Access Grants


2022 Community Arts Access Grant Awards

The Rockford Area Arts Council and our Board of Directors are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021 Community Arts Access Grants. Access Grants are awarded for up to $2500 and the purpose of the Access Grant Award is three-fold:

  1. To support the quality, quantity, and visibility of art performances and events for the community.
  2. To increase access and outreach to the arts for underserved populations.
  3. To foster collaboration among organizations and artists. The grants are made possible in part by the Illinois Arts Council Agency, the City of Rockford, and Amazon.

The Rockford Area Arts Council is awarding over $30,000 in grants to individual artists, arts organizations, and regional nonprofits for arts programming/events taking place in Boone, DeKalb, Ogle, and Winnebago counties. This year 16 organizations and individuals are receiving a Community Arts Access Grant.

2022 Community Arts Access Grant Recipients


River District Association with 317 Art Collective

Project: “Art’s Happening Downtown 2022” – This festival brings our community together through art and music and promotes diversity in artistic expression.

Artists’ Ensemble Theater

Project: Production of “Ben Butler” by Richard Strand – This is a whip-smart, witty new play about race, history, a legal tangle, and human dignity based on an historical event in the opening days of the Civil War.

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.


Project: Monthly UpCycled Art Classes – Local artists will be contracted to host classes for adults with disabilities utilizing donated goods from the Goodwill retail stores. Participants will be able to socialize, create art, and then have their art showcased at Goodwill locations.

Seventh Street Coffee/Katie’s Cup

Project: “Katie’s Cup Bookstore Presents” – This program is a no-cost opportunity for local published writers to gather at Katie’s Cup Coffee Bar for in-person presentations and sales of their work.


Project: Disability Rights Historical Art Tour – Trash Bandit Art, Dustin Eckhardt, will be contracted to paint a mural at RAMP’s building that honors RAMP’s mission and the Disability Rights Movement. Additionally, funds will enable the purchase of photos documenting the Disability Rights Movement and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Rock and Roll Institute

Project: Summer Camp – In two weeks of this Rock and Roll summer camp, students aged 12-18 will learn from professional musicians and instructors and end their week with a show demonstrating all that these aspiring musicians have learned.

Rockford Symphony Orchestra

Project: “Soundbites Series” – This project will give the public the opportunity to interact directly with RSO’s nine Music Director Finalists and RSO musicians at an event that is free and open to the public.

Rockford University

Project: “From Stage to Screen – Lessons from Anthony Robert Grasso” – Robert Grasso will provide a three-day series of workshops for RU students, students in the CAPA program at Auburn High School, qualifying students at Guilford High School, Rock Valley College, Keith Country Day School, and local theatre groups including The Studio.

Rockford Wind Ensemble

Project: “The Twentieth Annual Youth Honor Band” workshop and performance – 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.

Sinnissippi Quilters

Project: “Amazing Threads” Quilt Show – This spring show will feature over 300 quilts in addition to hosting the Special Exhibit: Cherrywood Challenge Princess Diana Collection.

Stepping Stones

Project: Stars of Light Gallery “The Art of Recovery” – This gallery premiere at Fall ArtScene will feature art created by persons with serious mental illness. The purpose of the gallery is to support the visibility of the arts for the community, increase access to the arts for those with serious mental illness, and to collaborate with individual artists and mental health providers.

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 Campus Concerts – This program provides a wide variety of quality music to the public, free of charge, throughout the summer months; additionally, Campus Concerts will incorporate a farmer’s market with craft vendors and food concessions.

West Side Show Room Project #1

Project: Rockford New Words – This program 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 program 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: Premiere of the play “The Wind and the Breeze” Written by Rockford Playwright Nathan Alan Davis – This play will provide equitable pay for 6 local and regional Black performers and a Black theater director.


Project: Women’s Suffrage-themed Guide Book – Materials, designed by a local artist, will help youth aged 8-13 years old, discover the many artistic, civic, inspirational, and pure “fun” lessons hidden within the Rockford Women’s Suffrage Plaza mosaic sculpture.