Access Grants

Applications Open in Fall 2023

Community Arts Access Grants

Community Arts Access Grants are available, annually, for individual artists, arts organizations, and non-profit organizations wishing to apply for grant funding for arts-related projects/initiatives. Applications are available in September, and due in November, of every year.

Access Grants are partially supported by the Illinois Arts Council Agency, with additional support from the City of Rockford and Amazon. Grants are awarded within our four-county service area including Boone, DeKalb, Ogle, and Winnebago Counties.  Fundamental to the mission of the Arts Council, grants are one of several ways the Arts Council addresses its goal to nurture, cultivate, and advocate for artists and arts organizations. Access Grants are reviewed by a respected panel of arts professionals and community arts advocates.

Grant Guidelines

Who can apply: Open to individual artists, arts organizations, and non-profit organizations in partnership with artists/arts organizations.  The Grant maximum is $2,500.

What We Fund:

  • Artist Costs
  • Art Supplies (consumable)
  • Rental Fees
  • Publicity Costs

To be eligible for funding, an applicant must:

  • Be a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt, non-profit organization
  • Be an organization or individual artist in partnership with a non-profit organization
  • Operate within Boone, DeKalb, Ogle or Winnebago Counties
  • Have submitted final or interim report if funded in previous year

 Note: Organizations and individual artists cannot receive more than one Community Art Access Grant for the same project or program.

2023 Community Arts Access Grant Recipients

Artists’ Ensemble Theater

Project: Production of “Jumping to Delusions” by Tom Zach and Stephen F. Vrtol.  – Produced in partnership with Stepping Stones of Rockford, “Jumping to Delusions” follows Alice down the rabbit hole into a fascinating, if bewildering, new world. Her journey shines a light on mental illness through a blend of comedy and firsthand accounts.

Boone County Arts Council

Project: “Fifth Grade Arts Festival” – This festival brings together a variety of artists to work with Belvidere fifth-grade students and introduces them to various art forms.

Crossroads Blue Society

Project: Red, White, & Blues Festival – This music festival honors local veterans and active-duty personnel. All veteran groups are welcome to attend and promote themselves, and all veterans and service members can attend for free.

Discovery Center Museum

Project: Rockford Community Video Book – Children’s artist and songwriter Jim Gill will work with one hundred local children to create a community video book that celebrates the imagination of children and combines art and literacy.

Maria Montessori

Project: Make a Book! Maria Montessori School: Fifth-grade students at Maria Montessori School will write a story, set in their own school, and work with artists to create a high-quality and professionally illustrated picture book published by a literary small press.

Midway Village Museum

Project: Professor Sprocket’s Traveling Nickelodeon Band – Professor Sprocket’s Traveling Nickelodeon Band will present two classic silent films with the accompaniment of live musicians.

Rockford Art Museum

Project: Free Admission Support for “Outer Harmonies” Exhibition– Rockford Art Museum will offer free admission for visitors to their exhibition, “Outer Harmonies.” The exhibition, featuring work from RAM’s Permanent Collection, examines how artists across a wide range of mediums and artistic periods have depicted recurring themes including the apocalypse, human intervention with the natural world, American identity, and human psychology.

Rockford Park District Foundation

Project: Lockwood Indoor Equine Center– This free entertainment series provides a wide range of music and entertainment performances at two different park district locations.

Rockford Symphony Orchestra  

Project: Fall 2023 Student Tickets – In the fall of 2023, the Rockford Symphony Orchestra will invite band students from seventeen area high schools to attend an RSO concert for free, giving students an equal opportunity to experience the RSO live at the Coronado Performing Arts Center.

Rockford Wind Ensemble

Project: RWE Twenty-First Annual Youth Honor Band – This band of 65-85 high school student musicians will work with top professional musicians, an expert guest conductor, and have an opportunity to perform a live concert with the Rockford Wind Ensemble, all at no cost to the participating students.

Rosecrance Foundation

Project: Rosecrance Therapeutic Reaction Art Program – Rosecrance clients will participate in art therapy programs that will enable them to learn self-soothing and positive coping techniques in addition to improving social, emotional, and physical well-being.

Serenity Home and Hospice

Project: “Discovering the Extraordinary in the Mundane at The Serenity Shed” – Roni Golan will teach invigorating art classes at The Serenity Shed, a one-of-a-kind community bereavement center that offers traditional grief groups as well as opportunities for innovative, hands-on therapeutic activities.

Sinnissippi Audubon

Project: “Birdsongs Vol II – Songs of the Mississippi Flyway” – Birdsongs Vol II is the second album in a series of bird songs that were made in collaboration with local musician Micky Torpedo.

The Arc of Winnebago, Boone, Ogle counties

Project: “Project Art” – This program serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities with guided art sessions, skill-building art instruction, and entrepreneurship opportunities.

Village of Mt. Morris

Project: Mt. Morris Jamboree – Attendees will experience a wide variety of quality music, free of charge, on Friday evenings from 7-9pm on the beautiful, historic Village Square during the summer of 2023.

West Side Show Room Project #1

Project: Rockford New Words 2023 – In its eighth year, Rockford New Words presents ten new works written for performance by writers from Rockford and around the world. Accepted forms include spoken word poetry, raps, plays, storytelling, and monologues. This unique event offers each writer a royalty for the rights to perform their work, providing local writers the opportunity to have their work presented to the public alongside the work of national and international writers.

West Side Show Room Project #2

Project: The Rockford Premiere of the play “Barbecue” Written by Robert O’Hara – This comedy will foster cross-cultural attendance and dialogue about race within a humorous and entertaining context. Keeping ticket costs low by subsidizing actor pay through grant funding and keeping ticket costs low makes theater more accessible to everyone in our community.