Rockford Rescue Mission opens Performing Arts Center to its recovery residents

ROCKFORD — Eight months ago, Nick Johnson put down the drugs and picked the guitar back up.

He went from being homeless — a product of his drug abuse, he said — to moving into Rockford Rescue Mission, a 24/7 recovery and rehab facility located at 715 W. State St. There, he rediscovered his love for making music.

“God’s given everyone a skill or a talent, but sometimes it’s buried deep down and you have to act out your creativity to discover it,” said Johnson, 21.

Johnson still has some time to go in his treatment at the mission, but now he has a place to hone his God-given musical talent while he’s there. The mission on Friday officially opened the Howard and Lucille D. Dittmar Performing Arts Center.

The 1,250-square-foot facility on the second floor of Rockford Rescue Mission provides a colorful work space for residents of its Life Recovery Program to develop their talent in music, theater, dance and other performing arts. The new center has a recording studio, two private practice areas and an area dedicated to dance. Murals and artwork line the multi-colored walls.

“We want this to be a place where men, women and children can come in and lay their burdens down,” Executive Director Sherry Pitney told the hundreds of people who packed into the creative space Friday to witness the ribbon cutting. “I personally believe the performing arts touches places in our soul that sometimes other things just can’t.”

To read the full article, click here.