Rockford Art Museum (RAM) will open the Rockford Midwestern Biennial exhibition to the public and announce the winning artists of the juried show on Friday, October 9.

The 2020 Rockford Midwestern Biennial is the 76th presentation of the museum’s juried survey exhibition of new work by contemporary artists from across the Midwest. From more than 700 submissions, 76 pieces were chosen for the Biennial, from 70 artists residing in six states.


Original artwork in any medium created since 2018 by artists living in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin were eligible for the Biennial. Artist awards to be announced on Friday, October 9 include Best of Show and two Juror’s Choice awards—as well as the 2020 Dean Alan Olson Purchase Award, given to the artist whose work has been selected for inclusion in the Rockford Art Museum Permanent Collection.

Carrie Johnson, RAM’s Executive Director/Curator said that the Biennial showcases the best-of-the-best art that’s being made now in the Midwestern region. “The Midwestern Biennial is not only an opportunity to show the rest of the country that thought-provoking, well-executed work is happening right here in the heart of the Midwest – but offers our visitors the chance to see the diversity of work taking place across the region. I hope our visitors are moved when viewing these evocative pieces, some of which reflect the current moment we’re in as a country,” she said.


The Rockford Midwestern Biennial is organized by Carrie Johnson and juried by Jim Dempsey of Corbett vs. Dempsey Gallery, Chicago; the exhibition and related educational programming are sponsored by the Dean Alan Olson Foundation and Women’s Art Board, and partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.


Admission to RAM is free for the remainder of 2020. The exhibition will be on view during the museum’s hours of 10am to 5pm Thursdays through Sundays until January 31, 2021.


The 2020 Rockford Midwestern Biennial exhibiting artists are:
Elisa Ahmer
 (Leaf River, IL); Mitzi Allen (Chicago, IL); Les Allen (Dixon, IL) ; Ange Altenhofen (Chariton, IA); Stephen Warde Anderson (Rockford, IL); Krista Anderson-Larson (Saint Paul, MN); Nelson Armour (Chicago, IL); Brian Bartlett (Sun Prairie, WI); Jennifer Bock-Nelson (Quincy, IL); Glenn Bodish (Dixon, IL); Carrie Carlson (Orland Park, IL); Eric Carlson (Fort Wayne, IN); Marian Carow (Chicago, IL); Brent Cole (Muncie, IN); Sara Peak Convery (Chicago, IL); Melinda Cook (Freeport, IL); Gina Dabrowski (Saint Paul, MN); Anita Dawson (Columbus, OH); John DenHouter (Edwardsville, IL); Janice Elkins (Oak Park, IL); Jason Erler (Cincinnati, OH); Judith Roston Freilich (Glencoe, IL); Victoria Fuller (Chicago, IL); Rhonda Gates (Rockford, IL); Aris Georgiades (Stoughton, WI); Shelley Gilchrist (Evanston, IL); Barbara Goldsmith (Morton Grove, IL); Joshua Grotto (Chicago, IL); Marcia Haffmans (Minneapolis, MN); Susan Hensel (Minneapolis, MN); Chris Hyndman (Chicago, IL); Frank Juarez (Sheboygan, WI); Stephen Kaufman (Urbana, IL); Nathan Keay (Chicago, IL); Beverly Kedzior (Indian Creek, IL); Mark Keffer (Bedford, OH); Diane Levesque (Kenosha, WI); Erin Liljegren (Madison, WI); Michael Litewski (Zion, IL); Jeanne Ludeke (Rockford, IL); Kim Matthews (Minneapolis, MN); Tom McHale (Rockford, IL); Michael Mejia (Oak Park, IL); Judith Meyer (Rockford, IL); Christine B. Miller (Whitewater, WI); Zach Mory (Glen Ellyn, IL); Scott Mossman (Chicago, IL); Ahavani Mullen (Chicago, IL); Angie Nofsinger (Rockford, IL); Dan Oliver (Chicago, IL); Denise Orlin (Chicago, IL); Deborah Orloff (Sylvania, OH); Raúl Ortiz (Chicago, IL); Suzanne Rampage (Chicago, IL); Elizabeth Rhoads Read (Cedar Rapids, IA); Gina Lee Robbins (Oak Park, IL); Renee Robbins (Chicago, IL); Mark Rospenda (South Bend, IN); Christopher Rowley (Minneapolis, MN); Jeffrey Sanderson (Chicago, IL); Philip Spangler (Chicago, IL); John Stanicek (Aurora, IL); Mary Lou Stewart (River Forest, IL); Robert Studzinski (Columbus, OH); Sharon Swidler (Skokie, IL); Michele Thrane (Arlington Heights, IL); Tom Van Eynde (Forest Park, IL); Kathy Weaver (Chicago, IL); Beth Wemmer (Loves Park, IL); Ryan Zoghlin (Chicago, IL)

Beginning the week of August 3, 2020, Rockford Art Museum (RAM) will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday–Sunday each week—with no reservations required, and free admission through the end of the year.

Rockford Art Museum will reopen Monday, July 6, with new health and safety protocols in place—and free admission through the end of the year. RAM is located inside the Riverfront Museum Park building at 711 North Main Street in downtown Rockford, Illinois, across the hall from Discovery Center Museum and next door to Burpee Museum of Natural History.

The application deadline for Rockford Art Museum’s 76th Rockford Midwestern Biennial has been EXTENDED through June 29. The 2020 Rockford Midwestern is a juried survey exhibition of new contemporary art in the Midwest today, and will be on view October 9, 2020–January 31, 2021 at Rockford Art Museum, located inside the Riverfront Museum Park building at 711 North Main Street in downtown Rockford, Illinois. Application and more details are available at

I write to you today with a heavy heart. As a museum staff and board, we want to acknowledge the pain, struggle and continued fight the black community faces daily. And, as a cultural institution that promotes listening, a safe environment, and a place where we encourage individuality and unity, we strongly oppose and stand against all forms of racism and oppression. We understand the incredible effort it takes to fight against systemic racism, both in our institution and our city, and we are dedicated to this hard work. We are hopeful that the current protests will help push change that is urgently needed in our country. We lock arms with our black community and are committed to fighting alongside you for true equality.

Some Good News for the Rockford region!

The Illinois General Assembly passed a budget bill last week with several big wins for the creative sector, including $13.3 million in funding for the Illinois Arts Council Agency, and a $50 million investment for the Arts Alliance Capital Coalition that will fuel 36 projects dedicated to permanent improvement in cultural infrastructure across the state—including one in downtown Rockford.

Rockford’s Riverfront Museum Park is among the 36 coalition members set to receive major funding for capital projects that will have a lasting impact on Discovery Center Museum, Rockford Art Museum, Rockford Dance Company and Rockford Symphony Orchestra, all located inside the Riverfront Museum Park building at 711 North Main Street in downtown Rockford. Beloved annual Rockford events like RAM’s Greenwich Village Art Fair, Discovery Center’s Bubble Fest, Countdown to Fun and more all take place on site.

Rockford Art Museum (RAM) has extended Sonic Disruptions: Buisch + Hogin through September 27 in response to the current public health crisis. The major art exhibition opened February 7 at RAM, located inside the Riverfront Museum Park building at 711 North Main Street in downtown Rockford, Illinois. The museum is currently closed, and the original closing date for the exhibition was Memorial Day, May 25.

As of March 14, and following Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Executive Order, Rockford Art Museum is temporarily closed until further notice. In order to limit the spread of COVID-19, the following March/April events, programs and classes have been impacted and rescheduled, postponed or cancelled: 

Effective 5 p.m. Saturday, March 14, Rockford Art Museum is temporarily closed until further notice—and all events, classes and programs at RAM are cancelled or postponed.

In response to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), we want you to know that the museum is currently open and taking all appropriate precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease ControlWinnebago County Health Department and the City of Rockford to keep visitors and staff healthy. 

As of March 12, Winnebago County Health Department and Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara have recommended that local businesses and organizations suspend public gatherings of 25 people or more. Because of this, Rockford Art Museum will stay open until further notice, although we are cancelling events, programs and classes for this weekend and the upcoming week