Ignite Passion

Friday, May 5, 2023 7 – 10 pm

1957 Sheridan Rd.
Highland Park, IL 60035

The Art Center Highland Park’s Spring Benefit Ignites Passion 

For an amazing tenure of 63 years The Art Center Highland Park has been a North Shore cultural destination inspiring and igniting a passion for the arts by providing a forum for self-expression, dialogue, and community engagement. To fund its year-round programming TAC hosts three annual fundraisers: the community-favorite Recycled Art Sale, the summer Draw Together event, which is a cross between an education open house and a massive sidewalk chalk ‘happening,’ and its biggest event, the annual Spring Benefit

Last year’s benefit, Common Thread, launched the exhibit Fiber, Fashion, Feminism, which featured the work of nine invited artists, and ‘wove together the pretty and the profound’, according to the Chicago Reader. The event featured a live fashion show, music by the energizing DJ Tess, gourmet passed bites, sophisticated cocktails, and a fun, exciting silent auction. It was a party to remember and unquestionably the best place to be. So how do you top such a successful event? With PASSION. 

The theme of this year’s benefit, inspired by the organization’s vision statement, is Ignite Passion. The upcoming event on Friday, May 5 at 7 PM, will take place in the galleries and studios of TAC at 1957 Sheridan Road in Highland Park with a VIP preview for donors paying $1,250 or more. It will also be the first viewing of a major gallery event, The Passion Project, featuring eight vibrant and passionate artists from around the country: Bojitt (Bojana Ilic), Brandon Breaux, Jeremy Brown, Veronica Clements, Irene Mamiye, Yuko Nishikawa, Katrina Smolinsky, and Elisa Valenti. 

Featured artist Bojitt will create a live art piece that will be part of the night’s auction, and multi-instrumentalist Sam Thousand will provide music. Cocktails and light bites will be passed, with art demonstrations on the studio level, exhibits and activities on the gallery level, and a special performance by Chicago’s internationally renowned Hubbard Street Dance. NBC’s morning traffic anchor and general assignment reporter Kye Martin will host the event. More surprises are in the works, including an amazing group of silent auction and fund-for-cause items and an incredible raffle item provided by Burdeen’s Jewelry that will help TAC stay the leading arts and culture provider on the North Shore. 

With the help and support of a volunteer committee led by board member Janea D. Harris and Highland Park gallery owner Lauren Laughlin, TAC’s Director of Events Jacqueline Chilow is once again tasked with making this year’s event even better than last year’s. “Our goal is to raise 15-20% of our annual budget in this one event,” says Chilow, “so the pressure is really on to make this a great party, but I know the community always comes through.” The Art Center is a 501C3 not-for-profit organization and is funded through arts education tuition, donations, and grants, so this event holds great importance in its ability to continue serving the public with programs, education, and events. 

Sponsorship for Ignite Passion is still open and many levels are available, including the VIP preview on the night of the event for all donors of $1,250 or more. More information is available on the TAC website, theartcenterhp.org, or donations can be made and tickets purchased directly on the event website, https://one.bidpal.net/ignitepassion/welcome. This event website will enable participants to follow along as the night’s festivities play out and features a live link to the silent auction* and raffle* where everyone can follow the action on their phones or just set automatic bidding so they can relax and have fun, knowing they’ll win their favorite item at the end of the night. Anyone wishing to provide a silent auction item or with a special request, or question, can contact The Art Center at 847-432-1888, Monday through Saturday, 10 AM – 4 PM. 

The Art Center Highland Park, a not-for-profit organization, has been the North Shore’s home for artistic discovery and creative exploration since 1960. Through innovative programs, exhibitions, and classes designed for all levels and ages, The Art Center provides a welcoming space for our diverse communities to experience and participate in the arts. 

For more information about TAC contact: media@theartcenterhp.org, 847-432-1888 

For more information about sponsorship, tickets, or to donate silent auction items: Jacqueline Chilow, jchilow@theartcenterhp.org, or Stina Taylor, staylor@theartcenterhp.org, 847-432-1888 

*The online auction and raffle can be accessed remotely for those not able to be present for the live event. 


Above: 'Empower' by Bojana Ilic - BOJITT, who will create a live art piece that will be part of the night’s auction at TAC Spring Benefit 2023, Ignite Passion. Photo courstesy of the Artist.