Rockford Area Arts Council

Rockford Area Arts Council

Corporations like Netflix, Amazon and HBO have all taken a stand against racism. Some northern Illinois arts organizations are doing the same. This comes after countless protests against racism in America. 

The Rockford Area Arts Council released a statement June 5 saying that they are standing in solidarity with Black and Brown communities.

Mary McNamara Bernsten is the executive director of the Arts Council. She said it's important to speak out.

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

Last month a coalition of Rockford nonprofits and one small business announced micro-grants for Winnebago County artists. The first recipients were announced June 23.

An Art Safari Is Coming To Downtown Rockford

Jun 13, 2020
https://www.facebook.com/317ArtCollective/

This month started Phase 3 of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order. Residents are able to slowly resume some extracurricular activities. A Rockford arts community is partnering with local venues to give people something to look forward to this weekend.

The Rockford Area Arts Council and 317 Art Collective  is having an “Art Safari.”

Mary McNamara Bernsten is the executive director of RAAC. She said the event was going to be drive-thru only.

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. 

Rockford Area Arts Council

Families across Illinois have had to adapt to e-learning due to the stay-at-home order. But with the school year winding down, they’ll soon have to adapt to another new normal -- the lack of summer activities. A Rockford organization has made the decision to postpone its summer camp programs until 2021.

The Rockford Area Arts Council has summer art programs for children of all ages. There’s ArtsPlace, ArtsPlace II and RAAC camp.

3-Minute Films Wanted From Students In Grades 1-12

Apr 20, 2020

The Rockford Area Arts Council wants your kids to create short videos not just for fun, but for educational purposes.

Alone Together is a film showcase for students in grades 1-12 in Winnebago, DeKalb, Boone and Ogle counties. They are encouraged to shoot a short, creative video about any subject that interests them. RAAC Executive Director Mary McNamara Bernsten said this includes artistic subjects like dancing and drawing but also math, science, and foreign language.

Rockford is getting not just one, but two poets laureate -- an adult and a youth.

The adult poet laureate position will be a two-year position, and probably one year long for the youth. Rockford Area Arts Council (RAAC) Executive Director Mary McNamara Bernsten said the committee is still working that out. But, she said, people may start nominating poets next week.

Connie Kuntz

Rockford Area Arts Council (RAAC) held an open house at the Shumway Market on Thursday. They celebrated their new executive director, the newly retired Sharon Nesbit-Davis, and their home's renovations. 

Some of the renovations of their home at the Shumway Market include new furniture and a fresh display of art on loan from Rockford Art Museum. The art was created by local artists. 

State Of The Artist: The Devil Is In The Details

Oct 16, 2019
Connie Kuntz

Some people honor Christmas in their hearts all year round. Haunt Mistress Ann-Margret Naber is a little different.

"Halloween is my favorite holiday. I've loved Halloween since I was a small child and ever since I was small, I have loved art," she said.

She shared a memory.

"I was coming home from school. It was just kind of turning dusk. The leaves were falling and I was so anxious to go trick-or-treating. I was a clown. To this day, I still love Halloween." 

To this day, Ann-Margret still loves art, but is afraid of clowns.

State Of The Artist: Here, Go Make Some Stuff

Aug 9, 2019
Connie Kuntz

Every morning at Art Camp, the bell rings at 10:30 and nearly 30 kids from Rockford and Peoria gather in a circle and "sing hello." That means every child is musically greeted by their name so they know they are welcomed, recognized, and loved. After the song, the campers break off into groups organized by age. They learn different disciplines of art including dance, drama, visual arts, gardening and cooking.  This is Ann Rundall's Art Camp. 

State Of The Artist: A River Runs Through Her

Jun 26, 2019
Connie Kuntz

Caitlyn Baylor is the newest executive director for Rockford Area Arts Council. She is also a dancer who specializes in site specific choreography with her identical twin sister, Meghan Baylor. Most hours of the week, the dancer is serving RAAC's mission which is, "Support, promote, and develop the arts for everyone in Winnebago, DeKalb, Boone, and Ogle counties." On a misty day in April, she took me to the places that inspired her creativity early on -- schools.

RAAC

“As an artist, you don’t only create for yourself," according to Sharon Nesbit-Davis, Executive Director of the The Rockford Area Arts Council.

"You actually want to share it and let people see it," she said, "and there’s a special joy to that experience, as well.”

That experience is a primary purpose of the Council’s Spring ArtScene, which takes place Friday and Saturday, April 13 and 14.

Nesbit-Davis said the free event provides a great opportunity for the area’s many artists to show their work.

Rockford Area Arts Council

The Rockford Area Arts Council (RAAC) has named Sharon Nesbit-Davis as Executive Director. Nesbit-Davis  had been Interim Director since August of 2016. She  served as RAAC's Education and Engagement Director for twenty-one years, prior to which she worked as an Artist in Residence for the Illinois Arts Council and RAAC.

Rockford Area Arts Council

The Rockford Area Arts Council’s ArtsPlace wraps up this weekend at Riverfront Museum Park.  Dance pieces, interdisciplinary performances and short films, all created by the students at ArtsPlace, will be presented in several shows. Students’ artwork has also been put on display and for sale.  

Sharon Nesbit-Davis is Education & Community Engagement Director for the Rockford Area Arts Council. She says the summer arts apprenticeship program offers a unique opportunity for area teens.  

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

A 67-million dollar hotel project in downtown Rockford is creating more than jobs for construction workers. Local artists will have a big hand in decorating the Amerock Building’s interior.

Rockford Area Arts Council

The Rockford Area Arts Council’s 13th annual Spring ArtScene takes place 5-9 p.m Friday, April 10, and 3-9 p.m. Saturday, April 11, at 39 venues across the Rockford metro area.

Lenae Weichel is rehabbing 304 North Main Street in downtown Rockford with an eye to development.  The former home to a succession of insurance companies has been stripped, and there are holes and patches where workers have had to gain access to burst pipes and old wiring.