Club of
  Highland Park / Highwood
James M. Lynch, Executive Director of The Art Center Highland Park has lived in Highland Park for 20 years. Before joining TACHP, he taught 'Acting for Non-Actors' and worked as an executive coach. He is the author of "The Hamlet Secret: A Self-Directed Workbook for Living a Passionate, Joy Filled Life".
The Center was founded in 1960 as the Suburban Fine Arts Center. They offer classes and workshops all four seasons with 2400 enrollments a year. James said 80-85% of them are returning customers. In normal times they have 6-8 self-generated exhibits a year aside from their three major events. The Center has about 30,000 visits a year! This year the Center has rebranded with a bolder logo that reflects the building and emphasizes the art in its name. Their mission statement also reflects their outreach and commitment to the North Shore community.
Just like the executive coach he is, James knew the way to look at the pandemic is to see it as the opportunity to do a quick redo.  He shared with us how The Art Center made changes to their approach of community outreach in the time of a pandemic. They moved what classes they could online, cancelled classes that weren't full and spent the time painting classrooms, going through every closet and storage space, selling off items like unused desks and displays  and reinvesting that money into blue-tooth speakers for every classroom. They also invested in air filtration.  A hybrid model of classes will begin in September.

Because summer camps were cancelled, TACHP responded by creating "art in a box" where every Wednesday, parents could pick up the kits and the children would get a link to the class instruction. They had to cancel their major fundraiser and fine art exhibits last year. James and his staff turned their focus on being a more welcome space by expanding their reach on the North Shore.
The TACHP staff is fully vaccinated They are supplying classes for the HP Senior Center, offering "art in a box" with bilingual teachers through the Highwood Library's Craft CafĂ©. This weekend kicks off the new season with "Draw Together" event this week is in conjunction with student artists from Ireland, Italy, Senegal, Switzerland, Israel and Australia who are sending chalk drawing virtually. The international aspect is part of "Project 2020: Together", a global connection through art in our lives . Chalk kits are $35 and $45 and can be picked up at The Center. Sunday Salons will be begin soon with speakers. This week also debuts a new exhibit: "Ephemera: The Power of Impermanence" which runs through June 12th, The Fine Arts Festival will return June 27th and 28th.
For more information about what is happening at The Art Center, click here.