Rockford Area Arts Commission

Ulanski named Arts Commission administrator

August 9, 2012 // 0 Comments

Nancy Ulanski has joined the Rockford Area Arts Commission as its administrator, effective July 23, 2012. Ulanski will serve as a liaison between the Arts Commission and government, arts, business and community leaders. She will work to keep website and events calendars current and handle social media and publicity efforts. She will also manage grant and other funding opportunities as well as serve as the recording secretary for Arts Commission meetings. Ulanski has a great resume of experience that well suits her for this position. Most recently, she worked as a marketing media consultant for Stafford Media Solutions and the Rockford Independent newspaper. She and her family are Rockford-area residents.

ArtCapsule, Taste of Rockford slated for Saturday

August 2, 2012 // 0 Comments

The community is invited to hone their eyes and prepare their appetites for this year’s ArtCapsule and A Taste of Rockford. These crowd favorites are scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 4 from noon until 4 p.m. This is the third year for both of these events, hosted by the Rockford Area Arts Commission (RAAC), and they have been crowd favorites. Both events display the best that Rockford has to offer through amazing artwork and delicious food. Plenty of talent will be showcased during ArtCapsule. There are three categories: 3-D, 2-D and photography. During the week, visitors may check out the artwork at various venues and then vote for their favorite entries on Saturday from noon until 4 p.m. Ballot boxes will appear throughout the downtown area on Saturday—just look for the tents with banners to enter your votes. New this year is an app for the two events. It was designed by Jeff Lewis of Fluis Inc., who is also chair of the RAAC, and features plenty of bells and whistles. “We are trying to make it easier for people to find ArtCapsule artwork and A Taste of Rockford samples this year,” said Lewis. “We have created a mobile website that visitors with smartphones can access at” On the mobile website, visitors may see the artwork, the artists’ bios and a map of the venues where the artwork is displayed. Also featured is a menu for A Taste of Rockford and the location of the restaurants for ease in locating the food samples. A special entry for ArtCapsule will be featured throughout the week, and will be on permanent display at Rockford High School during the upcoming months. It is entitled “Courage,” and is the only teen entry in this year’s event. The work is a collaborative installation by 14 recent Rockford High School graduates. The school purchased four flags from the West Michigan Healing Field and worked on various pieces for the artwork. The work features ceramics, sculpture, carpentry and multi-media to commemorate the flags and the victims attacked in America on 9/11/02. The public is advised that this entry cannot be seen on Saturday, due to the school being closed on weekends, but are welcome to visit the school to see this wonderful […]

Free concert is spring tradition in Rockford

April 5, 2012 // 0 Comments

  The public is invited to attend the Rockford Area Arts Commission’s annual spring concert the afternoon of Sunday, April 15. The event takes place in the Rockford High School Fine Arts Auditorium and begins at 1 p.m. Enjoy the talents of the Community Concert Band, Orchestra and Children’s Choir. Admission is free.

Inaugural Ice Festival Ball was a ball

January 19, 2012 // 0 Comments

“Let the Magic Begin” was the theme for the 2012 Ice Festival, and begin it did on Friday night with the first ever Ice Festival Ball. The Rockford Area Arts Commission (RAAC) hosted the event at Blythefield Country Club (BCC). Ninety people gathered for a delicious three-course meal by the BCC culinary artists. After dinner, guests were treated to the musical talents of Blue Star Pilot, a band of four top-shelf musicians, two of whom are Rockford graduates. The wizardry of Russ Niedzwiecki got the magic flowing. He teamed up with ice guru Randy Finch to perform a trick that had jaws dropping. A giant deck of cards was frozen in the ice. Niedzwiecki had the crowd help select a card and, sure enough, that was the card facing the wrong way in the frozen deck. He continued to amaze guests throughout the evening, going table to table, making cards appear, disappear, change colors—all to the common refrain of “How did he do that?” And the treats kept coming. While the band took a break, the audience was once again astounded at the talent the Rockford community has to offer. Under the direction of Rockford grad Rachel Siegel, a dance troupe from Western Michigan University delighted guests with its fresh choreography and style. A silent auction of art, set up by art teacher Barb Kent from the Rockford High School art department, was available for guests to bid on during the evening. All proceeds from the silent auction were returned to the art department to support their efforts. Throughout it all, people danced, dined, laughed, talked and were generally transformed, in part, by the indoor winter wonderland created through the decorating talents of Kathy Levin. “We were very pleased with the way things turned out,” said the planning committee from RAAC. “Many thanks to our sponsors and our wonderful Rockford community for making this a special evening!” Sponsors for the event included Blythefield Country Club, the Wolverine World Wide YMCA, who made babysitting available, the Alpine Meijer Store, Blakeslee Rop PLC and Fluis Inc. Guest Janell VanDine summed it all up by saying, “I can’t wait for next year!” To catch a glimpse of what you missed, visit or find the Rockford Area Arts […]

Museum fundraiser just keeps getting better

January 5, 2012 // 0 Comments

Featuring Mark Randisi and the famous Johnny Trudell Big Band being joined on stage by a local group to recreate a famous Frank Sinatra scene, “Sound of Sinatra” will be presented by the Rockford Area Historical Society (RAHS) on Saturday, Feb. 18 at the Rockford High School Fine Arts Auditorium. The scene features Sinatra singing the song “High Hopes” with a group of youngsters. In the February 18 show, that song will be sung by Randisi and the Rockford Community Children’s Choir. Many area residents are familiar with the Rockford Area Arts Commission (RAAC) that supports a variety of area events such as the annual Ice Festival and Art in the Park, as well as performance groups including the Rockford Community Band, Rockford Community Orchestra, and Rockford Community Choir. The Rockford Community Children’s Choir (RC3) is the latest ensemble to collaborate with the RAAC. RC3 was formed in September 2011, by Renee Vande Wege, a local resident with strong credentials as both a vocalist and music teacher. Vande Wege has earned a bachelor of music degree in vocal performance from Hope College and a master’s degree in music education from Michigan State University. She is also certified in music learning theory. She has worked with elementary musicians and private voice students in Rockford, Cedar Springs and Grand Rapids. Vande Wege has also been a member of the Opera Grand Rapids chorus since 2001. Having been a member of the Rockford Community Choir for six years, Vande Wege now serves as that group’s director. She was motivated to form RC3 by her strong desire to provide area youngsters with the opportunity to develop their musicianship and sing with other children. She believes that, except through the efforts of a handful of dedicated churches in the area, those opportunities are too limited, especially with the current school music program reductions due to budget constraints. In 2012, RC3 will become more visible in the area as they perform in a variety of events including the “Sound of Sinatra” show for the Rockford Area Museum, the RAAC Spring Concert on April 15, and likely Rockford’s Community EXPO on March 17. The second session for RC3 begins on January 10, 2012. Rehearsals are held on Tuesdays from 4 to 5 […]

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