Rockford Area Arts Awards

The Rockford Area Arts Council held its annual Rockford Area Arts Awards on Thursday, May 27th, 2021, in-person and live streaming. The Arts Awards were hosted at Veterans Memorial Hall and featured an opening reflection by local artist, George Davis, a montage video of all nominees, a reading by City of Rockford Poet Laureate, Christine Swanberg, live performances by young Rockford Music Academy musicians and Arts Council Board Member and musician, Evon Sams, and co-hosted by Mayor Tom McNamara and County Chair, Joe Chiarelli. It was a night to remember!

Amidst the challenges of 2020, there was much to celebrate in the arts. The Arts Awards celebrate those who have contributed to the enrichment of our Rockford community; nominees included individual artists, artists in memoriam, and arts and culture organizations that demonstrated an innovative, imaginative, outstanding achievement in the arts in 2020. Congratulations all nominees, awardees, and honorees!

Rockford Area Arts Awards Winners/Honorees

  1. City of Rockford Distinguished Artist of the Year – Steven Larsen, Rockford Symphony Orchestra
  2. Arts Educator – Maria Castello, Rockford Dance Company
  3. Excellence in Service to the Arts – The Arc of Winnebago, Boone & Ogle, Amy Newell and Jane McMillan
  4. Film of the Year – Embrace the Crust, Bryan Nambo
  5. Innovation in the Arts – Alma: A Psychedelic Awakening, Eddaviel Montero and Jeremy Klonicki/other contributing artists recognized for this award are: Alizé Jireh, Zach Stephens, Jenny Mathews, Caitlyn Baylor, Meghan Baylor, Skyler Davis, and Emily Klonicki
  6. New Media Artist of the Year – Iga Puchalska
  7. Performing Artist of the Year – Richard Raether
  8. Placemaking/Spacemaking – Dance at the Dells/Meghan and Caitlyn Baylor/Other contributing artists to this project include: Nicole Rundall Royal, Gretchen Stark, Kaysha Smith, Glasa Gottschalk and Mitchell Stolberg
  9. Public Art of the Year – Scott Yates, Rockford Register Star
  10. Visual Artist of the Year – Manny “Chinacat” Tang
  11. Youth Arts Ambassador – Tamir Bell
  12. In Memoriam – Deborah Newton