Rockford Arts Groups Adapt In Changing Times

Join us for a look at how various arts organizations in Rockford are adapting to changing cultural and economic environments. You'll hear how the community's dance, theater, and visual arts groups are collaborating and innovating to reach new audiences.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

A 67-million dollar hotel project in downtown Rockford is creating more than jobs for construction workers. Local artists will have a big hand in decorating the Amerock Building’s interior.

Provided

A group of monumental sculptures will soon be calling downtown Rockford home. 

Five sculptures, created by internationally renowned artists Hans Van de Bovenkamp and Boaz Vaadia, will be on loan to the city for one year.  The pieces will be installed in late May along East State Street and North and South Main Street in downtown Rockford.

Josh Albrecht is director of marketing and public affairs for the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.  He says the project fits in with efforts to revitalize the city’s downtown.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Art is a tough way to make a living. Ask any musician, writer, sculptor, or actor. Following your passion often means spending more time than you’d like doing something else to pay the bills. Today, we wrap up our series on arts adapting in Rockford with a look at some of the people creating their art just outside the mainstream. 

Mike Moen/WNIJ

Throughout November, WNIJ is reporting on the state of the Rockford arts scene. The city has plenty of long-standing arts organizations. But there are also plenty of individual artists trying to carve out a place for themselves.

RVC

Home-grown theater in Rockford has changed significantly over the past few decades. Theaters have come and gone, and the people who present stage works for local audiences have changed as well.

Mike Webb is preparing for the next production in his 29th season as Artistic Director of Rock Valley College Theatres. He’ll open “The Wizard of Oz” in December as part of what he calls his “impossible season.”

Rockford Dance Company

We continue our series on the arts in Rockford on a slightly different beat-- dance. 

A group of women gather Tuesday mornings in a Rockford Dance Company studio for a class on the basics of tap dancing. Instructor Theresa Sinks says the class is open to all ages and abilities and is part of a focus on improving wellness in Rockford.

“It’s not just the five-year-old in tutus. It can be people well into their adult lives.” - Theresa Sinks, instructor, Rockford Dance Company

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

Some of the city’s older arts organizations are trying to adapt to a cultural and economic climate that is much different than when they were formed.

Joel Ross has been the artistic director for the choir Kantorei, the Singing Boys of Rockford, for 25 of its nearly 50 years of existence. He says an arts organization that wants to stick around needs to answer   several important questions: