The Deborah Newton Award is a tribute to the incredible journey of a visionary artist. Like Deborah, when she purchased, created, and became chatelain of the 317 Market Street building and its guest gallery, and when she later birthed the idea of what is now known as Rockford Art Scene, the awards inspire new artists and sustain established visual artists…so they might touch others through their work.
The awards —with intention — reflect the two that Deborah herself received, both as a youth and as an active established adult artist:
a Katherine Lord Scholarship for art lessons (in the summer of 1956, between her 7th and 8th grades at Lincoln Junior High School) from the Burpee Museum of Art (now Rockford Art Museum)…a seed sowing experience,
and the first Jessica Holt Purchase Award from Rockford Art Museum (in 1992 while a successful adult artist and advocate in her dreamy skylit studio at 317 Market Street). Her work and inspiration were recognized.
Although the two awards that Deborah received have faded into history, the spirit of the early experience
and established artist recognition will continue for generations.
To honor the life and artistry of Rockford’s own Deborah Newton, and to inspire new young artists and sustain established adult artists, a legacy endowment was established on September 16, 2021 to fund awards that emulate Deborah's own early art making experience and the recognition she received as an adult artist, organizer, and leader. Participation in visual arts is a form of self-expression where the artist not only does "what-they-cannot-do-without" but allows them opportunity to reach others through their work.
The Deborah L Newton Legacy Endowment Fund is held and managed by the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois to serve the Rockford area visual arts community in perpetuity. As the endowment grows, supported by generous donations, so do the annual distributions that fund the awards. The annual distributions from the Endowment to its designated 501(c)3 charitable arts organization — Womanspace of Rockford — enables Womanspace to issue Deborah Newton Awards which provide:
For the purpose of the Deborah Newton Awards, *ROCKFORD AREA is defined as:
Winnebago to the west, Rockton/South Beloit to the north, Belvidere to the east, and New Milford to the south. See map…
TIMELINE FOR BOTH AWARDS:
THE DEBORAH NEWTON 7th/8th GRADE ART MAKING EXPERIENCE AWARD
SUBMISSION OF APPLICATION:
Applicant submissions shall be made electronically using the button below. If you need help, seek assistance from your parents, home room teacher or other school/homeschool representative.
CRITERIA TO APPLY:
ADULT VISUAL ARTIST RECOGNITION AWARD
CRITERIA TO APPLY: