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See Rockford photo competition winners, help save library’s mosaics

Only a handful of people have seen the full slate of winning entries in the inaugural Focus Rockford photo competition. Most of them are Rockford natives, but they’ve almost all had the same response.

“Ooh, where was that one taken?”

The competition’s photographers were asked to submit photos that show off the beauty of our city. They succeeded, and then some.

I think it speaks to the greatness of our city that people who have lived here for decades can see a photo and wonder where it was taken. There is so much to see and do here that many people can still be surprised. Or maybe they have seen it, but it’s being presented in a different way. A new way of looking at things is sometimes helpful for any of us.

I’m inviting you to come see the photos for yourself at our exhibition. We’re unveiling the winners from 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 at Prairie Street Brewhouse. The photo attached to this story is one of those that will be displayed.

In total, we’ll have 12 photos blown up, printed and framed. We’ll offer those up through a silent auction. You can also purchase custom-sized prints of all the photos, as well as a calendar featuring them all.

We hope affordable prices mean people will get to take home a lot of prints and calendars. We want people to enjoy the scenes depicted, and remember that our city is one in which they can be proud.

The plan is to have calendars available for $10 each, and prints for 15 cents per square inch. So, an 11x17 would be about $28. A nice print or calendar would make a great holiday gift this year.

All proceeds are going toward saving the mosaic murals on the front of the downtown Rockford Public Library. The more-than-100-year-old structure will be demolished soon, and the murals will go with them if a group organizing to save them doesn’t come up with $28,000.

The murals were made in 2000 by high school students from all over Rockford to commemorate the new millennium. The theme was “Spirit of Rockford,” which I think fits the Focus Rockford mission perfectly.

The goal is to move them to the west side of the museum complex on North Main where future generations can enjoy them.

The event is free and open to all, including children. So, come by and grab a drink, maybe stay for dinner at Prairie Street and check in regularly on your silent auction bids. And we hope you’ll take home a beautiful photo that reminds you regularly of what greatness lies here in Rockford.

I’d be remiss if I forgot to recognize our wonderful sponsors, who have donated time, labor, expertise, space and money to help put on our event. Thank you to Rockford Area Arts Council, Prairie Street Brewing Co., Camera Craft, MainfraiM, Crimson Ridge, Fehr Graham, Transform Rockford and David & Colleen Anderson.

For more, go to, or like us on Facebook.


Brian Wallheimer

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