NSML January 2017 : Page 78

JA N E T AUS T I N Sculptor, Evanston Moth, dung beetle, larva—though not your typical subject matter, artist and Evanstonian Janet Austin (janetaustinart.com) gives the lowly and oft-maligned creatures of nature their day in the sun. is spring, Austin’s new sculpture, “Attached”—featuring a wasp on its hive—makes its debut as an inaugural piece in an outdoor art space curated by Evanston’s Art Council. While the wasp itself glistens with its glass mosaic body, the hive it will navigate is a welded Cor-ten steel labor of love in an ode to the insect. “ e narrative on the nest creates a bit of a puzzle to engage people, depending on their vantage point,” explains the artist. “ e ecologically driven theme is a perfect complement to the progressive community I live in.” ough bugs abound in Austin’s work, she also recreates the occasional grackle, toad or seascape, often on commission. Locally, the Indian Boundary Park, Northshore Sculpture Park and Chicago’s Old Town (where a dramatic blue waterbird sits) are a few spots that showcase her talent. Expect things to be abuzz in Evanston’s Elliot Park after the thaw right around the corner. –CR PLAYING WITH FIRE In the studio, sculptor Janet Austin playfully poses with a wasp that will be part of “Attached,” which was commissioned for Evanston’s Elliot Park. “Our mission is to have people look at art and ask questions that get them to discover things that they might not have ever seen or thought about,” says Joanna Pinsky, co-founder and artistic director of Art Encounter, the Evanston-based organization dedicated to arts education and outreach. From thoughtful programming for children and seniors to informative curator-led tours, Art Encounter’s expansive initiatives are supported by its generous members, who, in turn, enjoy exclusive studio visits with on-the-rise artists (this fall, the group spent an afternoon with megastar painter Hebru Brantley); private in-home collection tours with the city’s top arts players; and lectures that explore exciting art in Chicago’s museums, like the three-part series that starts this January ($75-$90 for series). Membership from $50, artencounter.org –JS OFF THE WALL THE GRAND TOUR Art Encounter members get exclusive tours of art-filled homes. 78 NS W I N T E R 2 0 1 7 | M O D E R N L U X U R Y. C O M

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