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Stirling Hall Art Center




Welcome to Stirling Hall Art Center

Program Details

Creative Arts Programs are held at the Stirling Hall location. Directions from Rt. 41 -- go west on Old Elm Rd. to Ridge Rd., south on Ridge Rd. to Old Mill Rd., east of Old Mill Rd. east to Grove Cultural Center (60 E. Old Mill Road). Follow the road back to the Stirling Hall Arts & Activities Center. Click on the map for a larger view.

Workshops and classes are about to start at Stirling Hall. Children and adults are enjoying pottery, mosaics, raku firing and other offerings. The winter catalog is out so sign up for a workshop or class with new opportunities for creative expression. Stirling offers a one-two punch of world class facilities and experienced teachers. Call, or better yet, stop by and see for yourself what you can do with a little imagination.

History of Stirling Hall

The history of Stirling Hall dates to 1927, when architect Edwin H. Clark was commissioned to design a permanent campus for the Ridge Farm s-hallsmPreventorium, a facility whose mission was to help stem the tide of the tuberculosis epidemic. Construction of Stirling Hall began in 1928 with its completion in 1929. As a member of the Ridge Farm Preventorium Board, Clark had a personal interest in the project, which from its inception was much larger than the scaled down version of the campus. Stirling Cottage as it was called then was the residential building of Ridge Farm and was named after William Robert and Alice Ives Stirling the parents of Mrs. Francis Dickinson the major contributor to the Preventorium. The metal windows and exterior pilasters are believed to be incorporated into the design as a tribute to William Robert Stirling who served as an officer of the Joliet Steel Company and the Illinois Steel Company. Other significant designs by Edwin Clark include Ferry Hall and the Lake Forest Library

The City of Lake Forest purchased the Grove School property in 1998 and in 1999 the Blue Ribbon Committee approved a special use permit to develop the property as a Cultural Arts Campus. In February 2000, Vacala Construction was authorized by the City Council to act as the construction manager for Dickinson Hall Senior Center renovation, site and demolition work. From early spring through this fall, staff have worked closely with Vacala Construction and the architectural firm of Grund & Rietserer.

In February of 2001, the Council approved to amend the original project concept from a single large - scale project and contract to a phased approach. The Council also agreed to loan the Recreation Department $300,000 towards the renovation project. This loan will be paid down within five years through a combination of grants, donations, and Recreation Department Impact Fees.

The Stirling Hall Advisory Committee and the Recreation Staff, have together developed a diverse arts program for the residents of Lake Forest. The new Stirling Hall Arts & Activities Center is fully equipped and staffed to provide the community of Lake Forest a facility that all its residents can discover the artist within.

With this web site, we hope to keep you up to date on all the activities, studio hours, kiln firing schedule and other information.

Gas Kiln

Geil, 54 c.f. downdraft kiln with Venturi burners. Maximum firing temperature: 2300 degrees F. Any type of clay can be fired in this kiln, but what makes it special is its ability to fire in reduction. Reduction is a term potters use to refer to an oxygen-poor atmosphere that can be achieved during a firing. The potter intentionally reduces the amount of oxygen available to combine with the fuel to burn "properly". If this is done at the right times during the firing, the color of some glazes will change dramatically. For instance, glazes with copper in them will change from a pale green in a neutral atmosphere to a bright red when fired in a reduction atmosphere. Many classic glazes such as celedon and shino are only achievable in the Stirling Hall kiln.

Studio Monitors

Studio hours will be monitored primarily by student monitors. Student monitors receive a 1/3 tuition reduction for monitoring a specific time slot each week. The duties of a monitor are minimal but vital to the safe and efficient running of the studio. If you would like to be a studio monitor or would like more information about the duties please contact Joe Mobile at Stirling Hall. Assuming similar experience and qualifications, applicants are assigned time slots on a first come first served basis.

Kiln Firing Schedule

The gas kiln is fired on an as-needed basis. Typically this means we will fire about every two weeks. We will post the exact date of each firing on the door to the kiln room and on this web site as soon as we have enough work to efficiently fire the kiln. We will keep you posted!

Other Information

We will post information regarding upcoming workshops, events, fired work pickup times, biographies of teachers, local art shows, favorite glaze formulas, and much more on a regular basis.


For more information contact John Eldridge, Program Manager at (847) 810-3940


60 E. Old Mill Rd.
Lake Forest, IL  60045
Phone: 847-810-4688

Art Director: Karen Avery
Art Supervisor: Debra Lerman


Studio Hours

Below are the studio hours. You must be enrolled in our classes to use the studio during its open hours.

1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
12:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
1:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
10:00 a.m - 4:30 p.m.
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.


220 E. Deerpath, Lake Forest, IL 60045
(847) 234-2600
Non-Emergency Police:  (847) 234-2601

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