“Old Bag,” an exhibition of new works by Valerie Olafson opens October 9 & 10 in Kortman Gallery

 Rockford artist Valerie Olafson has reached another milestone in her life. In April she turned sixty years old. And as she starts a new decade in her life, Olafson has created an exhibition of her newest photographs in the Kortman Gallery, opening Friday & Saturday, October 9th and 10th

       The exhibition, titled “Old Bag” is the third in a series of photography shows she has exhibited in the Kortman Gallery…the first in 2000 when she turned forty, and the second in 2010 when she turned 50.

      “These new works in this exhibit represent layers of thought,” said Olafson. “My photographs are not only about the women I’ve chosen as models who inspire me, but the great photographers that have influenced me throughout my career as an artist.”
Olafson’s images all feature Rockford women as models, each holding an old bag, or purse.
       “My models posed with old bags, and now that I’ve turned sixty, I am an ‘old bag’!” Olafson quipped, making reference to her exhibition title. 
        “Each photograph represents different aspects of my personality and different stages of my life…and I changed course often, said Olafson. “When you look at the images I hope you catch a glimpse of Beaton, Penn, Weegee, ManRay, Avedon, Liebovitz, Mapplethorpe, Arbus, or Mann. These are the great photographers that have inspired my career and each of the photographs in this show.”
      According to gallery director Doc Slafkosky, the photographs featured in Olafson’s exhibit  are framed by artist Jeremy Klonicki of Mainfraim and will also be available on line. 
     “The gallery will be open as usual with a limited capacity, but you can also see and purchase Valerie’s photographs at on our online store when you visit: 


or the J.R. Kortman Facebook page,” Slafkosky said.

      “Old Bag” exhibition of new photographs by Valerie Olafson in the Kortman Gallery premiers on October 9th and 10th from 3 to 9pm on Friday and 11am to 5pm on Saturday. Masks will be required for entry and restricted to limited number of patrons at a time in the store and gallery. Outside tables will be available weather permitting. 
        The gallery is located upstairs at J. R. Kortman Center for Design, 107 North Main Street in Downtown Rockford. The exhibit will run through November 14th. For more information call 815-968-0123 

The convergance of art & design: J.R. Kortman Center for Design...107 North Main, Downtown Rockford

"Modern Design: The freedom to mix, to choose, to change." Explore J.R Kortman Center for Design Tuesday-Friday, 11am to 6pm & Saturdays, 11am to 5pm. Now on exhibit upstairs in the Kortman Gallery..."Eye to Eye:Here's Looking at You" featuring the works of Rockford artist, Norm Knott & Door County (Wisc.) artist, David Franke.

To visit our online store click on the link below:


Celebrate 815 Day 2020 with Rockford keepsakes from J.R. Kortman Center for Design!

On 815 Day (August 15th only), we will be offering 8.15% OFF on all purchases (excluding art).
Also, customers whose purchases total $25.00 or more will receive a FREE Rockford Souvenir sticker!
Discover great Rockford Keepsakes & Souvenirs exclusively designed and created for J.R. Kortman Center for Design.
Enjoy your hometown, Downtown! Shop, Eat, Drink & Celebrate!
Visit our online store...

J.R. Kortman's new online store is now open for business!

J.R. Kortman's new online store is now available for you to browse and make purchases of a limited selection items. We are able to provide curbside service, free local home delivery in the immediate Rockford area, or have your online purchases gift wrapped (by request) and ready for you to pickup in our store. We can arrange for shipping anywhere (standard rates apply). Our online store is designed to give you a sampling of some of the things we have available, however, for the best shopping experience, we invite you to explore and enjoy our store & gallery in person...

Visit our online store! Just click the link below:

J.R Kortman Center for Design is now OPEN Tues-Fri, 11-6, Sat, 11-5....also visit our online store!

J.R. Kortman Center for Design open:
Tuesday – Friday, 11am-6pm
Saturday, 11-5pm
Enjoy shopping in a safe and comfortable socially distanced environment. We will be complying with all of the City of Rockford’s guidelines for small retail businesses.
We are so looking forward to seeing you soon!
Visit our online store! Just click the link below:

J.R. Kortman now OPEN for curbside pickups or local home deliveries Wednesday thru Saturdays, 1-5pm or anytime by appointment!

Starting Wednesday, May 6th, J.R. Kortman Center for Design will be open for curbside pick-up from 1-5pm Wednesday through Saturday! We know that Mother’s Day,  birthdays, anniversaries, and other occasions for gift giving go on!
    Let us be your personal shoppers! Check out J.R. Kortman Center for Design on Facebook or our #jrkortman on Instagram for gift ideas.  Besides our “store hours,” we can also be available anytime by appointment for curbside pickup or local home delivery. You can text 815-540-7187 to request purchases and delivery options…and we can gift wrap!
    Don’t forget you can buy a J.R.Kortman eGift Card on line, by clicking the link below. We are also participating in Rockford Art Deli’s T-shirt promotion “HereForGoodRKFD.” When you purchase a J.R. Kortman designed T-shirt from RAD, we get 40% of the proceeds…which is helpful in theses challenging times. There’s also a ink below where you can order a shirt online.
Hope you all stay safe and well!
Warmest regards,
J.R. Kortman eGift Card link:https://squareup.com/gift/KY1M23Q2N1Q25/order?external_source=postoffice-egift-widget&external_token=aJONaSBq6MAh1nIL
Order T-Shirt here: https://rockfordartdeli.com/products/j-r-kortman-center-for-design

Store telephone: 815-968-0123

eGift Cards now available from J.R. Kortman...just click the link below!


J. R. Kortman Center for Design
A gift for tomorrow...
 Send a digital gift card in any amount you choose to your friends, family, or yourself! 

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J. R. Kortman Center for Design 
107 North Main Street, ROCKFORD, IL, 61101

Artists Franke & Knott connected by an eye on spirituality and imagination in Kortman Gallery on exhibit thru March 31st

When Rockford artist Norm Knott and Door County artist David Franke met, there was an immediate connection, not only with the visual imagery in their work, but also the inspiration behind the engaging pieces they create. They both see the world around them through a spiritual lens that is reflected in their work…both using the eye as a visual theme in many of their pieces.
    The two artists come together in the exhibition, “Eye to Eye: Here’s Looking at You” opening Friday February 7th, 5:30 to 9pm in the Kortman Gallery in downtown Rockford.
    “I look at the eye from the  inside out,” said Franke. “Many people look into the eyes to see your soul, your essence…I’m using my eyes to see my world, and interpret my world.”
    Frank, who lives near Egg Harbor, Wisconsin, creates quirky, eye-catching interactive sculptures and assemblages often with the eye as the focus of the piece.
    It was former Rockford gallerist Charlene Berg who introduced David Franke to Norm Knott while visiting her Gallery X, now in Door County.
    “She immediately saw not only the visual connection in our work, but also our like minded inspiration in our art,” said Knott. “Our work is very different, but their is a definite visual and spiritual connection with our art.”
    It’s this connection that motivated Kortman Gallery director Doc Slafkosky to invite the artists to exhibit together in this two-person show.
    “Eye to Eye” will feature Knott’s personal, wearable art along with his “Normaments,” a term Knott coined to describe his pieces that you could also refer to as “table jewelry.”
    Franke will be exhibiting be small scale sculptural assemblages and mixed media works that he has become known for in the Door County art scene.
    “Eye to Eye: Here’s Looking at You,” featuring the 3-Dimensional, and mixed media works by David Franke & Norm Knott opens First Friday, February 7th, with an artists’ reception from 5:30 to 9 pm in the Kortman Gallery, located upstairs at J. R. Kortman Center for Design, 107 North Main Street in Downtown Rockford. The exhibit will run through March 31st. For more information call 815-968-0123.