willard School amphitheater mosaic, at left, was funded through this program.


The Avenue of the Righteous

Avenue of the RighteousIn 1986 the Evanston City Council unanimously approved development of the Avenue of the Righteous on a site in Ingraham Park adjacent to the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Avenue. In 1987, the Avenue of the Righteous was dedicated.

Complete with flowering trees and evergreens, brick paths, benches and name plaques, this grove pays tribute to heroes who reside in the Midwestern part of the United States and Canada. 

The Avenue of the Righteous is a non-profit interfaith organization devoted to honoring righteous actions during the Holocaust and to bringing lessons from that time to life today. The Avenue seeks to identify the righteous who saved Jews during the Holocaust.

Information about visiting the Avenue of the Righteous