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Northlight Theatre receives $927,500 from newly announced statewide arts funding

The money is part of the spending bill passed by the state legislature last weekend, which boasts $50 million in funding for statewide arts and culture capital projects.

This artist’s rendering shows Northlight Theatre’s new theater to be constructed in downtown Evanston.
Evanston. Eckenhoff Saunders Architects

Hot on the heels of announcing the site and final plans for a new theater building earlier this month, Northlight Theatre on Wednesday announced it has been appropriated $927,500 from the state of Illinois to be used toward the construction of that building in downtown Evanston.

“Northlight is honored to be included as a line item appropriation in the new vertical Capital bill. This $927,500 appropriation confirms the economic impact that Northlight Theatre will bring to downtown Evanston,” said Northlight executive director Timothy J. Evans via statement. “Our legislators understand the impact of the arts in our community — not only economically but as a quality of life issue.”

Northlight, which has long made its home at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, had previously announced plans for a downtown Evanston glass tower on the 1700 block of Sherman Avenue, which called for rental apartments, a boutique hotel, parking, restaurant space, a 350-seat main stage theater and 100-seat second performance venue.

Those plans were met with criticism from area residents, and ultimately scrapped in favor of the new location at 1012-1016 Church Street. Northlight will purchase and then demolish a building currently situated on the new site, and construct a stand-alone, two- to three-story center.

The $927,000 allocation is part of the spending bill passed by the state legislature last weekend, which boasts $50 million in funding for statewide arts and culture capital projects. The funding initiative was led by Arts Alliance Illinois. The Illinois Arts Council Agency will administer the funding.