Mayor’s Arts Awards honors six

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//img-8h7OcHvPTB.jpg’, ”, ‘Local artist Ingrid Neuhofer Dohm’s painting of the Coronado Theatre’s Austrian Crystal chandelier illustrated the theme of the 2004 Mayor’s Arts Awards, “Reflecting Achievement.”’);

At an elegant reception and program at the Coronado Theatre Tuesday, June 8, the Rockford Area Arts Council and Mayor Doug Scott announced the recipients of this year’s Mayor’s Arts Awards. The 54 nominees and six recipients were congratulated for their major contributions to Rockford’s quality of life.

This is the 16th Mayor’s Arts Awards; the event has grown to include nominations in six categories and this year attracted more than 400 people. The audience gathered to socialize, congratulate this year’s “Arts Stars,” enjoy several performances by Womansong Chorale, dancer Maria Castello with flutist Jacques St. Cyr, and Rockford College Music Academy violinist Kausika Middali. Attendees also feasted on a sumptuous dinner buffet on the Coronado stage.

Mayor’s Arts Awards Chairman Abigail Pribbenow said at the conclusion of the event: “Rockford has such a stellar arts community; these awards help our residents to feel proud of living in such a fine cultural community. We are grateful to Mayor Scott for hosting this event and lending his prestige to an already prestigious awards ceremony.”

The recipients of the awards were announced by Mayor Scott, the event sponsors, and Arts Council Board President Tom Walsh. The winners were the following:

Community Impact by

a Corporation or Business

Marshall Field’s has been a major supporter of arts events and organizations throughout its history. Locally, its employees have promoted the Rockford community and brought corporate support to various arts initiatives, events, concerts, classes and exhibits. Organizations such as the Friends of the Coronado, Rockford Dance Company, Discovery Center, New American Theater, Rockford Area Arts Council, and Rockford Art Museum have benefited and grown tremendously because of this support.

In addition to the sponsorship of many Rockford Symphony Orchestra concerts over the year, Marshall Field’s brought the unforgettable Yo Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble to the stage in April of this year. Next year, concert attendees will be treated to a performance by our own Symphony along with Bobby McFerrin.

Exceptional Student of the Arts

John and Katie Bell graduated last week from Boylan High School, and while it may be unusual to give a single award to two individuals, this brother and sister—”the Twins”—are known for their singular achievements as an inseparable team.

John and Katie are artists and advocates. Their impact has been felt far beyond any classroom wall. Both have been recognized with awards by the Rock Valley College Art Show and the Rockford Art Museum Young Artist Show. John and Katie were elected by their peers to comprise half of the Boylan team in the annual Snow Sculpting Competition at Sinnissippi Park, and they have used their talents as interns to lower-level art students at Boylan High School.

As advocates, this team of exceptional students played a pivotal role in efforts to promote restoration of the Coronado Theatre. Their development of the “Kids to Kids” material provided a lesson plan and teaching tools to introduce students to the magnificence and significance of the historic theater. John and Katie do not hide behind their art, and in fact, lobbied valiantly for public funding of the Coronado project to restore and preserve Rockford’s Crown Jewel for their generation and future generations.

John and Katie Bell truly embody the spirit of Exceptional Student of the Arts.

Star Teacher Award

Joel Ross is a musical master, both technically and educationally. He has directed Kantorei for 16 years, and as a music instructor, he has touched the lives of hundreds of boys and instilled in them a love of singing and an expectation of greatness from each and every one of them.

From the moment the boys enter rehearsal, Joel Ross begins to teach them college-level music theory, music history, music appreciation, and the technical skills to sing challenging music beautifully. It is his belief that the boys soon recognize that often the greatest challenges produce the greatest rewards.

According to his nominator, Joel Ross is not about making a great boy choir; he is about making a choir of great boys.

Creative Cultural Event Award

The Rockford Dance Company’s Production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream represents a collaboration of story, dance, music, voice and acting. No other local production has brought together the talent of Dance Reach, Mendelssohn Youth Choir, Rockford Symphony Orchestra, Rockford Dance Company and Young American Theater, and put them all on one stage with one story.

The Dance Company’s collaboration with local teachers to develop an outreach program brought dancers in full costume and music to the classroom, providing a multi-disciplinary approach to music, dance and Shakespeare.

William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream came to life on the Coronado stage with such precision that the audience had no choice but to hold applause until the very end.

This production truly brought heightened visibility to the arts and a greater awareness to the magic of collaboration.

Community Impact by

an Individual Arts Advocate

Marti Frantz and Janice Westlund have been the creative team behind Rockford College’s “UnCommon Lives: Extraordinary Women in the Arts” series for nearly a decade. Their advocacy of the arts is built on a foundation of artistic excellence and community inclusion.

Marti Frantz possesses both a music performance and an arts management background. She has developed and directed numerous arts outreach programs and has been the director of the Rockford College Music Academy since 1987, supervising its stunning growth to more than 700 students.

Janice Westlund is vice president and co-owner of Bob’s Ace Hardware. She generously shares her marketing expertise gained through business ownership by serving as a member of many local boards.

Community Impact by

an Individual Artist

Creative… innovative… experimental… are just a few words that were used in the nominations of Jim Julin. Julin has been a quiet but passionate champion of the arts in Rockford for many decades. He is a talented artist who produces nothing short of excellence. His works range from the smallest shadow box collage to the biggest chair sculpture. The Rockford Area Arts Council’s First Night would not be complete without his Fire and Ice creation—an 8-foot tall towering inferno of ice that captivates all ages as it burns and melts and creates exciting dynamic shapes.

When not creating or maintaining Rockford’s vast collection of public sculpture, Julin can be found working behind the scenes of many art events and gallery openings. His leadership and vision have helped to shape Rockford’s most innovative gallery experiences and inspire emerging young artists. According to artist and friend Deb Newton, “Jim takes risks as big and fun as life itself.”

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!