Arts & Entertainment

NLI’s ‘Seasons on the Land’ Celebrates Nature, Art


Celebrate our area’s rich wildlife at this special benefit for the Natural Land Institute. Discover how you can submit art or join in the fun.

Turning Fall, by Barbara Berney

Nature lovers and artists are sure to enjoy Seasons on the Land, an art show and benefit for the Natural Land Institute (NLI) on Thursday, Nov. 1, from 5 to 9 p.m., and Friday, Nov. 2, from 6 to 11 p.m.

This two-day event in Rockford’s historic Prairie Street Brewhouse will celebrate our connection to the earth, the land and those things that inhabit it. Three distinct art forms will be featured: a fine art and photography exhibit, a gallery of artisan-made objects and a “people’s choice” nature photography contest. Seasons on the Land is a chance for artists, artisans and the public to explore the land in both natural and agricultural settings. Tickets for the event are $25 per person in advance and $30 at the door. The ticket price includes two days’ admission, a beverage, appetizers and entertainment.

All pieces included in the fine art and photography gallery will celebrate the land in all seasons of the year. Artists from all over the country are submitting their original paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, ceramics, fiber and glass works. Fine art and photos on display will be for sale; 70 percent of sales go to the artists, 30 percent to NLI.

Awards for fine art and photography will be given for Best of Show ($500), First Place 2-D ($250), First Place 3-D ($250) and First Place Photography ($250). Jerry Kortman and Doc Slafkosky, owners of Kortman Gallery in downtown Rockford, will serve as judges. Results will be announced the first night of the event.

Artisan-made objects that celebrate the land will be on display in an adjacent gallery. All artists over the age of 18 are invited to exhibit their work of original concept, design and execution. Original handmade objects in all materials – both natural and man-made, including fabric, fiber, glass, metal, wood, ceramics, found objects and materials – are eligible. All proceeds from the sale of artisan objects will go directly to the artisans.

All photographers – amateur and professional alike – are invited to submit their best shots to the People’s Choice Photography Contest. These photos highlight the wide variety of wild areas that the Natural Land Institute has helped to protect over the past 54 years. The Natural Land Institute has selected 13 different preserves for photographers to explore. Participating photographers may submit up to five photos to be included in the contest. Attendees of Seasons on the Land will vote for their favorite photo; the photo that receives the most votes will win a $100 cash prize. For a complete list of contest guidelines and a list of preserves included in this contest, contact NLI at (815) 964-6666 or visit

The Prairie Street Brewhouse, located on the banks of the Rock River in downtown Rockford, provides the perfect backdrop for this first-time art show. The building first opened in the 1850s as the Peacock Brewery and later became known as Rockford Brewing Company. Operations ceased during the Prohibition era and the owners transitioned the building into a cold-storage facility, using the refrigeration equipment that was still in place from the brewery. Brewing operations resumed for a short time after Prohibition, but didn’t last long. The building was used for various commercial enterprises until 2009, when the brewhouse was opened for special events. A full renovation of the event space followed in early 2011. In January 2012, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Musician Miles Nielsen will provide the musical entertainment on Friday evening from 8 to 11 p.m. He’ll stir up his own brand of pop-rock mixed with sunny melodies and nice country-folk feel. When he’s not playing with his own ensemble – “Miles Nielsen and the Rusted Hearts” – he plays bass with Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons.

Signature drinks will be sold at the event, with a portion of the proceeds going to NLI. They include Winter Cider, made with Death’s Door organic vodka, sour apple schnapps, cranberry juice and cinnamon stick garnish; Spring Peach Rosemary Mimosa made with champagne, peach schnapps, organge juice and fresh rosemary garnish; Summer Dill Cucumber Cooler, made with gluten-free Chopin potato vodka, muddled fresh cucumber, lime juice, a squeeze of agave nectar and fresh baby dill; and Fall Sangria, made with seasonal fruits soaked in red wine, garnished with fresh cranberries.

The NLI is a nonprofit land conservation organization based in Rockford. Its mission is to create an enduring legacy of natural land for people, plants and animals. Since 1958, NLI has helped to preserve more than 16,000 acres of land in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.

For ticket information, registration information for artists, photographers and artisans, and registration information for the People’s Choice Photography Contest, contact NLI at (815) 964-6666 or visit for full information and guidelines. All entry applications in the fine art, photography and artisan objects categories will be juried by local artist Carol Jacobs.

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