Celebrate this year’s March for the Arts

March for the ArtsBy Anne E. O’Keefe
Rockford Area Arts Council

There are many activities in the month of March that celebrate the importance of arts in education.

“The Council for Art Education administers Youth Art Month at the national level. Festivities take place annually, traditionally each March, to celebrate arts for grades K-12. The Youth Art Month Program emphasizes the value of arts education for all children and encourages support for quality school art programs,” according to the National Art Education Association.

On March 7 at the City Council meeting, Mayor Morrissey presented a proclamation in honor of the month and the importance of the arts. The lobby was filled with students as they demonstrated their talent.

Open now through April 3, the Rockford Art Museum’s 75th Young Artists Show: High School Division, can be seen 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. As always, the talent is impressive.

On March 8 the Rockford Public Schools presented a free All City Music Festival featuring high school and middle school band, choir and orchestra performances at the Coronado Performing Arts Center.

Artists’ Ensemble is striving to make professional theater accessible to all students. March 11-26 Artists’ Ensemble Theater, on the campus of Rockford University, is presenting Outside Mullingar, by Tony, Pulitzer Prize and Academy Award winning writer John Patrick Shanley.

The regular student price at Artists’ Ensemble Theater is just $10, however they are also offering $5@5 Student Rush. At five minutes to curtain they will sell any empty seat to a student for just $5. If that student is under age one designated driver can also get in for $5. Call the box office at 815-394-5004 between 11 a.m.-3 p.m. day of the show and ask about availability. This is an excellent show for middle school and up.

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a perfect opportunity to show support of the arts to a broader community. For the past few years the Rockford Area Arts Council has joined the St. Patrick’s Day Parade to spread the word. This year we have been so fortunate to have an incredibly dedicated partner and veracious arts advocate, Connie Kuntz. Kuntz is the Rockford Writers’ Guild President and Editor of The Rockford Review, and not only helped with Poetry Out Loud but has spearheaded sign making and rallying of marchers. Lineup is 2 p.m. at BMO Harris Bank parking lot on 7th street. The parade starts at 3.

“The thought of seeing 100 artists, young and old, marching in the parade, holding signs that simply promote art (versus a personal agenda) makes me feel amazing,” said Kuntz.

“I am eager to be a part of a pure and intelligent message. I absolutely believe that many parade watchers will be inspired by the march. We won’t be selling anything. We won’t be throwing candy. We won’t be promoting a political candidate. We will simply be marching with artful signs and with smiles on our faces and hope in our hearts. My hope is that we spark more people to create art.”

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