Since Freeport Art Museum opened in 1975, its collection has ballooned to include nearly 4,000 pieces. The number is apt, since the artifacts – from Hellenistic gold jewelry to 19th-century Italian marble statues – encompass 4,000 years of work from all continents and time periods. The nonprofit museum reserves its remaining gallery space for work by contemporary regional artists, as well as travelling exhibitions.
Said space once belonged to a historic elementary school, a lineage that befits the museum's mission to inform visitors about art's global history and future. Through its educational programs, Freeport continues fulfilling that mission with events such as artists talks and classes on subjects such as graffiti art.
As though scrawled by a member of the world's least-threatening street gang, the graffiti'd word "PENGUINS" on the stage's brick wall announces the venue's name. Nationally touring comics make that wall their backdrop every week, flooding the room with laughter as audience members accidentally flood their lungs with beer. The venue draws a number of recognizable industry names each month, with past appearances including Chris Kattan and Tom Arnold.
At Art & Soul Tattoo and Gallery, artists decorate more than bodies. They also adorn the walls. In addition to its staff of talented tattoo, piercing, and permanent-makeup artists, the business also welcomes local painters and sculptors to showcase their work in the gallery. So on their way to commission some fresh ink, customers can peruse and purchase a slightly less permanent form of art.
The Rockford Art Museum has more than a century of creativity hanging from the walls in its galleries. It acquired its first piece in 1913 and has since collected more than 1600 pieces from local and international artists. Glass sculptures, 20th century American photography, and impressionist paintings vie for attention alongside the dynamic images of the American southwest from the Taos Society of New Mexico. The collection houses the detailed work of regional artists trained at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Royal Academy of Arts and the earthy, meaningful paintings of outsider art, such as Richard Burnside’s untitled painting of a cat made from paint and pinecone pieces.
Standing apart from the main collection, the museum’s RAM Art Annex houses educational programs and the museum store stocks an inventory of jewelry and glass pieces by local artists. The annual Greenwich Village Art Fair also shares art appreciation with the community. The fair gathers more than 100 artists in an atmosphere filled with live music.
A nonprofit arts-education haven for the community, Rhapsody instructs budding virtuosos and aesthetes of all ages through programs in music, art, drama, and other distinctly cultured pursuits. The artistic equivalent of a superhero brigade, the roster of teachers includes many with master’s degrees in their specialty. Among the classes offered this summer, Songwriters Workshop teaches the basics of setting words to music and digging up repressed emotions about previous-life breakups (ages 13+, $75). Transformational Painting allows adults to conjure their inner oil painter (ages 18+, $115), and tenderfooted thespians can partake in Acting for Little Ones, a confidence-building primer designed to train the future cast of the impending Friends reboot (ages 4–6, $55).
A 7,100-square-foot sculpture garden is only the tip of the iceberg at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. In fact, the garden is also the tip of the museum—it’s on the facility’s roof. Designed by Cesar Pelli, the sprawling building encompasses an eclectic array of modern works, including a 5,000-item permanent collection that incorporates pieces ranging from Frida Kahlo’s works to John Coplans’ black-and-white self portrait, which shows only his feet.
A rotating lineup of temporary exhibits complements the permanent core, and a regular event schedule features films, talks, and performance by masters of their craft. Visitors can browse art books and craft jewelry in the museum store, where all purchases support artists and designers more simply than training to become a muse.