artruck. It’s about space and community—and art.
This is the story about how I dreamed up the idea for artruck, and how my partner made it happen.
artruck is a pure community endeavor. It is not at all commercial. In fact it’s free to attend and free to show art.
Since it started it has done exactly what I intended: provide a space for artists to show their work and build an arts community.
The story behind artruck
(Or how it came about)
An artist’s lament
It was 2011 when I had the idea for artruck.
As an artist, I wanted to be part of the arts scene that Evanston is famous for, but it was really hard to find. Worse, it limited my ability to show my work. Sure, my art was in the occasional show and café display; and I exhibited a piece here and there but it never felt very consistent.
But I went about it the wrong way. I waited for someone to give me the opportunity to display my work instead of seeking to create the opportunities myself.
In the summer of 2011, I was looking out my front window at the empty street. An idea came to me: why don’t I create the space to show my art? And why not build an arts community that is open to other artists?
It would not be a commercial endeavor. Instead, it would be purely a chance for me and other artists to show our work—in turn we would build an arts community.
We couldn’t afford to rent a brick and mortar space, but we could afford to make a temporary space on the street in front of our yard. We could rent trucks and show the art there. The community would organically form during a three-hour celebration and conversation about art.
From there it all came together.
In no time, my partner figured out a way to string lights inside the back of the trucks and hang the art on the walls.
In the beginning
Then of course the lingering, trite but pressing question: if we build it will they come?
You know the answer.
A resounding YES!!
On October 24, 2011, at 7:30 in the morning, we rented two moving trucks and parked them back-to-back on the street outside of our house. We pulled out the ramps and rigged up the lights.
We spread the word through various channels, mostly word of mouth, online and a wee bit of social media. We found artists to display their work in the space.
About 200 people showed up. It was joyful. Friends, neighbors, and artists shared food, gazed at art, chatted with one another, and enjoyed the keen breath of the autumn air.
When the evening came to a close around 10 p.m., the artists left with their work and their empty dishes. We locked up the trucks. We went to sleep. We returned the trucks to the rental company early the following morning.
And there you have it. The magic of a space. It doesn’t have to be a permanent, tall, iron-cored skyscraper or a well-designed architectural wonder of the world. It can be as simple and plain as a moving truck transformed into a makeshift art exhibit space. We built it within 24-hours and people came. Art was shown and friendships were made.
All this for the small fee spent to rent the trucks.
Come join us: share the space and become part of our community!
We make it happen.
Artists, guests, bakers and friends make it great.
Read more about us in the Press.
Evanston Patch, October 2012
Maike’s Marvels, October 2012
Evanston Roundtable, October 2013
The Daily Northwestern, October 2013
Evanston Newbie, October 2014