Rockford Area Arts Council seeks community input on future cultural plans

As part of the Rockford region cultural plan, community members are invited to the state of culture event, where attendees share their ideas for the stateline.
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 10:22 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Expanding the footprint of the arts in Rockford and allowing the community access to more culturally influenced events, while asking residents what the Forest City what they want the most.

As part of the Rockford Region Cultural Plan, community members are invited to the state of culture event, where attendees share their perspectives on what they want to see come to the stateline.

Over the past 9 months, the Rockford Area Arts Council has collected data from residents about what events they would like to see.

“We’ve had 1-on-1 interviews with community leaders, with just regular old residents and we’ve also targeted community groups so if it’s the Black, Latinx, Asian communities. We’re really trying to get engagement at a level that is meaningful,” said Mary McNamara Bernsten, executive director of the Rockford Area Arts Council. “We just have a little bit of our stay in our lane attitude and so I think what we’re hearing from people is they want to see that intersectionality, they want to see people feeling welcome.”

One attendee of Wednesdays event is Armando Cardenas, who played traditional Spanish music at the event. He encourages Rockford residents of all backgrounds to give their input to better shape the Forest City as a cultural hub for people of every walk of life.

“People say ‘well you know, I want to be able to share my culture better, I don’t have a vehicle to share my culture’ and the more we embrace each other, that creates for unity,” Cardenas said.

If you want to give feedback on ways Rockford could improve its cultural arts events, a survey for the Cultural Plan is still available on the Rockford Area Arts Council website.