Friday, July 22, 2011

Remembering ArtSkills 2000

Not widely known by most my Evanston friends is that in the Summer of 2000, I led one of the City of Evanston's summer youth employment projects: ArtSkills 2000.

The project introduced Evanston teens to the art and business of photography. Though we were headquartered at Chute Middle School where we hosted many photographers who came to share their expertise, it was just as likely to find us shooting pictures around the city, developing film and printing in Norris Center's darkrooms, scanning negs at Columbia College or at the Art Institute or Evanston Photographic,

The coaches encouraged the kids to express their personal vision through the lens of their camera while documenting and exploring their Evanston. The resulting images were as varied as the kids themselves.  Then-freshman Nick Cade's focus was on cafe life.  Then-senior Gwen McPherson focus was more personal. She shot a series of pictures of her cat Muffy. Mia Rollow shared a views of her room. Some images captured decisive moments such as a picture of a seagull in flight by Richard Hammell, which he nailed with a point-and-shoot no less. Some images were graphic and contrived like Kemone Hendricks’ "Up in the Sky', which she created by hanging a flower in a tree limb. (It's the first image displayed on this page.) Other participates include Kate Broitman, Ann Heindel, Nicole Newman, Michelle Ilme, Jonathan Payne, Tim Robinson Jr., Anthony Sanders, Quinn Stephens, Gabe Patay, Dominique Harrison, Dominique Cunningham, Justin Shields, Kenneth Coe Jr., Eric Edwards and Mort King II.

Later in the project all of Evanston was invited to get involved through a portrait shoot, Evanston People, that invited everyone associated with Evanston to pose for a picture.

The kids' ten weeks of work culminated in a group exhibition at Noyes Cultural Center. We displayed individual portfolios, a slide show and large prints which offered the public a unique perspective on Evanston and what some of its teens are about. 

Collaborating organizations included PICTURE THIS Projects and the Evanston Arts Council.  Participating coaches and speakers included Jennifer Keats, Shavan Spears, Matthew McNulty, Scott Strazzante, Jon Lowenstein, Tom Maday, John Brooks, Terrence James, Yvette Dostanti, Todd Heisler, Joel Lerner, Bob Quane, Saben Orr and George Pfoertner.

I have many fond memories from that project. Thank you all.

From top to bottom, images displayed here are by Kemone Hendricks, Dominique Cunningham and Justin Shields.

Friday, July 15, 2011


This just in from our neighbor Robert Neustadt in Northfield...

If you've ever wanted to learn to draw, renowned author and TV host, Mark Kistler will be hosting a week-long cartooning workshop in Northfield.

When: Monday - Friday, July 25 - 29, 2011
5 Sessions per day: 9a-10a, 10:30 - 11:30a, Noon - 1:00, 1:30 - 2:30, 6:30 - 7:30 p Family Drawing Night

Where: Lutheran Church of Ascension (at the corner of Willow Rd. and Sunset Ridge), Northfield

Cost per session: $89/wk or $69/wk for siblings.

Mark claims anyone can learn to "draw in 3D" by adding depth and perspective.

He encourages kids to  translate their dreams and visions onto the page, linking right brain and left brain thinking.  The highly energetic Kistler appeared as "Commander Mark" on the PBS TV series "The Secret City" and later on "The Imagination Station."

It's an unforgettable week of laughs and skill building.

Sessions are held for everyone ages 5 and up.

For more info, drawing lessons and registration, go to or call 800-431-6829.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

2 tickets for $10 for FROM THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA this weekend

This just in from Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre...

Early Bird 2 for 1 Special!
Arrive at the box office between
6:00-6:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 16
3:00-3:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 17
and receive two tickets for $10!

The Theatre at Noyes Cultural Arts Center
927 Noyes St.
Tickets: usually $10 in advance or at the door 

By Endesha Ida Mae Holland, Ph. D.
Directed by Tim Rhoze

This autobiographical work follows Dr. Holland's powerful journey through poverty and abuse in the Jim Crow South, her role as an activist in the civil rights movement, academic achievement and triumph as a Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright. This play is filled with story and song.

Featuring Joi-Anissa Russell, Ebony Joy and Elana Elyce
Musical accompaniment by bluesman Vince Agwada

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Support Power Paws for Kids in the Pepsi Refresh Project with a click

$5,000 grant to help expand Read to the Dogs program

This in from our neighbors Lida Liu and Bella...

Please vote for Power Paws for Kids in the Pepsi Refresh Project.

PPK provides animal-assisted therapy programs in the NW Indiana area. Pepsi's grant will help us expand our "Read to the Dogs" programs in the NW Indiana area and possibly to the greater Chicagoland area. 

Many kids struggle with reading and find that reading to a dog is much less intimidating and more relaxing than reading to their peers.  Power Paws has had much success in helping children improve their reading skills through participation in these programs.  The kids really enjoy reading to the dogs and the dogs love being read to as well.  Many of these dogs were rescued and are now proud therapy dogs making a difference in the community. 
Please help a great cause and remember you can vote everyday through July 31st! 

Please click here to vote:

You may also Text 107162 to Pepsi (73774) to vote from your mobile.


Power Paws for Kids, Inc. is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.

Lida Liu is the Manager of Social Media for Power Paws for Kids, a rock climbing instructor at the Evanston Athletic Club and, with her dog Bella (above), is a Coworking Evanston denizen.