It is time for Spring ArtScene!

Greetings Rockford Area Arts Council members and enthusiasts,

The loss of our beloved Ann Margaret leaves a hole not only in our day-to-day operations, but more importantly, in the Arts Council’s delivery of the thoughtful service and support she provided to our members. ArtScene is the first of many processes we are navigating without Ann Margaret’s guidance. If you have questions or concerns, please call our office, M-F, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Rockford Area Arts Council welcomed three new staff members in the past few months and I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to our new RAAC team.

Beth Edgerton: Beth comes to RAAC as our new Office Manager from a career in medical records as well as a management role in her true passion, theatre. Beth has worked tirelessly as the West Side Show Room’s box office manager, assistant director and any other hat that needs wearing. Beth is a native Rockfordian and RAAC is thrilled to have her skill sets added to our Shumway team!

Kate Kilgore: After 15 years of involvement at RAAC, Kate is our new Education and Community Engagement Director. A Rockford native, Kate has given back to our community as an artist, teacher and storyteller, both on and off the stage. Kate is an advocate for all social justice issues and is excited to make the Arts Council her home!

Mary McNamara Bernsten, Executive Director: Most recently, I was the middle and high school art instructor at Rockford’s Keith Country Day School. Civically, I am heavily involved in the Rockford community and culturally, I have a deep understanding of the important role art plays in the health of our region. I’m committed to securing new funding for compelling proposals from our artist community—in the form of seed money and promotional support. I am equally invested in our ongoing effort to establish RAAC as a cohesive and exciting creative arts hub for the Rockford region.

You are invited to attend an Open House at our home, Shumway Market, 713 E. State Street, on Thursday, March 5 from 4-6:30 p.m. We’ve been working hard to give our headquarters a facelift. Come enjoy the fresh space and meet our new team. We will also be saying thank you and farewell to our outgoing leader, Sharon Nesbit-Davis. I hope to see you there!

2020 looks very promising for the Rockford Area Arts Council and we hope you will be a part of it! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And feel free to contact me any time at or 815.847.5381.