Valerie Kahan had a dream to build the first LEED certified arts center in Evanston. It is an energy efficient and sustainable operation that offers creativity and community for all.
Her dreams have adapted to financial realities, she said, not being LEED certified and still in “startup mode.” Art Makers Outpostthe small business she opened in January 2020, certainly does a lot of hosting. creativity and community.
Top floor of two story building at 609 South Blvd. There are several artists’ studios. The space is tight, and the walls around each space don’t reach the ceiling, so there’s no auditory privacy, but the atmosphere is sociable and collaborative.At RoundTable, her two artists, Rachel Mars and Anna Soltys works were seen. Soltys is also co-curator of the Outpost After Dark music series, along with Kahan and musician girlfriend Chris Greene.
The downstairs space is mainly aimed at young people and is where much of the artistic activity takes place. On holidays, half-days, after school on Wednesdays, and during school breaks, Outpost offers arts programs and camps. The artist leading the group may demonstrate techniques, provide guidance, and suggest material for the project.
After-school programs are capped at 20 children per session and last approximately 2 hours each. None of the programs are age grouped, allowing up-and-coming creators to learn from older and younger artists. A junior counselor goes around the table.
Kahan said Outpost’s educational philosophy is “led rather than directed.”
“We want to create a space where children of all abilities, ages 6 to 14, can thrive,” she said. “We embrace and support and expect nothing other than that they should be who they are. We also make no rules unless necessary. Our registration Most of it comes in verbally.Parents tell me, ‘This works for my child.'”
During the summer, camp sessions last one week, with morning and afternoon sessions offered for five consecutive weeks for children ages 6-14. There’s also his two-week immersive mural camp for kids ages 9 to 16. The latest murals are displayed on the south wall of the building.
On some select Fridays, Outpost also offers a teenage art program called Friday Night Teen Art Socials. Kahan sees socializing as “a safe place for teens to hang out with friends, make new friends, and have fun in a supervised but laid-back environment.”
A new caretaker-accompanied program has been launched for ‘Mini Makers’ aged 3-5. Children will have the opportunity to listen and create something to take home.
Kahan also offers art creation events for adults that are BYOB. There are currently three events planned for this year. She also hosts team-building exercises for corporate clients at Outpost, and the space is available for rent for her birthday parties and private events.
“Sometimes it’s not about having a goal, it’s about allowing your brain to process what’s going on around you,” says Soltis, who talks about the importance and role of art. Kahan, Greene, and Soltys are committed to giving back to the community. Kahan said the project also offers accessible scholarships where needed, which is covered by donations.
During the pandemic, Kahan and her team of volunteers assembled and distributed more than 1,000 art kits to help children create guided projects at home.
All supplies are gifts from local businesses. Donated materials will help support new outpost art projects and keep the environment from becoming a landfill.
In addition to the usual supplies such as non-toxic paints, markers, pencils and various types of paper, wood chips of various shapes, fabric samples, threads, strings, buttons, metal and plastic lids, chalk, pipe cleaners, corks , there is sparkle. , wallpaper, floor coverings and other remaining industrial samples of materials.