Imaginations soar at art exhibit

“I Believe I Can Fly” was the theme of the Aviation Art Exhibit at the Northwest Chicagoland International Airport at Rockford during AirFest. Thirty artists participated in the show, letting their imaginations soar. Gail Zernia of Brick House Gallery expressed the importance of the arts to our lives.

“Artists use their gift to express their views of spirituality, history, and what they give us is timeless,” Zernia said.

Artist Lino Gnesoa was the recipient of the “Best in Show” for “In Flight,” an eagle constructed of pounded copper. This was the first time Gnesoa has ever had his artwork viewed in public. Artwork may be chosen for long-term display at the airport.

Other artists included Perry Pitney, posthumously; Ingrid Neuhofer Dohm, Jan Pozzi, Tim Stotz and JJ Swanson. I think this is a great collaboration between two groups that may not immediately come to mind as working together to strengthen the arts. It is also a great backdrop to the growth of the airport. The opening was very well attended, including Mayor Larry Morrissey. Zernia has every reason to believe that this will be an annual event.

Thank you to Bob O’Brien, executive director of Aviation, and Dave Lindberg, terminal manager of Northwest Chicagoland International Airport at Rockford. Thanks also to the Aviation Art Exhibit Committee—Gail Zernia, chairman; Don Fuchs, Laura Graessle, Julie Murray, Sue Stevens, Karla Janssen-White, and Al Zernia.

I think there are endless opportunities for bringing businesses and artists together—and not just visual artists. Imagine the Rockford Symphony Orchestra performing during the seventh inning stretch at a RiverHawks game. Perhaps we could charm the Dance Company into dancing in the infield at the Rockford Speedway.

Arts in unlikely places! There are so many things we can do if we work together, each bringing our own forté to the front.

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

From the Aug. 10-16, 2005, issue

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