Winter HeARTh


Winter in the midwest is grey, bleak, and most of all: cold. This could be an easy excuse to stay inside, secluded and unsatisfied. Or, this could be a ready canvas for making color and coming together as a community!

Winter HeARTh is an annual community public art series that seeks to bring together the residents of Evanston during the cold, isolating winter months. Each project consists of a low-barrier (everybody welcome!) collectively made project, and a temporary public installation. This is a fun way for artists and amateurs alike to come out and make something, and have it make the public square shine a little brighter.

Initiated and produced annually by Jason Brown, Winter HeARTh is an inherently collaborative effort. Each year, it has been sponsored by the Evanston Arts Council, and supported by our creative partners such as Downtown Evanston, the Ridgeville Foundation, the Evanston Public Library, as well as local businesses and eateries. 





Partnering with a Quilting Guild of north Evanston, KnitSplosion brought together cast-off projects, experienced knitters, and newbie placemakers to create a warm yarnbombing for the trees outside of the Evanston Public Library, Main Branch.


A strange phenomenon happens every winter on the beaches of Lake Michigan's north shore - a vast berm of ice and snow creates surreal lakeside hills. We took this opportunity to paint with food coloring, ice creations, and natural pigment.


Flight for Peace

Carrying on the Japanese tradition of senbazuru, we partnered with houses of worship and origami artists young and old to fold a flock of cranes 600 strong. The resulting installation still hangs in the Evanston Ecology Center


In a bold challenge to the winter storms, we attempted to dance away the cold, in partnership with Northwestern University's Dance Marathon. However, we ended up mostly losing the battle to the season's biggest blizzard. 


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Veering away from the traditional two project series, TryAngles was one project brought to two locations, allowing more community members to participate. 

Participants were invited to paint triangles and answer prompts about tryingtrials, and triumphs. The answers became part of the mural, which hung in downtown Evanston for over a year. 


Rocks and Rolls

With rocks from the earth, food donated from Lucky Platter, Cross-Rhodes, and Hewn, and the musical melodies of local minstrels, participants spent an unseasonably warm day out in the park painting rocks, later planted in rock gardens around Ridgeville Park

Talking Trees

Participants were asked: What would the trees tell us as we move through the seasons? Written encouragements were wrapped up into tassels and hung from three arboreal corridors around downtown Evanston, where the words would whisper on the wind. 


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What does it mean to be "covered" by your community? Participants embroidered their answers on a collectively made quilt, honoring our community strengths and acknowledging our weaknesses. 

The completed quilt was shown at 1100 Florence and the Evanston Made Show. It is available for show in other community spaces around town.