Update from the Executive Director

Today at Shumway
September 2022
Update from the Executive Director

Dear Arts Council Members and Community Partners,

Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans…days are getting shorter, work wheels keep turning, kids are back in school, summer vacations–if you’re lucky–are a memory, and planning for home repairs, putting the garden to bed and the holidays are on the brain. It’s a good thing we have music, art, and entertainment to enrich our journey!

During the past couple of months, the face(s) of the Arts Council has changed. I’d like to introduce two new staff people: Aria Childers, Program Coordinator, and Rhiannon Yandell, Office Manager. Aria Childers comes to the Arts Council with ten years of programming experience in the Rockford Area; Aria will be working, primarily, with our Washington Park Community Center program through the RPS205 ARP Esser/Rockford Park District partnership. Aria is an enthusiastic arts advocate and fierce athlete! Rhiannon Yandell comes to the Arts Council with over twenty years of corporate experience in technology and operations management; Rhiannon’s focus will be membership and communications while sharing her yogic know-how with the rest of the staff!

The Arts Council recently wrapped up a tremendously successful program-filled summer! Please see the photo montage I’ve included–it effectively illustrates youth engagement, creative skill-building, and meaningful mentorship/apprenticeship aspects of our summer programs. Kayla Acton, our Program Director, assisted by Aria Childers, our Program Coordinator, are responsible for strengthening our community partnerships and providing a meaningful–and FUN–summer art experience for Rockford area youth!

Artourage–an Arts Council fundraiser and community mixer–was a big hit for both artists and professionals in our community. Please see the photos and description of the evening below. The Arts Council will plan another community mixer during the winter months…keep your eyes peeled!

The Cultural Plan challenge continues. We are reaching out to our community partners and YOU for support. I am asking you to engage with the Arts Council as we move into the next challenging period of time with countless opportunities for collaboration, innovative enrichment, and cultural planning!
How will YOU engage with the arts in the next six months?
I hope to see you at an arts-related event soon!

Mary McNamara Bernsten
Executive Director