O’Keefe to leave RAAC post, join RPL

After 11 years as the President and CEO of the Rockford Area Arts Council (RAAC), Anne O’Keefe has accepted a position as Development Officer for the Rockford Public Library.

“We are happy for Anne and wish her the very best, but are bittersweet about her departure from the Arts Council,” said Doug Mark, RAAC Board Chair.

“She has made an impact in our community and at the state and national level,” he continued.

During O’Keefe’s tenure she has successfully advocated for artists and the arts communities in northern Illinois. Under her leadership Art Scene has increased its venues and participation by more than 50 percent  in the spring and 10 percent in the fall.

Her friendly, outgoing style has garnered the Arts Council many supporters, advocates and friends who have become loyal patrons of the arts. Her leadership in the arts community is exemplified by her appointment to the Arts Alliance Illinois Board of Directors and her invitation to attend the 2014 Americans For The Arts Executive Leadership Forum. O’Keefe was one of only 20 chosen arts advocates from the United States and Canada to attend.

In 2012 O’Keefe was instrumental in establishing the Kennedy Center Partners in Education with the Rockford Public School System, a partnership that will benefit all students of District 205 for years to come.

In order to share the positive economic impact arts can create for a community, O’Keefe was the lead for gathering our region’s Arts and Economic Prosperity Statistics – the results of which became part of a national, comprehensive report that reported, for the first time, accurate data that gave credence the economic drive and boost the arts bring to communities.

“The Board of Directors will work with Anne over the next two to three weeks to make sure we have a comprehensive plan during Anne’s transition to the Rockford Public Library,” Mark said. “We have a strong and capable staff in Ann-Margret Naber and Sharon Nesbit-Davis to carry on with our programming and outreach. We will certainly miss, however, Anne’s collaborative spirit and relationship building within the arts community.”

–Rockford Area Arts Council

Click to check out some of Anne’s contributions to The Rock River Times.

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