Local talent filled Rockford during the third annual ArtCapsule event in downtown Rockford, and voters picked the winners in each of three categories as well as Best in Show. Local photographer Stacy Niedzwiecki was the overall winner with her photograph earning her Best in Show. In the Photography category Paul Willis, whose work was on display at Sassy Pants Boutique, received the most votes. Winning in the category of Three-Dimensional was Lois Carpenter, whose work was on display at the Frame and Mat Shop. Best Two-Dimensional artist was Kelly Bennor, whose work was on display at Kimberly’s Boutique. “We had outstanding publicity for the event this year, with articles in The Rockford Squire in March, June and [on the front page in] August,” said Jeff Lewis, chair of the Rockford Area Arts Commission, organizers of the event. “Our website traffic reached its highest levels of the year last week, and hundreds downloaded the smartphone app. Over 1,200 people read our Facebook posts and Heart of Rockford and Ada Arts Council and shared the event with their fans. WZZM13 and a number of other local organizations and businesses also included the event on their community calendars.” Lewis offered thanks to the many volunteers who sat in the 95+ degree heat to pass out ballots, sell tickets, give directions, babysit bicycles on the White Pine Trail and make the event possible, the business venues that gave up retail selling space to make way for beautiful artwork, the restaurants who raised the funds to award the artists through their donation of Taste of Rockford food and time, the Frame & Mat Shop for hosting the afterglow, Tom Scott for the artist photographer and, belatedly, T-Square, for their 2011 material donations to enrich ArtCapsule. “A special thanks goes to Arts Commission member Jeannie Gregory for her work in organizing the event again this year. As you might imagine, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes footwork and last-minute maneuvering needed to pull off an event like this,” Lewis continued. “In addition to the dozens of hours registering artists, signing up venues, printing forms, collecting money and organizing Taste of Rockford, Jeannie became a grandmother twice the week of the event and moved her mother into a new apartment. And, to rest […]
Arts & Entertainment
It’s been 100 years since the unsinkable HMS Titanic went down in the north Atlantic, but the lives of its passengers will be revisited in the upcoming theater production “A Ship of Dreams.” Rogue River Community Theater Company of Rockford is holding auditions September 5 for the two-act play that traces the lives of passengers aboard the ill-fated luxury liner that sank April 15, 1912. “Being this is the 100th anniversary of one of the most famous shipwrecks in history, we thought it fitting to honor all the souls lost on that fateful day,” said playwright Patricia Rose, who wrote and will direct the play. Due to the diversity of characters involved, actors of all ages and levels of experience are encouraged to audition. Auditions are 6 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 5 at Rockford Community Center, 8450 Shaner Ave. NE, located at the northeast corner of Ten Mile Road in the Rockford Ambulance building. Performances are scheduled November 15-18 at the historic Kent Theatre in Cedar Springs. “The play follows the lives of passengers ranging from aristocracy to poor immigrants hoping to build a better life for themselves and their families in America,” Rose said. “Destiny draws them together in an epic struggle for survival that also brings out the best and the worst in people. It truly is an unraveling of human drama.” “A Ship of Dreams” is the first presentation by the newly formed theater company, formerly known as Rogue River Community Theater. For information on auditions, call (616) 874-5264.
The past 12 months has been an exciting year for one local band. Vertical Bridge is set to release their debut album “Never Too Late” August 10. The 11-song album features nine originals and two covers including “Shine” by Collective Soul and “She Talks to Angels” by The Black Crowes. Brad Thomas of Rockford is the band’s guitarist. Jamie Sorsen of Greenville plays drums, and Jim Douglas, also of Greenville, is the lead singer. The three members have been playing together for over 12 years. The recording process started a year ago in June, when the band made a trip to Nashville for an indie music conference. They went with a demo CD in hand—not knowing what to expect. While at the conference, they met producer Billy Smiley, founding member of the Christian rock band Whiteheart. He was speaking at the conference. The band talked with him and gave him a copy of their demo CD. A couple days later, Smiley phoned them and said he liked what he heard and wanted to meet again with them and discuss making an album. A month later, Smiley flew to Rockford from Nashville and met with the band. They quickly hit it off and scheduled another visit from Smiley to work on pre-production of five songs. Smiley came back to Michigan in September to complete pre-production and the band was in Nashville in October, recording five songs. The guys in the band didn’t realize what they were in for. In Nashville, they were introduced and worked with some of the music industry’s great pros, including mix engineer Billy Whittington, who has worked with Carmen, Michael W. Smith, Vanessa Williams and many other artists. Also mixing part of the album was mix engineer Richie Biggs, who has worked with many artists and bands including Switchfoot, Newsboys, Michael W. Smith and most recently won two Grammy awards for his work on the Civil Wars Album Barton Hollow. The band was between bass players during recording. Smiley, who lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., but works in Nashville, is friends and neighbors with Megadeth bass player David Ellefson. Smiley sent the material to Ellefson to see if he was interested in providing the bass tracks for the band. Ellefson liked the music and […]
On Saturday, July 14, the Rogue River Artists Association (RRAA) held its annual Garden Art Sale/Show at the home of Shirley Dean in Rockford. The weather was fine albeit a tad bit warm in the afternoon, but rain stayed away until after the show. The artists claim to have been known to do a rain dance on the days of the Garden Show. They had a wonderful turnout of customers to view a wide variety of artwork and fine crafts created my the member artists. Their works include handmade purses, other fabric creations, photography, oils, pastels, acrylics and watercolors. RRAA will be participating in Rockford’s Art in the Park in September, and has working artists that will take part in Harvest Fest weekends. Their final show of the year is the first Saturday of November at the Rockford United Methodist Church on Maple St. RRAA meetings are normally held on the second Tuesday of the month at the Rockford D&W, upstairs, except for August and December meetings. For more information about RRAA, please contact Lila Harmon at (616) 866-0523 or firstname.lastname@example.org.