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.
Although state funding won’t go into effect until after Governor Pritzker signs the bill, this is incredibly encouraging news for Rockford! Having passed the Illinois General Assembly, the budget bill is now on Governor Pritzker’s desk, and he is expected to sign it in the weeks ahead.
Riverfront Museum Park is a Rockford Park District facility that serves as a community anchor for the Rockford region because of the organizations inside. Without state funding, the financial burden of making upgrades and improvements to the building would fall on Discovery Center, Rockford Art Museum, Rockford Dance Company and Rockford Symphony Orchestra, severely impacting the ability of each nonprofit organization to carry out their respective missions.
Representing the Riverfront Museum Park districts in Springfield are State Sen. Steve Stadelman and State Rep. Maurice West. Their commitment to this bill, as well as by State Sen. Dave Syverson, State Rep. Joe Sosnowski and others, will help keep arts and culture experiences accessible for everyone in our community for years to come.
Arts Alliance Illinois formed the Arts & Culture Capital Coalition to provide advocacy support, bringing together diverse groups representing communities of all sizes.“We’re thrilled that in this era of great uncertainty for the cultural sector, the Illinois General Assembly reaffirmed its commitment to the arts through maintaining budget levels for the Illinois Arts Council Agency,” said Arts Alliance Illinois Executive Director Claire Rice. “Fueling arts capital projects in progress and planned across the state is an investment in our future. Cultural spaces are not only community anchors, these capital funds will create jobs in the arts and culture, construction, and manufacturing industries.”
“Arts, culture, and the creative sector are needed now more than ever,” said Rice. “This is a sector keeping us sane, connected, and inspired during the pandemic, and this critical funding will support both programs and bricks-and-mortar operations. Our sector is and will be a critical part of the healing and restoration of Illinois, and we look forward to working with the legislature, governor, and the IACA as we move our sector into recovery.”
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The mission of Discovery Center Museum is to create opportunities for playful learning and discovery through hands-on experiences in the sciences and arts. Connect with us on Facebook @discoverycentermuseum and Twitter @discovcenmuseum. Executive Director: Sarah Wolf. More at discoverycentermuseum.org.
The mission of Rockford Art Museum is to foster creativity and build community through visual arts. RAM is located inside the Riverfront Museum Park building at 711 North Main Street in downtown Rockford, Illinois. Connect with us on Facebook @rockfordartmuseum and Instagram @rockfordart #rockfordartmuseum, and go behind the scenes with us on our free mobile app. Executive Director/Curator: Carrie Johnson. More at rockfordartmuseum.org.
The mission of Rockford Dance Company is to pursue excellence in the art of dance through performance, education and outreach. Interim Executive Director: Monique Aduddell. More at rockforddancecompany.com.
The mission of the Rockford Symphony Orchestra is to enlighten, educate, and entertain through symphonic music. Executive Director: Julie Thomas. More at rockfordsymphony.com.
The mission of the Riverfront Museum Park of Rockford Park District is to support and sustain a vibrant and healthy facility that enables our member organizations to showcase the arts and sciences. Facility Manager: Cyndie Howard. More at riverfrontmuseumpark.org.
The mission of Arts Alliance Illinois is to build the vitality of communities statewide through service and advocacy, thereby generating resources for the cultural sector and creative industries. Executive Director: Claire Rice. More at artsalliance.org.