RAM Talks Art: Where to buy cool art gifts

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11872006065404.jpg’, ”, ‘Carrie Johnson‘);

Looking for a unique gift? Tired of buying the same old thing for your friends and family? Well, I have the perfect solution for you.

If you feel like you want to buy something really special for someone, check out Rockford’s amazing museum stores and unique, locally-owned shops. If you haven’t noticed, Rockford has a plethora of really cool shops all around the city.

On the east side, check out La Mendola (1651 N. Alpine Road, Rockford, 815-877-8014). In the Edgebrook Shopping Center, La Mendola offers a variety of excellent merchandise, including some amazing consignment items by local artists. They have a unique array of gorgeous dishes, servers, and the most amazing candles and candleholders.

While you’re tooling around town, make sure to stop at POSKA (2213 E. State St., Rockford, 815-316-2990), a brand-new store where the antiques and specialty gifts are out of this world. Not only does POSKA carry wonderful soaps, stunning boxes and frames, but also handmade chocolates and caramels that come in beautifully-packaged boxes with the POSKA signature bird nest.

Across the river there’s another fabulous store that always seems to take my breath away with its unique gifts and home accessories—J.R. Kortman Center for Design (107 N. Main St., Rockford, 815-968-0123). Fantastic jewelry, watches and cards are only the cherry on top of this delicious store.

Not only do these stores carry amazing gifts and stunning housewares, but the warmth and hospitality you receive from the store owners when you walk in truly makes your shopping experience priceless.

There are also countless items from all over the globe that will certainly please all tastes and styles—especially at Rockford’s two fair trade retailers, JustGoods Fair Trade Market (201 Seventh St., Rockford, 815-965-8903), which was recently nominated for a 2007 Heart of Rockford Award, and Phoenix Traders (215 Seventh St., Rockford, 815-962-4212).

So, if you are out just to do some casual shopping or looking for the perfect gift, make sure to support Rockford’s local shops; you won’t be disappointed.

If you are in the market for a unique educational gift for a child who enjoys art, science, and nature, check out the museum stores at the Riverfront Museum Park. Discovery Center Museum (Discoveries to Go!, 711 N. Main St., Rockford, 815-963-6769) and Burpee Museum of Natural History (Burpee Museum Gift Shop, 737 N. Main St., Rockford, 815-965-3433) are great for neat educational games, toys and experiment sets.

While you are there, head to the Rockford Art Museum Store (711 N. Main St., Rockford, 815-972-2865) and check out the amazing books, art sets, cards and great consignment options that support our local artists. Great baby gifts and unique items for showers or any other occasion also grace the shelves in our new RAM Store.

If you are in the market for more only-in-Rockford gifts, check out other museum stores around town, like the ones at Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum (411 Kent St., Rockford, 815-964-2424) and Midway Village & Museum Center (6799 Guilford Road, Rockford, 815-397-9112). Both of these stores have an array of special gifts handcrafted on site or locally. Make sure to check out the sock monkeys and other handmade items that truly make for a unique gift.

So, when you venture out for your next shopping trip, remember to support your local museum stores and specialty stores. Not only are you supporting the community, but also the educational and artistic pinnacles of Rockford.

Rockford Art Museum Customer Service Coordinator Carrie Johnson can be reached at cjohnson@rockfordartmuseum.org.

from the Aug 15-21, 2007, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!