What it's like to be executive director of the Arts council

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-111583392411915.jpg’, ”, ‘Anne E. O Keefe’);

Editor’s note: The Rock River Times is pleased to welcome Anne E. O’Keefe, executive director of the Rockford Area Arts Council, as a regular columnist. Please look for her column in future issues.

It’s amazing to be back in Rockford and see all the positive growth, and even more impressive is the potential. I have completed three months as the executive director of the Rockford Area Arts Council, and have met some strong forces in the arts community. I am excited to be joining the Arts Council at a time when its mission to support, promote, and develop the arts for everyone has never been more important.

My goal is to listen to what the Arts Council can do to continue positive cultivation of local artists. There will be a Performing Artists meeting at the Mendolssohn PAC, Thursday, May 19, 6-8 p.m. and a Visual Artists meeting on Thursday, June 2, 7-9 p.m. All are welcome. After listening to the needs, I will formulate a plan of action to prevent the collection of ideas that simply remain on flip chart paper until they yellow.

I am amazed by the sheer number of arts events in this city. I am working diligently to make the rounds and have only scratched the surface. I wish to thank those who have reached out to me, making me feel very welcomed while issuing the challenge to meet the needs of the community. Although I am not a politician, I do have an open door policy.

I believe the arts are a critical component of our community in that they challenge us, stimulate thought, and bring us together. I’m thrilled about the opportunity to meet with Mayor Larry Morrissey to hear his vision for the arts. Mayor Morrissey is absolutely right that it is up to all of us to make Rockford a vital, vibrant community. We have many visionaries in this town, and I believe their time is now.

From the May 11-17, 2005, issue

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