Rockford themed ornaments add hometown memories to your Holiday Tree...J.R.Kortman is open Monday-Friday, 10-6, Saturday, 10-5 and Sunday, 11-5 and Monday, Christmas Eve, 10-6

Christmas tree ornaments not only add color and sparkle to your tree, but they are also nostalgic mementos that connect us to family and friends, and, with Rockford themed ornaments, even your hometown.
Since 1998, J.R. Kortman Center for Design has been designing and selling ornaments featuring Rockford Landmarks. The hand-painted glass ornament collection features images of over twenty different local landmarks like Symbol, Coronado Theatre, East and West High Schools, the YMCA Log Lodge, Anderson Gardens, and St. Anthony Church, just to name a few.
This year, J.R. Kortman has designed and created three new wooden ornaments that each feature images of multiple Rockford landmarks. The new environmental-friendly ornaments are made in Elk Grove Village, Illinois.
“Christmas tree ornaments have always been an important part of holiday tradition because every ornament has a story or memory,” says Doc Slafkosky of J.R. Kortman. “Rockford ornaments are not only about civic pride, but local landmarks also come with special memories, which makes them great gifts for family and friends, and also for those who have moved away.”
“The new wooden ornaments are light weight and durable, so they also make great embellishments for your Christmas gift wrapping,” said Jerry Kortman.
Besides the Rockford Landmark Ornament collection, J.R. Kortman has designed 2-D metal “Symbol” sculptures that not only sit on a table or mantle, but can be hung on the tree. The “Symbols” are made in Rockford at Target Laser.
Also new this year, are colorful, unique “Rockmen Gardians,” miniature versions of the endearing sculptures along the Rock River recreation path, designed and 3-D printed by Rockford artist Steve Nofsinger.
  The Rockford-themed ornaments range in price from $7.50 to $28. The  2-D “Symbol” sculptures come in two sizes costing $12 or $24 and the miniature “Rockmen” are $20. each.
J.R. Kortman Center for Design is located downtown Rockford at 107 North Main St. For more information call 815-968-0123.

JingleBling!...a Holiday Jewelry Shopping Party...First Friday, December 7th, 5:30 to 8pm in the Kortman Gallery benefitting the Rockford Art Museum!

J.R. Kortman invites you to JingleBling!…a holiday Jewelry Shopping Party, upstairs in the Kortman Gallery on First Friday, December 7th, from 5:30 to 8pm. 15% of the proceeds from jewelry sold during the event will benefit the Rockford Art Museum. See the latest designs, many one of a kind pieces that just arrived exclusively for J.R. Kortman from the Pearl markets of Shanghai and Beijing and other exotic locations. Our jewelry fashion consultants (Anita Church, Lisa Jimenez, Jenny Mathews, & Elizabeth Horvath) will be on hand to show and model our exciting, elegant, and festive necklaces, bracelets and earrings that will be great for you to show off this holiday season. And guys, for your holiday gift buying, this is an excellent opportunity to see cool jewelry with the help of our models who can assist you in selecting just the right piece. And best of all, the Kortman Gallery Bar will be open with bartender Dennis Horton serving up some holiday cheer! This is the way to shop!!!

P.S. At the same time you can see “Greetings from Rockford, IL USA” a holiday group exhibition now on display in the Kortman Gallery featuring postcard art created by 22 of some Rockford’s most accomplished artists. J.R. Kortman Center for Design is located at 107 North Main Street in downtown Rockford. For more information call 815-968-0123.


Artists Celebrate Rockford by Creating Postcard Art for Kortman Gallery Exhibition, opening Friday, Nov.16

 “Greetings from Rockford, Illinois USA”

Sending “picture postcards” when traveling was once the standard way of sharing your travel experiences with the folks back home. The internet and social media have almost made the practice obsolete. But, it is still just as exciting to receive a postcard form a friend or loved one from a far-flung destination. 
As Rockford’s tourism industry has grown along with a renewed civic pride, a  demand for local postcards is on the increase. For this reason, the Kortman Gallery is presenting original art works of souvenir postcard designs created by more than twenty local artists in an exhibition called, “Greetings from Rockford, Illinois USA.”
This holiday group exhibition featuring Rockford postcard art opens Friday, November 16th, 5:30 to 10pm.
“In the past few years we have actually seen an uptick in a demand for Rockford postcards,” says Doc Slafkosky, gallery director and co-owner of J.R. Kortman Center for Design. “Visitors and local patrons have shown an interest in sending Rockford-themed postcards to distant family and friends. They use to be available at the corner drugstore, but those days are long gone.”
“We created some postcards of our own to fill the need, however, we thought it would be great for artists who make Rockford their home, to create images that not only represent their view of the city, but also celebrate Rockford’s vibrant, bourgeoning local art community,” says Jerry Kortman.
Patrons will not only be able to purchase the original art works, but also the postcards which can be addressed, stamped and mailed right from the Kortman Gallery.
The exhibition will not only feature the artist’s postcards, but the original works of art created by each of the artists featured in the show. Those artists are  Buddah Barrios & Slope, Sarah Bell, Michael Bugler, Jesus Correa, John Deill, Ingrid Dohm, Fatherless, Lynn Fischer-Carlson, Brian Hierstein, Norm Knott, R. Scott Long, Jeanne Ludeke, Valerie Olafson, Rebecca Downing Pelley, Steve Pitkin, Sarah Reed-McNamara, Steve Nofsinger, Cherri Rittenhouse, Joe Tallman, Alison Weust, Kyle Wolfe, and Betsy Youngquist

“Greetings form Rockford, Illinois USA” opening reception is Friday, November 16th from 5:30 to 10pm and on display through January 5th, 2019. The Kortman Gallery is located upstairs at J. R. Kortman Center for Design, 107 North Main Street in Downtown Rockford. For more information call 815-968-0123 or visit www.jrkortman.com.

Kortman Gallery features works by two artists from Paris’s alternative art space 59 Rivoli: Etsuko Kobayashi & Sebastien Lecca

Parisian artists Etsuko Kobayashi and Sebastien Lecca have an entirely different approach to their art. Painter Kobayashi creates her expressive figurative works on canvas, while conceptual artist Lecca uses the urban landscape to convey his creative vision. But both artist have two things in common: They have had studios at 59 rue de Rivoli in Paris and will be exhibiting their art the Kortman Gallery in Rockford.

The exhibition titled, “59 Rue de Rivoli Revisited” will open Friday, October 5th, ArtScene weekend upstairs in the Kortman Gallery.

59 rue de Rivoli is the address and name of an exciting contemporary arts space in the heart of central Paris that is home to studios of 30 artists. In 1999, the abandoned building was taken over by artists who, controversially, squatted all seven floors. And through their creative energy and persistence, turned the building into one of the most visited contemporary art venues in Paris!

Etsuko Kobayashi, who has maintained a studio there since 2001, has become internationally known for her intriguingly quirky and unparalleled mixed media works. Her art was exhibited in the Kortman  gallery 2004 in an exhibit called “Two Women of 59 Rue de Rivoli” along with Aurelie de la Cadiere.  

Sebastien Lecca, a multi-media conceptual and performance artist, in 2010, created the project, “Awaken the World” (first called "Super Fetus") based on the multidisciplinary repetition of the symbol of the fetus. With this project, through his ubiquitous street art, his imagery became a visual part of the Parisian urban landscape for years. He maintained a studio at “59” until 2017.

“We are so excited to be able to bring the unique and fun works of these two intriguing artists adding an international flavor to the ArtScene and the Kortman Gallery,” says Doc Slafkosky, gallery director. 

“This exhibition will feature small-scaled, accessible art from both of these influential and prolific artists, giving Rockford art patrons a small glimpse into the local contemporary art world in Paris.”

“59 Rue de Rivoli Revisited” opening receptions are from 5:00 to 10pm on Friday, October 5th and 4 to 9pm on Saturday, October 6th. The exhibition will be on display through November 10th. The Kortman Gallery is located upstairs at J. R. Kortman Center for Design, 107 North Main Street in Downtown Rockford. For more information call 815-968-0123 or visit “59 Rivoli” Facebook page.

“On the Other Side: New Works by Carrie Johnson” on exhibit through August 31st in the Kortman Gallery

Rockford Art Museum curator Carrie Johnson has built an exhilarating and challenging career in the art world selecting and installing exhibitions, lecturing about art, and supporting and working with artists. She has now come to a time in her career where she crosses over to the artist side of the art world, culminating with her first solo gallery exhibition. “On the Other Side: New Works by Carrie Johnson” is now on display in the Kortman Gallery in downtown Rockford.

“After being in the art world for so long, I have felt a need to personally express myself creatively,” says Johnson. “I have been fortunate to be around the creative energy of other artists, who not only inspire, but encourage artistic expression. Now I feel like I’m running alongside or falling in with them.” 

Johnson’s bold abstract works are not only visually striking, but have an engaging tactile quality, a result of her use of textural materials blended with paint and other unconventional surfaces.

“My work primarily focuses on composition and texture,” writes Johnson.  “Although there is greater meaning to each mark that is executed, I prefer the viewer form their own narrative about the piece - translate the mark on their own. None of the paintings are organic. Quite the opposite actually. Each gesture is throughly thought out and very deliberate.”

The July 5th Kortman Gallery opening reception for Johnson’s exhibit featured a live performance of ambient music by guitarist Rick Zillhart followed by cool sounds from Dj BISU (aka Erik Olson).

“On the Other Side: New Works by Carrie Johnson” on exhibit through August 31st. The Kortman Gallery is located upstairs at J. R. Kortman Center for Design, 107 North Main Street in Downtown Rockford. For more information call 815-968-0123.

Rockford "Symbol" souvenir is back! Now available at J.R. Kortman in 2 sizes...

This year, “Symbol,” Rockford’s iconic grand sculpture by Alexander Liberman, turns 40! To celebrate, J.R. Kortman brings back the miniature “Symbol” souvenirs…available in two sizes. They’re not only cool mementos of our city, but also function as bookends, objet d’art, or a charming votive stand. And best of all, like “Symbol” itself, made in Rockford, Illinois USA!


Two Artists create remarkable, uncommon sculptural works from ordinary wood in Kortman Gallery exhibit, opening ArtScene weekend April 13th & 14th


Drawing inspiration from childhood storybook characters, nature, and spirituality, Brazilian artist Albino Junior creates remarkable miniature sculptures from wooden matchsticks. These striking and magical works, which Junior refers to as “Arte no Palito,” reveal his uncanny and inspired ability to carve these diminutive and unusual artworks.
    Joe Goral Sr. is a Rockford painter and woodworker, whose woodworking focuses on turned pieces using a lathe and scroll sawn typography. The materials for his work come from downed trees and limbs from around Winnebago county, old skateboards, and leftovers from other woodworking projects.
    Both artists share a unique, creative relationship with wood, and combined with their emotional and spiritual connections to the subject matter, blur the lines between craft and art in an exhibition titled “Into the Wood,” opening ArtScene weekend (April 13-14) in the Kortman Gallery.
    Albino Geovane Vasconcelos Junior, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, believes he has a gift with his unique artistic ability.
    “I have been developing my gift since I was 14 years-old when I suddenly got a match, some paints and glue and made my first sculpture: a small Christ on the Cross,” said Junior. Many people see matches as something disposable that you use only once and then it loses its functionality. I see sculptures using matches, mixing colors, stories and emotions in a few centimeters!”
    “While these sculptures have the peculiar characteristic of being miniature, there is also an incredible variety of detail that amazes and moves a lot of people,” says Kortman Gallery director Doc Slafkosky.
    Joe Goral, Sr. found inspiration from his father about a decade ago.
    “My dad was a huge influence in my initial interest in woodworking. He started building furniture and would suggest types of woodworking that might interest me. Eventually I took a jigsaw and stumbled my way through cutting out a large "J" for my son, Joey Jr. I showed it to him and he suggested I buy a scroll saw,” said Goral.
    “Within a few months, I had made and sold enough work to upgrade to a really nice saw. I cut up everything from old skateboards to very expensive pieces of wood into intricate cursive words. It was and still is a lot of fun.”
    “Into the Wood” featuring sculptural art works by Albino Junior and Joe Goral, Sr. opens Spring ArtScene, Friday, April 13th from 5:00 to 9pm and Saturday, April 14th, 4 to 9pm and will be on display through May 31st. Kortman Gallery is located upstairs at J. R. Kortman Center for Design, 107 North Main Street in Downtown Rockford. For more information call 815-968-0123.