Yvonne Boose

Arts and Culture Reporter

Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.

Rockford Art Museum

 

  

Due to the pandemic, the deadline for entries has been extended for a juried art exhibition that takes place every two years in Rockford.

The 76th Rockford Midwestern Biennial’s deadline was originally June 15. It is now June 29.

Carrie Johnson is the executive director and curator of the Rockford Art Museum.

She said the museum understands that many artists are caught up in dealing with the effects of COVID-19.

Dana Chaplin of Preservation Heart Photography

A DeKalb chef is partnering with a nonprofit to supply residents with warm meals.  

The DeKalb County Community Gardens started serving “Pay-As-You’re-Able” meals at the Genoa Area Community Food Hub back in January.

The plan was for this to take place monthly but COVID-19 changed that.

Heather Edwards is the associate director of DCCG. She said the organization has worked with personal chef Rudy Galindo before.

https://pixabay.com

The U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 Thursday to uphold the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Two northern Illinois legislators are applauding the decision.  

The DACA program gives individuals who came to the United States illegally as children the option to stay. They can request a two-year deferment, which is renewable. There are several conditions that must be met.        

Freeport Art Museum

Many nonprofit organizations across Illinois are feeling the financial blow of COVID-19. A northern Illinois art museum is working to stay afloat -- despite the setback.

Staff at the Freeport Art Museum jumped into action when Governor J.B. Pritzker announced the stay-at-home order back in March.

Jason Judd is the executive director of the museum. He said the first thing they did was look at legislation that could help them.

Connie Kuntz

Many people turn to their faith during uncertain times. And two northern Illinois faith communities are making sure their members are supported.

George Davis is a member of the Spiritual Assembly Baha’is of Rockford.

Davis said the Baha’i National Spiritual Assembly offered guidance for both COVID-19 precautions and handling the death of George Floyd.

https://www.facebook.com/rogue1tba

The death of George Floyd ignited protests across the country. But some communities also experienced looting. Aurora was one of them. A local artist used graffiti to help beautify what was destroyed. WNIJ delved into the history of this “City of Lights” artist.

Sam Cervantes was driving through the city’s downtown area on his way to work.

“This is at 8:30 in the morning and there's just droves of people with brooms and dustpans,” he said.

Then he saw them boarding up windows.

https://www.gorockford.com/resource-center/our-journey/

Two Rockford-area nonprofits and a local business are teaming up to support artists and art organizations in Winnebago County. 

Denezz Hyphenx Cochran

Christopher D. Sims is an African American poet and human rights activist in the Rockford area. He was featured in WNIJ’s “State of the Artist” podcast last year.

Sims said these protests, which were sparked by George Floyd’s death, have been different from demonstrations he’s attended in the past. For one, he said, more young people took part.

“But the young people are just as heartbroken and angry, as all of us, any of us in this country,” he said.

He said he is proud of the Rockford Youth Activism group for organizing Tuesday’s protest at Haskell Park.

She Goes By Devan

Jun 4, 2020
Photo provided by Devan.

Aurora continues to showcast artists during its virtual First Fridays. An artist from Sandwich is making a splash in the city's art scene.

The 27-year old artist simply goes by Devan. She started out doing art when she was six.

https://www.facebook.com/DeKalbILPoliceDepartment/

DeKalb Interim Chief of Police John Petragallo is ready to take off his badge.

“Mayor, Council, City Manager Nicklas, I would like to thank you for the opportunity of being your interim police chief for last year,” Petragallo said.

He gave his thank you speech at DeKalb’s city council meeting May 26.

Petragallo spent his first year in law enforcement with the Freeport Police Department. He then transferred to DeKalb. He’s held several positions, from working in narcotics to being a patrol officer.  

Spencer Tritt

The death of George Floyd sparked outrage across the country. Many cities held protests. DeKalb was one of them. A couple of community leaders talked with WNIJ about this weekend’s demonstrations.

Joe Mitchell is the senior pastor of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in DeKalb.

Mitchell said he would normally lead demonstrations within DeKalb’s African American community but he intentionally took a step back this time.

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