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Walter Burt Adams Bus Tour Highlights Evanston Backdrops and Honors a Local Legend

Updated: Sep 15, 2020

Sunday Morning, My Farewell to Evanston, 1977 by Walter Burt Adams

Levy Center members and guests participated in two special bus tours last month which highlighted the locations depicted in work by renowned Evanston artist Walter Burt Adams. Due to popular demand, a third trip was added for Nov. 14.

Walter Burt Adams became resident of Evanston, Illinois in 1931 and was an artist for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) which was created to help provide economic relief to the citizens of the United States during the Great Depression.

Eden Juron Pearlman, Executive Director of the Evanston History Center, was the guide for the bus tour and also was also the featured speaker in May at the Levy Lecture Series which showcased Walter Burt Adams’ Evanston-themed artwork.

“Walter Burt Adams was an Evanston original,” said Juron Pearlman. “He was passionate about art and his city. He found beauty in everyday subjects such as the ‘El’ and street corners. He documented his city and left us a pictorial legacy.”

Juron Pearlman’s background is as an art historian, but while preparing for her lecture and the bus tour she and her colleagues at the Evanston History Center worked hard to match the artist’s street scenes with their current locations. At one point they even referred to the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for Evanston maps to successfully validate one or two specific locations, Juron Pearlman told Wendi Kromash, who wrote about the lecture for the Evanston Round Table.

Dia and John Walsh joined the October tour. "It was a very interesting outing, fascinating to see how much some of Adams’ locations have changed, and how much others have not—and to learn about a man so engaged in an artistic pursuit in this community for more than 40 years. “

And while the backdrops for his paintings have come and gone over the years, Walter Burt Adams’ legacy lives on, thanks to the late Joe Levy, Jr., a generous philanthropist, main benefactor of the Levy Senior Center and successful businessman who knew Walter Burt Adams and was a fan of his work. Mr. Levy collected many of the artist’s paintings over several decades and donated several to the Levy Senior Center Foundation.

Those paintings were recently hung in the renovated library, now named the Joseph Levy, Jr. Library at the center, thanks to funding from the Levy Senior Center Foundation who helped pay for the framing and hanging. Stop by to see them in person.

For more information on Levy Senior Center programming, visit our events calendar.


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