Update from the Executive Director

Dear Friends,

The month of November reminds us to be grateful—for family, friends, health, jobs, a roof over our heads, food enough to eat, and love. Then, my list quickly moves from critical needs being met to good books, public radio, the sound of music, museums, travel, and making art.

November reminds me of the phrase, without art, the earth is just eh? As our year draws to a close, and we’re enjoying the splendor of autumn foliage, I ask you to remember the Arts Council and its mission—to support, promote, and develop access to the arts, for everyone. Our Annual Appeal will come to your door this month and I hope it thrills you to see the impact of the arts in 2022—on our youth, in our neighborhoods, and on our community.

November and December still boast many ways to engage in the arts in the Rockford Region:

I hope to see you out and about this holiday season!

Mary McNamara Bernsten
Executive Director

Programs Update

It’s an exciting time for Arts Council Programs

In November, the first semester of our After School Arts Program! (ASAP!) and Studio Saturdays are wrapping up at Washington Park Community Center (WPCC). Over the course of 10-weeks, students worked with our dynamic instructors—engaged in painting with Shaniqwa Porter, public speaking with an emphasis on comedic expression with Marcos Lara, dance and music-based reading with Elizabeth Johnston, and film and photography with Greg Yokley. In just a few months, the partnership between the Arts Council and WPCC has brought arts enrichment to over a hundred students in Rockford!

This fall, nominations for the City of Rockford Poet Laureate and Youth Poet are underway. It is encouraging and inspiring to see the work of such talented and passionate poets in our own city! The Program Team is also inviting local schools to participate In Poetry Out Loud, an annual poetry recitation competition for high school students in our region.

It’s hard to believe that we’re nearing the end of 2022, and a stand-out year in the arts. Mark your calendars for the Rockford Area Arts Awards, March 10th, 2023. Nominations open in January! It has been an exciting season for our programs, and we’re ready to continue our mission-centered work–breaking down barriers, engaging our community, and increasing access to the arts, for everyone in our community.

The RAAC Program Team

For Artists

  • ART FOR IMPACT is a new Arts Council program focused on public art opportunities for local artists–from murals to performances, to three-dimensional art installments…ART FOR IMPACT currently hosts opportunities for local artists.  This fall, the Arts Council opened up submissions for the Art For Impact: Neighborhood Art Initiative Project with the vision to see public art in every neighborhood in our community in alignment with the City of Rockford’s Neighborhood Improvement Initiative. We’re thrilled to share that we’ve received 13 incredible proposals from various talented local artists. A panel is currently underway reviewing the submissions, and we’re excited to bring these projects to life while bolstering neighborhood pride and creating a sense of place, community, and belonging in the Rockford region.
    ART FOR IMPACT objectives:

    • Bolster neighborhood pride
    • Create a sense of place, community, and belonging
    • Develop public art that draws the attention of residents + visitors
    • Reflect the values and priorities of the Rockford Region—diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging
  • Access Grants provide up to $2500 in funding for 501c3 organizations providing creative programs + events in our community, the deadline is 11/16/22.
  • Grants to support artists who have been at work for 20+ years, or who have been at work for 10+ years and who are experiencing a crisis, NO DEADLINE
  • Register in the Arts and Culture Directory.  Your professional information will be available on our website, for the purpose of connecting community members to specific artists with specific expertise.
    • City of Rockford’s Business First Program is a comprehensive business advisory panel with the City’s experts–once a month!
    • LIST of entrepreneur/small business resources from Transform Rockford

For Arts Organizations

  • Access Grants provide up to $2500 in funding for 501c3 organizations providing creative programs + events in our community, the deadline is 11/16/22.
  • Quarterly Meetings: Arts and Culture Sector individuals and organizations meet quarterly–if you’d like to join us, please email me at mary@artsforeveryone. You can represent yourself or a group you’re a part of.
  • Rockford Area Cultural Plan: The Arts Council continues its journey to fund a dynamic cultural plan for the Rockford Region. The Arts Council’s RIGHT TIME | RIGHT PLACE: Cultural Plan partners include the City of Rockford, Winnebago County, Transform Rockford, RACVB, R1, the Rockford Park District, Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence, and local legislators. Please add your name to the list!