January 10, 2020 Rockford, IL

Mary McNamara Bernsten will begin her role as the Executive Director of the Rockford Area Arts Council on Monday, January 13, 2020.

John Beck, Board President, is quoted saying: “The Rockford Area Arts Council has been a leader in promoting arts for everyone in Northern Illinois for over 30 years. And, we couldn’t be more excited to turn over the reins of this organization to Mary. We (the Board of Directors) are confident she has the skills and background to take this organization to the next level.”

Mary McNamara Bernsten is a working artist, small business owner, and art instructor. Most recently, Mary served as Keith Country Day School’s Middle and Upper School Fine Arts Instructor. Previously, Mary served as Spectrum Progressive School’s Art Specialist and Artist in Residence at the Rockford Art Museum. Mary serves on the YMCA Board of Directors and as a primary organizer for Women’s March Rockford. Previously, Mary served as a Forest Preserves of Winnebago County Commissioner for six years and Mary continues to be an active League of Women Voters member.

Asked about her strengths in her new role with the Rockford Area Arts Council, Mary stated, “The RAAC role gives me the opportunity to marry two of my life passions, art and community engagement. The RAAC is a critical organization to the community—it is responsible for establishing the creative infrastructure and it sets the tone for our cultural experience. The Rockford region has an impressive art community. We have artists generating unique creative experiences and compelling artistic expressions. I am thrilled to help move the RAAC forward as the vital umbrella arts organization for our region.”

Susan Williams, Arts Council Executive Director from 1987-2005, contacted RAAC to say, “The appointment of Mary McNamara Bernsten to lead the Rockford Area Arts Council is an inspired choice, one that will ensure that the arts in Rockford remain alive and well….and for everyone. As Executive Director, Ms. McNamara Bernsten is the perfect person to follow the brilliant leadership of Sharon Nesbit-Davis and to advance and enhance the Arts Council’s mission.”

You can contact the RAAC at 713 E. State St. Rockford, IL 61104 ~ Phone 815-963-6765 ~ Email: info@artsforeveryone.com or on their website at: artsforeveryone.com

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