Community Forum on Arts Education Sept. 28

The Illinois Arts Alliance and the Rockford Area Arts Council will co-host a Community Forum on Arts Education, beginning at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 28, at Eiger Lab Auditorium, 605 Fulton Ave., Rockford.

The Illinois Arts Alliance will present the results of a study revealing broad disparities in the amount of arts education provided in public schools throughout the state. The report, “Arts at the Core: Every School, Every Student,” contains data about the types of arts programs being provided, where the gaps are and how Illinois compares nationally. Following the presentation, a distinguished group of local panelists will discuss arts education challenges and successes in Winnebago County.

The event begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by the program at 7. Opening remarks will be given by Rockford Area Arts Council Board President Laura Ortiz. The panel will consist of the following: Rick De Rango, music specialist, Guilford High School; Martha Franz, founder, Rockford Music Academy at Rockford College; Shelton Kay, former teacher and dance artist; Tom McDunn, president, Rockford Area Ventures; Alene Valkanas, executive director, Illinois Arts Alliance.

This forum, and others throughout the state, are being coordinated on behalf of Illinois Creates, a statewide arts education coalition of more than 250 business, civic, education and arts organizations dedicated to increasing access to arts education for children in Illinois public schools. The coalition, which is led by the Illinois Arts Alliance, believes all Illinois children deserve a quality, comprehensive education that includes the arts as part of the core curriculum, and that arts instruction must be standards-based, sequential, equitable and sustainable. For more information about Illinois Creates, or to download “Arts at the Core” Every School, Every Student,” visit

The Illinois Arts Alliance is Illinois’ primary multidisciplinary arts advocacy and service organization dedicated to promoting the value of the arts to the citizens of Illinois. See

The Rockford Area Arts Council supports, promotes and develops the arts for everyone in the northern Illinois region. The Arts Council is guided by the vision of a community in which everyone enjoys and participates in the arts—and a community in which successful artists and arts organizations contribute to the vitality of the economy and quality of life. For more information, visit

The forum is free and open to the public.

From the Sept. 27-Oct.3, 2006, issue

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