by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL
Rockford resident, Michelle Jennings knew she had a winner. The stained glass artist and President of Sorrelle Insurance Agency in Grand Rapids had been told by ArtCapsule organizer Jeff Lewis that an informal verbal poll had been taken at the ballot box during the first ever Rockford ArtCapsule event. Voters were asked what their favorite entry was. Overwhelmingly their response was, “Eyes on the Trail”—Jennings’ beautiful 2’ x 3’ stained glass panel of a peacock. Beautiful indeed, it was a kaleidoscope of color.
Monday evening, August 23, the Rockford Area Arts Commission (RAAC) announced monetary prize awards to the top three winners as follows:
• Best of Show – $275: Michelle Jenings, stained glass peacock
• Best 2-D Artwork – $175: Dan DeWard, phtographic fish-eye view of the Rockford Dam
• Best 3-D Artwork – $175: Michael Bieri, driftwood sculpture
Jennings was thrilled with her “Best of Show” award. Having for the past four years learned her craft under the tutelage of Eric Brown she has become an accomplished stained glass artisan herself. “When I began four years ago, I couldn’t give my stuff away and today I am creating commissioned stained glass works,” said Jennings, adding, “This is my very first competition and I’m overwhelmed and honored by the voters response.”
ArtCapsule was held in concert with the first-ever Taste of Rockford and both events playing off each other, created a win-win afternoon for everyone involved. There were many winners that afternoon. The multi-talented Rockford artistic community had the opportunity to display their creative endeavors in many venues scattered throughout the business community drawing in countless residents and out-of-town visitors. Rockford area restaurants, who participated in the Taste of Rockford, had the opportunity to “strut their stuff”.
What was not to like? Eric Brown Stained Glass and GeneAnn Schaefer of the Frame and Mat Shop both tell us that as ArtCapsule venues more people had passed through their doors than on any prior given business day. “It was a stroke of pure genius to have scheduled both events on the same day,” said Brown.
City Manager Michael Young and ArtCapsule organizer Jeff Lewis couldn’t agree more. Combined these two events are a potential powerhouse that might well rival the popular “Start of Summer” and “Harvest Fest” celebrations. Indeed, the seeds have already been planted and Lewis, RAAC Chairperson and ArtCapsule organizer, tells us that, “Plans are already underway for a much grander repeat performance in 2011.”
The Rockford Area Arts Commission would like to acknowledge and thank the following Sponsors and Diamond Sponsors for their generous financial support in the awarding of prize monies for the 2010 City of Rockford ArtCapsule:
Sponsors: Baskets in the Belfry, Kellie Bennor, Sue Callihan, David Gaskin, Scott Hrudicka, Sally McDonnell, Shirley Norman, Tom Norman, Burnetta Robinson, LeAnne J. Sowa, John and Barb Stein, and Stites Eyecare.
Diamond Sponsors: Corner Bar, Fluis Inc., Fuzzy Red Robe, JoAnne and Mike Holton, Mindy and John Miner, and Carol and John Muth.