Coronado Corner a beacon of light for the arts

The city recently celebrated the opening of the Coronado Corner. I wish to be very specific in my definition of “the city.” “The city” in this instance means all of us as arts enthusiasts, patrons, participants and downtown visionaries.

The event was very well attended by city officials, City Council and supporters. Their attendance signifies the community’s support of this momentous occasion.

I recently had the opportunity to talk with Mary Ann Smith of Friends of the Coronado about the role of the Corner.

“The Coronado Corner is important because it gives the arts and cultural institutions on the Cultural Corridor a strong, in-your-face presence on the street,” Smith said.

Hear, hear, Mary Ann. I love that Mary Ann Smith’s passion still exudes from her very being. Smith is very good about crediting all those who made this dream a reality. I wish to thank that key group of dreamers for going through a very long process that brought this light, figuratively as well as literally, to the Corner. The Coronado Corner will be the place for shared information about the arts events in Rockford.

Smith sees the Corner as an opportunity to “connect the dots” in the downtown Cultural Corridor. She says the arrival of the Corner signifies there are signs of life and vitality on Main Street. Smith encourages all of us to use this as a tool to grow the vision of a thriving downtown.

The space is stunning. Music streams out to the sidewalks. Screens with images of the arts in our community keep you up to date. Local artist Nels Akerlund’s images of the interior of the Coronado are visible from the street. The space will be used for pre and post gatherings, and I encourage you to stop in the next time you are downtown.

Anne E. O’Keefe is executive director of the Rockford Area Arts Council.

From the Nov. 15-21, 2006, issue

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