Gallery 610 to host first annual Downtown Charity Ball benefit for RAAC

By Anne E. O’Keefe

Gallery 610 co-owners Ian Sykaluk (left) and Nathan Arroyave (right)
Gallery 610 co-owners Ian Sykaluk (left) and Nathan Arroyave (right).

Gallery 610 will be holding their first Downtown Charity Ball on Friday from 6-9:30 p.m. at 610 East State Street. Rockford Area Arts Council is happy to welcome them to the neighborhood.

I recently visited co-owners of Gallery 610, Nathan Arroyave and Ian Sykaluk. RAAC ArtScene served as their opening event in April and they’ve been cranking ever since. Arroyave and Sykaluk have been friends since high school and they first envisioned doing a movie together but that didn’t pan out for them. Both men are photographers. They decided to pursue a gallery that would give artists a chance to show their work and have fun in the process. The space is great and the recent crowds, reaching over 200, have expressed that they like being able to move about the space and really take in the work.

Resident artists, Jacob Polhill (@JACOB_POLHILL) and Alec Reicher (@AlecReicher), painted a collaborative piece live at the May 13 event, Clash of the Cosmos, with music by Phoebe Zahir, Cheez and Erik Olson. Other artists’ work is for sale in the gallery and future events will include cool, interactive ways of highlighting their work.

Sykaluk is energized by each event. “At every event we meet new artists and we like to get them involved, share ideas for events, and give them a nice space to show their work,” he said.

Arroyave has a collection of artwork from his recent travels to Nicaragua. “One of the reasons we decided to open a gallery is to sell some of the work I’ve collected from my trip,” Arroyave explained.

RAAC is honored to be the chosen recipient for a portion of the funds raised from the inaugural Downtown Charity Ball at Gallery 610. They explained they want to support RAAC’s mission of supporting of artists. “We want to give back to an organization that shares our same beliefs.” Gallery 610 will have live music and live painting for this event. The Downtown Charity Ball is free and open to the public but donations are welcomed.

What’s up for June? June 11 is the first in a two-part series titled Underground Art Battle. Two local artists, Evangelina Jimenez and Nancy Villa, have agreed to battle head-to-head to earn their spot in the Grand Finale to be crowned the champion of the Underground Art Battle. The artists will paint their own work after a style and subject have been chosen and then the artwork will be voted on by a jury.

For a complete list of participating visual artists and music check them out on Facebook at and on Twitter @Gallery_610.

Contact Gallery 610 whether you are an artist looking for a venue or if you are looking for a cool place to have an event, the space is available for rent. Arroyave and Sykaluk envision future partnerships with creatives in the space, truly open to the endless possibilities.

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