October is Arts and Humanities Month

By Anne E. O’Keefe
Rockford Area Arts Council

Last October, the Presidential Proclamation for Arts & Humanities Month keyed on the future of innovation relying on arts for everyone.

Rockford ArtScene

“Cultivating the talents of our young people and ensuring they have access to the arts are critical to our nation’s growth and prosperity,” wrote President Barack Obama. “To meet the challenges ahead, we must harness the skills and ingenuity of our children and grandchildren and instill in them the same passion and persistence that has driven centuries of progress and innovation.

“The arts and humanities provide important opportunities for our young people to unleash their creativity and reach for new heights. That is why my administration is committed to bolstering initiatives that ensure the next generation has the tools to foster their artistic expression and the opportunities to go as far as their imaginations can take them.”

Rockford Area Arts Council (RAAC) is kicking off October with Scene Peek, a fundraiser that highlights youth that have been positively impacted by the arts. Events begin Thursday, Oct. 1, 5:30 p.m. at Veteran’s Memorial Hall, 211 N. Main St.

RAAC ArtScene, in its 28th year, is a living, breathing piece of art unto itself. There are 40 venues that will be bursting with the creativity of the amazing artists from our region.

This event would not be possible if not for the artists and others who are creating our culture throughout the year. They include gallery owners who have nurtured emerging artists, maintained a creative space for shows and the creation of work and have been the backbone of our creative class long before Richard Florida was writing about the value of such a thing.

Deb Newton and Richard F. Novak will be returning to 317 Studio and Gallery. Newton founded the space, and went on to reimagine a gas station a block away and a barn in Lake Geneva with her husband, architect Joe Zimmer. Novak’s work can be seen on the campuses of Rock Valley College, University of Illinois, College of Medicine and Swedish American Cancer Center.

October 3 our friends at NAMI will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of “Stars of Light” with “The Best of the Stars” at the Nordlof Center from 2-3:30 p.m. The anniversary party will celebrate their accomplishments including over 260 tour shows entertaining over 20,000 people, five videos and movies, eight radio shows, a full-length play, a children’s book and seven art galleries. There will be live performances of vignettes that chronicle the evolution of the troupe. For information visit naminorthernillinois.org.

Rockford Symphony Orchestra kicks off their season with “Tchaikovsky and Brahms,” on October 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the Coronado. David Syme will be the featured pianist, and the program will include Walton, Prelude to Richard III, Tchaikovsky, Piano Concerto No. 1, and the conductors choice, Brahms Symphony No. 4 in E. minor. For more information visit rockfordsymphony.com.

Round out your weekend October 4 with the Avalon String Quartet Series, “Celebrating Russian Composers” in the Mendelssohn Hall, 406 N. Main, 7:30 p.m. For ticket information visit mendelssohnpac.org.

There are so many other outstanding arts offerings not only in October but throughout the year. Visit artsforeveryone.com to take full advantage of our vibrant arts community.

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