THE BENEFIT: Art. Works.

Friday, May 3, 2024 5:30 – 8 pm

1957 Sheridan Rd.
Highland Park, IL 60035

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Featuring: Adam Siegel, Ruben Aguirre, bari wieselman schulman, Ina Beierle and Students, Arts of Life Studio Artists, and a pop-up exhibit curated by Laughlin Gallery

Exploring multiple levels of art making, this wide-ranging exhibit will feature the ways in which art works to benefit the community, local businesses, and The Art Center. Highlighting artists ranging from children and teens, accomplished TAC students, a breakthrough artist in residence, artists with disabilities, a professional for profit gallery, and a graffiti wall with selected hanging work by well-known street artists by special arrangement. The Benefit will also offer a preview of an exhibit by acclaimed Chicago artist Adam Siegel, nationally recognized for the breadth of his work as an abstract painter and photographer.

Every year The Art Center Highland Park (TAC) selects a theme for their biggest annual fundraiser held the first weekend in May. “We wanted to be very transparent this year,” says Executive Director James M Lynch, “that this is a benefit intended to raise nearly 20% of our annual budget. We decided to be direct and call it what it is: THE BENEFIT. Then we added the tagline, Art. Works., because this is a case of mutual benefit between the community, local businesses, and The Art Center, all working together to make our area a great place to live. Too often people think of arts and culture organizations as ‘the icing on the cake’ when, in reality, we’re a key ingredient of the batter for a healthy, vibrant community. It’s fair to say that we benefit the community in a lot of ways.”

TAC has nine full and part-time employees, has 60 teachers who are independent contractors, 1,400 registrations a year producing over $500,000 in tuition, and has a budget just over $1M. It has not turned down a scholarship request in years, pays over $40,000 a year in rent to the City of Highland Park, and nearly $60,000 in building expenses, repairs and utilities. It partners with many other not-for-profits, and was responsive after the 2022 Highland Park Shooting— offering a program to support victims. Additionally, it is the venue for art classes for the Highland Park Senior Center and Arts of Life, a local program for adults with disabilities, and offers a series of wellness classes for seniors. Each February it offers its galleries to local schools, rent-free, to celebrate Youth Art Month, annually drawing thousands of people to the area as a regional hub of arts and culture. TAC is surely a BENEFIT to the community and repeatedly proves that art does indeed work.

According to Nora Daley, Board Chair Illinois Arts Council, “The arts and culture sector accounts for $29.7 billion of the Illinois economy and supports more than 216,700 jobs. Our sector is made up of small to large-sized businesses. Our artists are entrepreneurs. We are economic drivers.” 

Community involvement and support, like sponsorship of events and exhibits, benefits the art center. “Hosting this event”, says Jackie Chilow, Director of Events for TAC, “allows us to come together and honor both our efforts and those of our community. Throwing this party gives us a chance to say thank you to everyone who takes classes, attends special events, donates, or supports TAC in any way. We absolutely made TAC the gem of the North Shore arts and cultural scene as a community and we love to celebrate it with a few hundred of our closest friends”.

This year’s event, The BENEFIT: Art. Works., will take place at The Art Center Highland Park, 1957 Sheridan Road, Highland Park, and is open to the public. Tickets are already on sale at The Art Center Highland Park - The Benefit ( Sponsorships and Silent Auction items are requested and you can find out more by calling 847-432-1888 and asking for Jackie Chilow or James M Lynch.

The Art Center Highland Park, a not-for-profit organization, is the North Shore’s home for artistic discovery and creative exploration. 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. Media