Rockford Art Museum celebrates 100 years in new exhibition

Roy Lichtenstein, “Sweet Dreams, Baby!”, 1965, Collection of Rockford Art Museum, gift of an anonymous donor.

Through the Ages: 100 Years of RAM opens to public Aug. 24

Staff Report

Through the Ages: 100 Years of RAM opens at Rockford Art Museum (RAM) with a members’ preview from 6 to 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 23, and a free public opening from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 24. A free public gallery walk will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday.

From its beginnings as the Rockford Sketch Club in 1887, to official organization as the Rockford Art Association in 1913, RAM boasts a rich history that reflects the past, present and future of the Rockford region.

On view for an unprecedented length of time (through Jan. 26, 2014) throughout all three galleries of the museum, Through the Ages celebrates the centennial of Rockford Art Museum with paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, glass, sculpture and mixed media from the RAM Permanent Collection.

Also on view in this commemorative exhibition are rare displays of historic archives that tell the impressive story about the making and sustaining of this community gem.

Now composed of more than 1,700 works of art, the RAM Permanent Collection consists of modern and contemporary American art from the 19th and 20th centuries through today, from American Impressionist paintings to Chicago Imagist works to outsider art in new and mixed media; sculpture; photography; and contemporary glass.

Regional art with an emphasis on Illinois artists remains a steadfast focus. Each focus area is represented in this landmark show — as well as each major collection of the museum, including the Francis and June Spiezer Collection of Art, Arnold Gilbert Photography Collection, Wiiken Collection of Glass, Hager Collection of Self-Taught African-American Art, and more.

Curated by Carrie Breitbach, Through the Ages: 100 Years of RAM is on view Aug. 23 through Jan. 26, 2014, at RAM, 711 N. Main St., Rockford. Museum hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., daily. Admission is $7 adults, $3 for students and seniors, free for children younger than 12. Group rates are $2 per person for groups of 10 or more (reservations required by calling (815) 972-2874). Admission is also free every Tuesday, although group rates still apply.

Irving Kriesberg, “Rescue 1,” 1986, Collection of Rockford Art Museum, gift of an anonymous donor.

Contact RAM at (815) 968-2787 or, or visit

Through the Ages educational programming

Through the Ages Teacher Workshop: Wednesday, Oct. 2, 4:30-6:30 p.m., free for teachers (call (815) 972-2874 to register) — This after-hours event gives teachers a special overview of the newest exhibition. The workshop includes a private, docent-led tour of Through the Ages: 100 Years of RAM; a hands-on activity that corresponds to the exhibition; and a take-home packet with supplemental materials for classroom use. Space is limited.

Centennial Lecture Series: Thursdays, 7 p.m., free — includes the following:

• RAM 100: 1913-2013”: Oct. 3 — Led by Carrie Breitbach and Sarah Bursley McNamara. Get an intimate look behind the scenes of researching and writing RAM 100, the commemorative centennial edition book on the history of the museum and its collection.

• “Grass Roots: Local Artists in the RAM Permanent Collection”: Nov. 7 — Led by Doc Slafkosky of Kortman Gallery and Cherri Rittenhouse. Tour Through the Ages with Doc and Cherri for an insider’s perspective on how local artists got their start and how the city shaped their careers.

• “Our Town: Rockford Enters the 20th Century”: Dec. 12 — Led by John Molyneaux. Explore the social, political and economic issues in Rockford at the turn of the 20th century and see how Rockford evolves from a small town into a thriving industrial city.

Children’s classes: $8 per class, $25 for all four, all supplies included. Call (815) 972-2874 to register. Following is the schedule of classes:

• “Zip, Zap, Zoom!”: Saturday, Oct. 5, 2-3:30 p.m. — For ages 5 and older. Can you say onomatopoeia? Learn about pop artist Roy Lichtenstein and his Benday dots to create your own pop art painting inspired by cartoons, comic books, newspapers and real life.

Philip Dedrick, “M.B.E.: The Subject Is Truth,” 1968, Collection of Rockford Art Museum, gift of an anonymous donor.

• “All that Jazz”: Saturday, Nov. 2, 2-3:30 p.m. — For ages 6 and older. Painter and collage artist Romare Bearden used personal memories, African-American cultural history and jazz music as frequent sources. Using magazines, newspapers, printouts, cards and posters, you’ll create a memorable piece of your very own.

• “Printeresting”: Saturday, Dec. 14, 2-3:30 p.m. — For ages 6 and older. Work with local artist Sarah Reed McNamara to explore basic techniques of printmaking and discover how Styrofoam, bubble wrap, and veggies can be used to make your unique print.

“Honey, I Shrunk the Glass”: Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, 2-3:30 p.m. — For ages 6 and older. What do Dale Chihuly and Shrinky Dinks have in common? Learn about this legendary glass artist, then use shrink film to create your own “glass” sculpture.

From the Aug. 21-27, 2013, issue

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