Chicagoland Spots: Rockford Art Museum

Venue: Rockford Art Museum


Location: 711 North Main Street, Rockford, IL  Approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes from Chicago – off of 1-90 in Rockford.

Hours: Open daily from 10:00am – 5:00pm

Parking: Free – plentiful

My Experience:  Rockford is located about an hour from my home so I don’t get out there very often.  This past weekend, though, my daughter had a volleyball tournament in Rockford and, since she hates when I stay the entire tournament (which lasts all day, BTW) I figured I’d take some time for myself in the afternoon to see some sights in Rockford.

Truthfully, I didn’t think I’d find much to do in Rockford.  But after driving around for awhile, I noticed that Rockford is actually really pretty!  Since visiting the city, I learned that Rockford is the THIRD largest city in Illinois so of course there’d be a ton to do, right?!?!

When I drove up to the building I was surprised that the Rockford Art Museum wasn’t the only attraction at that address.

Rockford Art Museum

The entire building is named the Riverfront Museum Park and it also houses the Burpee Museum of Natural History, the Discovery Center Museum (which we will be back to visit very soon!), the Rockford Dance Academy, the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, and Northern Public Radio.  This facility is HUGE!

Outside, I noticed a moving structure that immediately caught my attention.

Rockford Moving Structure

The wind gets caught in the metal cups, causing the yellow stars to spin.  Pretty cool, huh?  This was looking promising!

Inside, the Rockford Art Museum’s gift shop looked like a shopping mall store.

Rockford Art Museum Gift Shop

It looked so bright and inviting that I was instantly sure that I did the right thing by venturing out for the day.  I loved the glass windows and the Rockford Art Museum logo etched in the glass.

Rockford Art Museum Logo

I was fortunate to visit the museum when I did.  The day before, a new collection opened titled Between Heaven & Earth by Michele Feder-Nadoff.  Michele is a Chicago native and one of the artists that are a part of the Rockford Art Museum’s Permanent Collection.  The entire first floor of the museum was filled with her work than spans her years as an artist.  From clay and bronze sculptures, to abstract paintings and chayah drawings, Michele’s work captivated me.  I wandered the halls of the Rockford Art Museum completely in awe of the works before me.  Her early work featured abstract mixed media collages that used an interesting assortment of everyday craft supplies like beads, buttons, yarn, fabric and sequins assembled together so beautifully and intently.  The colors of the canvas drew me in and I was eager to see more.

Probably one of the more interesting pieces featured Michele Feder-Nadoff’s chayah drawings.  The repetitive, simple brushstrokes singularly insignificant, but breathtakingly beautiful by the thousands.  I enjoyed her work very much!  Her Heaven & Earth collection will be featured through April 14, 2013.

The Rockford Art Museum’s Permanent Collection is located on the lower level.

Rockford Art Museum Anderson Gallery

The Permanent Collection features an eclectic mix of art by a variety of artists so make sure you head downstairs before you go to check it out.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my “Me” time at the Rockford Art Museum and I’m glad I decided to check it out.  I plan to head back to the Riverfront Museum Park in the coming weeks to check out the Discovery Center Museum with my son so check back for my review soon.

And on a totally separate note – not everything on my Rockford excursion was great.  After the volleyball tournament, my daughter and I were starving and I suggested stopping at a Mexican restaurant I spotted on the way to the museum for dinner.  From the outside the place looked huge and I liked the name of the place: Panchero’s Mexican Grill.

Pancheros Mexican Grill Rockford

However, when we got in, I quickly realized that I entered a knock-off Chipotle Restaurant that, sadly, was not as good.

Pancheros Mexican Grill Burrito Bowl Rockford

My Carnitas Burrito Bowl failed to impress and I would have rather been dining at Chipotle. Sad smile

Hope you enjoyed my review and, if ever you find yourself in the Rockford area, drop by the Rockford Art Museum!

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  1. Three recommendations for quick eats in Rockford:

    Octane (Not far from Riverfront. Note that they got a new chef recently and haven’t updated the online menu yet.)

    Mary’s Market (The one on McFarland isn’t far from the Riverside entrance to I-90.)

    Beef-a-Roo (There’s one on East State and another on Riverside, both close to I-90 entrances.)

    -Chicago resident & Rockford native

    • Oh my gosh…you are SO awesome! We’ll be back in the area soon to check out the Discovery Center so I’ll make sure to check one of these out. Thanks so much for your recommendations!!! :)


  1. […] Venue: Rockford Art Museum Website: Location: 711 North Main Street, Rockford, IL Approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes from Chicago – off of 1-90 in Rockford. Hours: Open daily from 10:00am – 5:00pm Parking: Free – plentiful …read more […]