New face of Village Gallery unveiled

River District Art Co-op artists to be featured at Sunday, June 13 Art On the Lawn

The Village Gallery in Stewart Square has been representing local talent for 13 years. Sponsored by Roy Fridh in 1991, Jeanne Coe started her contribution toward the restoration of the River District by placing paintings throughout the halls, hosting openings and working with the building’s interior elements. Although the main structural changes were in place, Fridh Corporation’s Doug Smith appointed Coe as the building’s art director. Coe’s contemporary art style is known for its colors, balance and its positive effect on people.

Over the years, the gallery has moved several times within Stewart Square, each time growing to accommodate more local artists’ works. Today, approximately 65 artists display their work throughout the halls on three levels and in the two main galleries on the first floor. Having worked for many years to create a local artists’ liaison, Coe contributes her dedication to all the great local artists as well as the needs of so many charitable organizations that count on the attributes of the artists for their success.

Through the think tank contributions of other local gallery owners and the president of the Rockford Art Guild, Cora Hutchison, a change was initiated. The Village Gallery in Stewart Square became the home base for the Midwest Chapter of the Art Cooperative in March 2003. The mission of the Art Cooperative (commonly known as the Art Co-op) is to create jobs, campaigns and shows to help keep artists working.

Present campaigns include “Pet Pics”—adorable pet renderings available as prints to order from veterinarian offices; “Personalities”—detailed portraiture available in a variety of painting styles; and “The Mural Team”—painting the dreams of homeowners on their walls. One of the latest Co-op murals can be viewed at the Riverview Ice House in the Junior IceHogs Rink. This project led to the Rockford Park District becoming a partner with the Art Co-op. Another partner is the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Rockford, where you can see many of the Co-op artists’ works on display at the “Art on the Lawn” art show to be held June 13. The newest partner is Members Alliance (corner of Alpine and Harrison). Co-op art work can be viewed Monday through Friday at the Village Gallery Art Co-op Gallery in Stewart Square from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Art Co-op open meetings are held the second Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in Stewart Square. Membership dues are $25. Membership includes special incentives such as Kinko’s complete print-making discount cards, and use of the gallery mat cutter with wholesale mat board. YCS Printing makes prints for $4 a square foot. Artists need to provide the paper and image on disk. Other benefits include the newsletter, Web page layouts and much more. To become a sponsor, please call to receive information.

The galleries are in Stewart Square, 308 W. State St. Phone: (815) 963-ARTS (2787). Admission is free.

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