Rockford Area Arts Commission

Nonprofits invited to throw in proposal for former court building

October 21, 2010 // 0 Comments

The City of Rockford will take proposals for a public use for the former 63rd District Court building, which is located across the parking lot from City Hall in downtown Rockford. “The county would like to have some sort of public use,” said City Manager Michael Young. “If it’s used for commercial, they want to split the rent.” The discussion at Rockford City Council’s regular board meeting on Monday, Oct. 11 was a step toward a new use for the court building after a long legal battle to bring full court services back to Rockford. According to Young, the Rockford Area Historical Society Building Committee is interested in the location as home to the society, currently located in the former Power building at the dam. “The full board is very interested in that becoming their new museum,” Young said. He noted that at one time the museum was looking at a substantial expansion at their current location, including adding water and restrooms, which are not now available in the structure. Currently volunteers walk over to use the public restroom at the Welcome Center. “Now would be a good time to entertain proposals for public or nonprofit use or if there is a need the City of Rockford has,” Young said to the council members. He said the building would double the amount of space the Historical Society has, is handicapped accessible, and has better security than the current facilities. Council member and Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Jazwiec asked if the building was also large enough to house the Rockford Area Arts Commission (RAAC) along with the Historical Society. “Both organizations don’t believe it is large enough,” Young said. He noted that the Arts Commission is hoping to find a facility where performances could be held, and added that there are offices available along the west wall of the building and one could be used for an office for the RAAC. Councilwoman Mary Eadie suggested giving area nonprofit organizations until the end of the year to provide the City with proposals for use of the building. Rockford City Hall is located at 7 S. Monroe, Rockford, MI 49341. Also on the evening’s agenda was an audit report from Peter Heafner of Vredeveld and Heafner, who annually audit […]

Art, music, nature at Art in the Park

September 9, 2010 // 0 Comments

Take the opportunity to enjoy one of Rockford’s last summer festivals before the three weekends of Harvest Festival kick off the fall. On Saturday, September 11 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the Rockford Area Arts Commission will be hosting its annual juried art sale and exhibition in Garden Club Park.   Organizer Susie Clements said there are 29 artists plus the Rogue River Artists Association participating this year.   In addition to beautiful works of art on display there will also be an eclectic mix of live musical entertainment. The musicians this year will be The Proulx brothers, Gordon, Mark and Greg; Renee VandeWege; Kayle Clements and Blue Star Pilot (Chris Lewis, Sam Briggs, and Ryder Jones). Clements said the combination of beautiful art to view or purchase, the live music and the lovely natural setting on the banks of the Rogue River will continue to ensure the success of the event. Returning artists include Jochen Ditterich and Cathy McCarthy, members of the Woodland Weavers Guild project which has a collaborate piece entered in ArtPrize. Rockford photographer Stacy Niedzwiecki also participating in ArtPrize and was one of the entries in ArtCapsule. Other artists include MariStar Golub, a member of West Michigan Potter’s Guild and Steve Brunger, who uses corals that he finds on the beaches at Point Betsie Lighthouse to create custom jewelry. Artist Hope Atkinson uses rice paper, paint, and a marbling technique to create collage style translucent paintings. Amy Kieliszewski creates her work in memory of her daughter Ashleigh, who passed away from Neuroblastoma, an aggressive childhood cancer. September is National Childhood Awareness month for the disease and Kieliszewski is participating in Art in the Park to promote this awareness. Last year’s winners were Tonya Rund, Jochen Ditterich, Alison Dells, Karen Agopian, Chad Anderson, and David Piszczek (Best of Show). For more information visit or find the event on Facebook. Clements noted that the annual art show is such a tradition in Rockford, today’s organizers have no idea when the first event was held.They would love to know but are confident it will be the success it always has. “It’s become a Rockford tradition,” Clements said.

Torrey steps down after 30 years

October 15, 2009 // 0 Comments

After 30 years of service on the Rockford Area Arts Commission (RAAC), Joyce Torrey has decided it’s time to pass the paintbrush to someone new. During her tenure on the RAAC, she helped launch the Rogue River Blues Series, Celtic Fest, the Rockford Creative Arts Center, Rogue River Artists Association and the Rogue River Community Theater. She has received recognitions from the City of Rockford and Kent County for her efforts. RAAC unanimously elected Kayle Clements to fill Torrey’s seat as president of the commission, effective October 1. Clements, a local musician and founder of Clementunes, has been a member of the commission for the past two years and organized this year’s Art in the Park event with his wife Suzy, also a commission member. Clements is involved in the arts throughout West Michigan, working with the Grand Rapids Choir of Men and Boys; Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp; Actors, Civic and Circle theatres; and area high schools. He was a finalist in both the 2009 Great American Song Contest and the Great Lakes Song Contest and has just released “Simple Pleasures,” a piano jazz compilation of new and classic music. And although she’s no longer president, Torrey is not quite through with her service for the arts. She was elected president emeritus of RAAC for a term of one year.

Food, Family, Fun – August 27, 2009

August 27, 2009 // 0 Comments

Art is more than paint and canvas Rockford Art in the Park a multi-media event Mark your calendar for Saturday, September 12, the first Saturday after Labor Day, and be sure to visit Garden Club Park by the dam in downtown Rockford. The juried art show—which includes no crafts—is a fine arts exhibition. For over 30 years the Rockford Area Arts Commission has brought this event to Rockford. Artists from across the state of Michigan compete in this juried art exhibition, featuring works in pottery, stoneware, sculpture, jewelry. glass works, painting, fiber arts and more. Artists are on hand to showcase their works, which are available for purchase by arts patrons at the event. A “Best of Show” award as well as five “Best of Category” awards (in Jewelry, Pottery/Stoneware/Sculpture, Glassworks, Painting, Fiber Arts) are presented.

Huntington Rogue River Blues Series

May 28, 2009 // 0 Comments

The City of Rockford and the Rockford Area Arts Commission is pleased to announce that Huntington Bank is the proud sponsor of this year’s Huntington Rogue River Blues series. The Blues Series will once again provide the Rockford community with Tuesday evening concerts in downtown Rockford Garden Club Park from 7 to 9 p.m.  These family oriented concerts provide outstanding musical talent, free of charge to the public. Come early and enjoy dinner in one of Rockford’s fine eating establishments and stroll through the wonderful shops. Then bring a blanket or lawn chair and enjoy an evening of wonderful music. Garden Club Park is located in downtown Rockford, north of the Rockford Dam on Bridge Street, directly behind the Squire Street shops. Rogue River Blues Series, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.             Tuesday, June 9            Weezil Malone Band             Tuesday, June 16            Lynn Thompson Band             Tuesday, June 23            Root Doctor             Tuesday, June 30            James Reeser and the Backseat Drivers               Tuesday, July 7            Tomas Esparza Blues Band             Tuesday, July 14            Steve Hilger Blues Band             Tuesday, July 21            Harper After the Blues Series, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.               Tuesday, July 28            Organissimo (Jazz)             Tuesday, Aug. 4            The Concussions (Surf)             Tuesday, Aug. 11            Delilah DeWylde & the Lost Boys (Honky Tonk)   **Inclement weather: the event moves to Rotary Pavilion located in downtown Rockford at the corner of Courtland Street and Squires Street. Parking Suggestion: South Squires parking lot, accessed from Bridge Street entrance drive between Vitale’s and J.T. Stitchery or Main Street entrance drive north of the Rogue Valley Towers building. A short, pleasant walk north on the White Pine Trail will bring you directly to the park.

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