Evanston gets state's only NEA 'Our Town' grant

August 1, 2011

This happened the second week in July but I haven't seen it reported elsewhere: the sole Illinois grant from the NEA's "Our Town" program, which aspires to get money for the arts by claiming it's good for urban development and therefore should be paid for by HUD or HHS or the Department of Commerce or the Department of Transportation or public-private partnerships or anyone other than the underfunded NEA itself--the sole Illinois grant of this kind is $50,000 to the City of Evanston "to support an architectural study and financial plan for a performing arts and community center in downtown Evanston. The study and plan will propose potential scenarios for the rehabilitation, development, and programming of the Second Baptist Church and Varsity Theater, a former movie palace." The site is between Sherman and Benson just north of Church, close to both the Metra and El stops at Davis. 

Might this someday supplant the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, or merely supplement it?