Art Makers and Earth Lovers Unite at Art Maker’s Outpost Earth Month Event

Guillermo Herrera plays on a miniature drum set he built. (Photo by Adina Keeling)

Art Maker’s Outpost is an art studio beloved by artists and Earth lovers.

The walls are lined with jars of glitter, bottle caps, buttons and other creative materials, which are sourced from the community and diverted from landfills.

These materials are then used in art classes, summer camps for children, BYOB (bring your own drink) workshops for adults, and community events hosted by Art Maker’s Outpost, located at 609 South Boulevard.

Earth Month inspired the studio’s latest community event. Between noon and 4 p.m. on Sunday, children and families stopped by to make art out of recycled materials, paint a large outdoor mural, join a drumming circle and snack on some cookies.

Community members could also drop off used art supplies or participate in a plant swap.

Valerie Kahan, co-founder and creative director of the Art Maker’s Outpost, said that while the event provided a fun afternoon of creating art, it also showed the types of materials the studio collects and how they can be repurposed.

“Our space is really dedicated to helping people imagine how materials can be reused,” Kahan said. “We collect arts and crafts materials that are used gently, but we also collect so much more than that.”

Local art lover Lily Mcquarters, 11, attended the event with her mother, Rebecca Phend. She helped paint the exterior mural and did some crafts inside the studio.

“I really enjoy doing art,” Lily said. “Me and my mom, that’s our thing.”

Lily also participated in the Drum Circle, led by Tony Garrett, a prolific African drum teacher. On weekends he teaches drums at Art Maker’s Outpost, and once a month on Fridays he leads a community drumming circle.

Garrett taught Lily various drum techniques while she practiced, Lily said. “It was really fun,” she added.

The event also raised awareness of another upcoming Earth Month event: a 10-Second Film Festival hosted by local climate organizations D65 Climate Action Teams and Citizens’ Greener Evanston.

The animators invite members of the community to submit a film on the festival’s website. The last day to submit a film is April 21, and films will be screened at the festival, held in the Rotary International auditorium, at 6:30 p.m. on April 22.

Marie Cabiya, a member of the D65 Climate Action Teams, said this was the festival’s third year.

Having just finished his own short film, Cabiya said that although ten seconds is not a lot of time, directing and creating a short film is surprisingly time consuming.

Kahan said she is hosting more BYOB events for adults, in addition to planning camps for the summer. The studio is also planning more prints, paintings, sculptures and mosaics, she added.

“We’re really excited for what’s to come,” Kahan said.

Virginia C. Taylor