317 Market St. is a building rich in Rockford art history. Built and first occupied in 1899 by Rockford Illustrating Company, it was the most diversified graphic arts firm in the country.
Throughout the years, the building has changed hands. From 1985 to 2006, Deborah Newton, a prominent Rockford artist, owned and occupied the building and created 317 Market Street Gallery. The building was then bought by current owner, Justin Fern, of Urban Equity Properties.
Another beloved Rockford artist and interior designer, Tom Littrell, leased the studio space on the first floor to establish Tom Littrell Design Studio and installed a fine art gallery on the second floor. With the passing of Littrell one year ago, Dougherty and Rowinski, two of Littrell’s artists, took possession of the studio with the intent of keeping the creative history of the space moving forward.
March 1, 2014, Dougherty and Rowinski opened their art studio at 317 Market St. with the help of many dedicated artists. The studio transformed into classroom space, and the second-floor gallery was maintained.
Beginning Dec. 1, 2014, more space on the street level became available, and 317 Studio and Gallery doubled in size.
With the addition of the expanded space, additional classes will be provided, as well as a recently acquired kiln that will make way for ceramic and pottery classes.
A variety of art classes are available for artists of all ages. The website calendar provides an insight to the many classes available. The very popular Loaded Brush and PALette pARTies are offered several times a month to the public and an option for private parties. These are painting classes designed to teach groups of people, step by step, to create a painting. Mixed media, drawing, painting and craft classes are also on the agenda.
The gallery is always ever changing with the works of art from many local artists, exhibiting a variety of media from paint to photography to pottery. The studio also participates in Rockford Area Arts Council’s Spring ArtScene and Fall ArtScene.
A grand-opening celebration will be from 4 to 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 6.
317 Studio and Gallery can be reached at (815) 315-7000 or online at www.317studiogallery.com.
Rockford Illustrating returns to 317 Market St.
Rockford Illustrating is again calling the 317 Studio & Gallery at 317 Market St. home. Rockford Illustrating Company, the successor to the Rockford Engraving Company, built the Market Street location in 1899. Illustrator and fine artist Jenny Mathews decided to bring the name back and put the company back in its original facility. The new Rockford Illustrating focuses on hand-drawn custom illustrations. Illustrations will be on display from 4 to 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 6, at 317 Studio and Gallery during the First Friday Art Show. The theme of the show is storytelling. C.J. Campbell, local author of The Zen of Beard Trimming, due out in mid-February, will tell a story at 6:30 p.m.
From the Feb. 4-10, 2015, issue