Rockford Public Schools will honor four individuals and induct its inaugural class into the RPS 205 Fine Arts Hall of Fame in September. Tickets are on sale now for the dinner and awards program Sept. 10 at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center. This event will launch an annual recognition of graduates who went on to achieve tremendous success in his/her arts field, or educators or advocates who have made a valuable impact on the arts in Rockford Public Schools.
The inductees are: Artist and East High School graduate Tom Heflin; longtime arts educator and advocate Ann Rundall; and performing artists Kevin and Marcel Wilson, alumni of the Creative and Performing Arts program at Auburn High School.
Tom Heflin is a 1954 East High School graduate whose work has been exhibited in Rockford, Tokyo, and almost everywhere in between. He is perhaps most noted for his Midwestern landscape work. Heflin’s art is offered online and can also be seen locally, including Frame Shoppe Gallery in Edgebrook.
Ann Rundall has been a profound advocate of the arts for decades in the Rockford community. Rundall retired from RPS 205 in 2011 after serving the district as the Multicultural/Arts Curriculum Coordinator, Director of Professional Development and Principal at Haskell Year-Round Academy. Rundall also worked as the education director for the Rockford Area Arts Council and won the 2000 Illinois Art Education Association Administrator and Supervisor of the Year. “Ann always was aware of the need to provide professional development to the teachers of the fine arts, and we benefited greatly from her insight,” Jefferson art teacher Gail Zernia said.
The Auburn High School Creative and Performing Arts magnet program (CAPA) shaped careers for dancers and choreographers Kevin and Marcel Wilson. Marcel Wilson graduated from Auburn in 1994; Kevin graduated in 1996. Together, they have built a brand: Mister Wilson Entertainment. Their resumes include performances with Madonna, Beyonce and Janet Jackson, and Broadway musical appearances in “The Lion King” and “Guys and Dolls.” Kevin Wilson has been associate choreographer for "So You Think You Can Dance," and Marcel has been co-choreographer for the "Wayne Brady Show."
“Their success is incredible, but it’s also not surprising,” said Barbara Johnson, who was their dance teacher in middle school. “What sticks in my mind is how, at such a young age, they were able to creatively approach any project that I assigned to them. They approached everything in a unique and clever way, and they were also always able to accept constructive criticism and use it to improve.”
Event tickets are $40 per person or $320 for a table of eight. Social hour begins at 5 p.m. Dinner is at 6:30 p.m.; inductions are at 7 p.m. Follow this link for tickets: https://il-rockford.intouchreceipting.com. After creating an account and logging in, click on “Items At All Schools,” “District Office,” “District Administration,” “Events,” “District Fine Arts Awards.”