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Arkansas Heritage Month – LR Mayor Brickhouse and a Municipal Auditorium
In anticipation of the November 2016 reopening of Robinson Center Music Hall, this week’s Arkansas Heritage Month entries look at seven Little Rock Mayors who worked on proposals for a municipal auditorium between 1904 and 1940.
Former Alderman Ben D. Brickhouse took office as mayor in April 1919. As an alderman, he had been party to the discussions and hand-wringing over the existing “temporary” auditorium, which was twelve years old at the time. In June 1920, he and the City Council authorized City Engineer James Rice to have the building demolished. (Rice’s grandson Jim Rice is an integral member of the team overseeing the restoration of Robinson Center Music Hall.)
On what seemed to be an annual basis, Brickhouse entertained options for a new municipal auditorium. Sometimes it would be private groups, on at least one occasion, Mayor Brickhouse himself led the effort. Funding and location always seemed to be stumbling blocks. Arkansas law forbade the use of public dollars on an auditorium, so the money would have to be raised privately. Few private entities had the money for this type of project. Another temporary auditorium had been proposed for City Park (now MacArthur Park), but aldermen balked at the expense for a temporary building.
During the Brickhouse administration, the Hotel Marion was the main site for conventions. The auditorium at the Little Rock High School (later East Side Junior High) was used frequently for performances.
Mayor Brickhouse worked behind the scenes to have the Arkansas General Assembly pass legislation to allow for the creation of an auditorium taxing district, much like a street improvement district. In May 1925 Little Rock voters would be given the chance to approve this. But Brickhouse would not be mayor by the time that election came around. He was defeated in his bid for a fourth term and left office in April 1925.
Ben D. Brickhouse did return to public service in 1938, when he was elected to the Arkansas General Assembly. He was reelected in 1940 and died in June 1941.
Arkansas Heritage Month – LR Mayor Taylor and a Municipal Auditorium
In anticipation of the November 2016 reopening of Robinson Center Music Hall, this week’s Arkansas Heritage Month entries look at seven Little Rock Mayors who worked on proposals for a municipal auditorium between 1904 and 1940.
Charles Taylor became Little Rock’s mayor in April 1911. He inherited the temporary auditorium that was already showing signs of wear and tear after four years. Throughout the eight years he was in office, he and the City Council wrestled with the question of what to do about the auditorium.
Time and time again, there would be calls to tear the building down. Its proximity to the 1913 fire station was causing the insurance rates on that building to be increased. It was viewed as structurally unsound and had outlived its useful life. However, without that building, there would be no public space for conventions and community meetings. While the Hotel Marion offered convention facilities in its ballroom, it did not necessarily lend itself to trade shows. In addition, as a private entity, it was able to set its own rules without necessary regard to the general public.
A 1913 proposal by planner John Nolen had called for an auditorium to be built on a new plaza area near City Hall. Due to funding issues, that plan never gained traction, despite repeated attempts by its backers to push for it.
At the time he left office in April 1919, Mayor Taylor had still not been able to solve the problem of a municipal auditorium.
Arkansas Heritage Month – LR Mayor Lenon and a Municipal Auditorium
In anticipation of the November 2016 reopening of Robinson Center Music Hall, this week’s Arkansas Heritage Month entries look at seven Little Rock Mayors who worked on proposals for a municipal auditorium between 1904 and 1940.
In 1904, Little Rock Mayor W. E. Lenon first proposed that Little Rock construct at municipal auditorium. After considering some options, he decided it would be easiest to build it in conjunction with a new City Hall and Jail. In 1906 plans proceeded in that direction until a lawsuit by J.N. Heiskell to stop it. Following a judge’s ruling that a municipal auditorium was not deemed a proper use for public monies, the City changed course and constructed only a City Hall and Jail (sans auditorium) at the corner of Markham and Broadway. This building opened in 1908.
In 1906, the City gave permission to a private developer to build a temporary auditorium (which also served as a roller skating rink when the chairs were removed) adjacent to the City Hall site. This opened in 1907.
Mayor Lenon left office in 1908. He would later chair a committee involved in an auditorium proposal in 1925, but that one would come to naught, as well. However, he planted the seed and started the public discourse which lasted for 36 years.
Under the Lights raises the barre for Ballet Arkansas
Ballet Arkansas’ 2015-16 season concludes with the concert Under the Lights, currently on stage at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre through Sunday, May 22. In what has become a hallmark of Artistic Director Michael Bearden’s leadership, it offers an eclectic mix of styles of dance and music which not only highlight the strengths of the dancers, but also allow the dancers to push themselves in new directions.
The concert takes its name from Chris Stuart’s Under the Lights, which is set to the music of Johnny Cash. Created for Nashville Ballet, this piece receives its Arkansas premiere just one hour north of Cash’s birthplace in Kingsland. Being the scion of a longtime Cleveland County family, I grew up listening to Cash’s music. I approached this piece with a great deal of excitement, but also wondering exactly how ballet would meld with Cash. The answer is, they fuse very well.
Ballet is, at its heart, about expression. So are Cash’s songs. At Ballet Arkansas’ performances, the songs are performed live by Sugar + the Hi-Lows, which played them in the premiere. The central dancer, in black of course, is Toby Lewellen. He does not try to mimic Cash in any way, but instead combines lyricism and athleticism as he leads the company in “Walk the Line.” He and Amanda Sewell partner nicely on the piece’s penultimate song, “I’ve Got You Covered.
Deanna Karlheim and Paul Tillman perform a pas de deux to “Ring of Fire” which captures the raw longing of that song. Megan Hustel leads the company in a poignant “Hurt.”
After all the emotions of the piece, it ends in the joyous “Jackson” which allows each of the dancers a moment to showcase their talents. This is no balletic hoedown with forced folksiness; it is a true “let down your hair” moment of release for the dancers at the end of the piece and of the concert.
The concert starts with George Balanchine’s Glinka Pas de Trois which featured Justin Rustle, Megan Hustel and Lauren Bodenheimer at Friday evening’s performance. This 1955 piece requires the dancers to show not only classical ballet training, but also speed and subtle movements which are more inspired by modern dance. The three dancers perform alone and in various combinations. Intricate and challenging, the three dancers were up to the task.
Harrison McEldowney’s Group Therapy was an audience favorite. The four couples portrayed different sets of phobias, neuroses, or other problems. Set to pop standards of the 1930s and 1940s, each couple got a chance to display not only dancing prowess, but also a flair for comedy. In “Treat Me Rough” thankfully Toby Lewellen and Lynsie Ogden were not called upon to actually abuse each other that in this enlightened day would not be funny. But they aptly captured the on-again, off-again status of some couples with a comic edge. Justin Rustle’s uptight “Mr. Clean” was paired with Meredith Loy in a pas de deux set to Gershwin’s “Embraceable You” which was both witty but also filled with longing as Loy tried to break through Rustle’s veneer. His expert lift work was on display throughout the piece.
Megan Hustel dances not only with Tony Sewer but also with a peripatetic cigarette. She constantly hides it from Sewer in a movement that never stops throughout the number. Sewer gets his chance to shine in a response to her, which is infused with equal parts jazz and ballet. Narcolepsy has never been so funny as when danced by Paul Tillman and Amanda Sewell in “Narcoleptic.” Sewell goes limp in a variety of poses while Tillman tries to keep her up. This creates opportunities to show the gracefulness and strength of both dancers as Sewell sweeps and Tillman juggles her throughout the number.
The evening also contained two world premieres. The first, (e)motions by Ilya Kozadayev, was the winner of the 2015 Visions choreography contest. Featuring three couples, it was abstract and athletic. Yet each couple created a connection as they partnered. Deanna Karlheim and Paul Tillman, Meredith Loy and Toby Lewellen, and Lynsie Ogden and Tony Sewer, were definitely put through the paces on this piece.
Kiyon Gaines’ Memoryhaus was at its best when it created stark pictures whether it was Amanda Sewell alone in a spotlight, Paul Tillman approaching Deanna Karlheim, or the entire company dancing in unison. Its style is a blend of classical and modern, which is matched by the music of Max Richter.
Ballet Arkansas continues to be a company on the move. Less than a decade ago, the company was on life support existing to produce The Nutcracker in December. Now it is firmly establishing itself as an innovative member of Arkansas’ arts scene with a resident company which tours throughout the state. Not content to be a mediocre provincial dance troupe, Artistic Director Michael Bearden has programmed work that explores the depth and breadth of the ballet world and brings it to Arkansas.
The fact that the company has been granted permission to perform Balanchine selections two years in a row is no accident. It is a testament to the vision and hard work of Bearden and the dancers. Ballet Mistress Laura Hood Babcock and Production & Company Manager Erin Anson-Ellis aid Bearden in this effort. It is exciting to have seen dancers return over several seasons and have the opportunity to dance a variety of styles. Under the Lights is the culmination of a great deal of hard work, not only for the rehearsal process this season, but also for the company over several years.
GREEK FESTIVAL TODAY AND TOMORROW
Arkansas Heritage Month – On Armed Forces Day visit the City of Little Rock’s MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History
Today is Armed Forces Day. It is a good day to visit Little Rock’s museum devoted to Arkansas’ military heritage. Located in the historic Arsenal Tower in MacArthur Park, the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History honors the Arkansans who have served in the armed forces. Exhibits feature artifacts, photographs, weapons, documents, uniforms and other military items that vividly portray Arkansas’s military history at home and abroad.
The exhibits include:
From Turbulence to Tranquility: The Little Rock Arsenal
Capital In Crisis and Celebration: Little Rock and the Civil War
Alger Cadet Gun
David Owen Dodd
Through the Camera’s Eye: The Allison Collection of World War II Photographs
By the President in the Name of Congress: Arkansas’ Medal of Honor Recipients
Conflict and Crisis: The MacArthur- Truman Controversy
Duty, Honor and Country: General Douglas MacArthur
The Sun Never Sets on the Mighty Jeep: The Jeep During World War II
War and Remembrance: The 1911 United Confederate Veterans Reunion
First Call – American Posters of World War I
Undaunted Courage, Proven Loyalty: Japanese American Soldiers in World War II
Vietnam, America’s Conflict
The MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History is a museum of the City of Little Rock. It is led by executive director Stephan McAteer who works with the MacArthur Military History Museum Commission. The museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 9am to 4pm, Saturday from 10am to 4pm and Sunday from 1pm to 4pm.
Arkansas Heritage Month – The architecture of AIA/ALA award winning CALS libraries by Polk Stanley Wilcox
To encourage excellence in the architectural design and planning of libraries, the AIA and the American Library Association/Library Administration and Management Association created this award to distinguish accomplishments in library architecture. In 2011 and again in 2015, Polk Stanley Wilcox won the award for projects designed for the Central Arkansas Library System.
AIA ALA PSW ASIThe 2011 award went to for work on the Arkansas Studies Institute. This actually combines three buildings of three different centuries and construction types into one architectural timeline, evoking imagery of pages of an opening book.
The Arkansas Studies Institute is a repository for 10 million historic documents and the papers of seven Arkansas Governors, including President Bill Clinton. Located in a thriving entertainment district comprised of rejuvenated warehouses near the Arkansas River, the design combines significant, but neglected buildings from the 1880’s and 1910’s with a new technologically expressive archive addition. This creates a pedestrian focused, iconic gateway to the public library campus – and the public face of Arkansas history.
The design philosophy is based literally on the book – a physical container of information, with pages flowing into a site-sensitive narrative of the building’s function. Taking cues from the medium for which the Institute was created, the entrance acts as an abstract book cover, pulled away from the building as a double wall, defusing western sunlight and heat in the atrium beyond.
Public Spaces – galleries, a café, museum, and meeting rooms – enliven streetscape storefronts, while the great library research hall encompasses the entire second floor of the 1914 warehouse building. A thin atrium pulls the new structure away to protect the old, stretching the building’s length and flooding all levels with light – a key sustainable strategy. 100 historic images in glass handrails signify that architecture can and should actively engage in storytelling. Suspended bridges span the gap between new and old, open and secure, today and yesterday.
The Arkansas Studies Institute weaves history, research, pedestrians, and a restored streetscape together, healing a gaping wound in the urban fabric, while expanding environmental stewardship into the public realm and serving as a beacon of knowledge.
AIA ALA PSW HRCCLCIn 2015, the award went to PSW for their work on the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center.
Based on experiential learning where hands-on education teaches life skills needed to become responsible adults, a new Children’s Library and Learning Center boosts hopes for a neglected neighborhood, serves as an exemplary tale of urban renewal, and acts as a beacon of hope for an entire city.
This “community embedded, supportive learning center” offers not only books, but also a performance space, teaching kitchen, greenhouse, vegetable garden, and an arboretum. It is the state’s first library holistically imagined as a children’s education destination. The Library Director’s challenge was to create a “playground without equipment” where nature and imagination create grand adventures on an abandoned six acre site in the heart of the capital city. A charrette with youth uncovered a surprising and heartbreaking result: their top desire wasn’t for the latest video game technologies… it was food security. They wanted to learn how to feed themselves. Children also desired a place that was uplifting, inspirational and full of natural light, while in contrast feeling safe, secure, and sheltered. They wanted a place that “lifted expectations”.
An interstate highway—the railroad tracks of our generation—split Little Rock 40 years ago and destroyed a unified city grid, contributing to racial and socioeconomic divisions that separated citizens physically and emotionally. The site’s border condition became a national symbol for gang violence when featured in a 1990’s HBO documentary. Its opposite side, however, continued to be the city’s version of New York City’s Central Park—the place to live, work, and play. The design team’s overarching idea was centered on three moves: bridge the gap by stretching the park across the highway, create a library that is “the place to be” for all children, and develop civic pride in an underserved neighborhood, helping to mend partitions that have plagued the city for so long.
Landscape ecology and urban connectivity themes provide experiential education. Children see natural vegetation representing the state’s varied ecological regions from the Ozark Highlands to the Mississippi Delta. Two bus lines within a quarter mile assure access from distances, while the hundreds of children living within a half mile can walk or bike. An instructional greenhouse, gardens, and teaching kitchen allow children to cultivate, harvest, prepare meals, and sell produce in a planned farmer’s market. A full time ‘Environmental Educator’ oversees programs, teaching proper use of water, energy, and resources, and how we keep healthy through decisions made within the built environment. The lobby’s smart monitors can display real time water and energy consumption. Mechanical and structural systems are purposefully exposed so operations and construction methods can be discussed.
While this Library exceeded expectations by achieving LEED Gold, the true measure of success beyond points is the neighborhood’s feel, which shifted from dangerous to full of life and pride. The library is a safe zone and home to a sustainable-minded community.
Arkansas Heritage Month – Celebrities and Celebrations open Arkansas Arts Center on On Saturday, May 18, 1963, amidst fanfare and fans of the arts, the Arkansas Arts Center officially opened its doors. (This was thirty-five years and three days after the Fine Arts Club had opened the first permanent art gallery in Arkansas in the Pulaski County Courthouse).
The dedication ceremonies on May 18 featured U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright (who was in the midst of championing what would soon be known as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts), Congressman Wilbur Mills, Governor Orval Faubus, Little Rock Mayor Byron Morse, Winthrop Rockefeller and Jeanette Rockefeller.
On Friday, May 17, 1963, film star Gordon MacRae performed two separate concerts in the theatre space. There were other assorted small events and tours on May 16 and 17.
The culmination of the weekend was the Beaux Arts Bal. This black tie event, featured Oscar winner Joan Fontaine, cartoonist Charles Addams (creator of The Addams Family), James Rorimer of the Metropolitan Museum, and Dave Brubeck. Chaired by Jeane Hamilton, the event set a new standard for events in Little Rock.
Among the exhibits at the Arkansas Arts Center for the grand opening was a special exhibit from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York entitled Five Centuries of European Painting. In Little Rock for six months, this exhibit featured works by El Greco, Titian, Claude Monet, Odilon Redon, Pierre Renoir, Paul Signac, Edgar Degas, and Paul Gauguin among many others and spanned from the fifteenth century Early Renaissance era to the nineteenth century.
Prior to the opening, a profile on the Arts Center in The Christian Science Monitor touted the building as one of the first regional arts centers in the country to be completed. Benefiting from national ties of the Rockefeller family, the events in May 1963, set a high standard for the institution, and for other regional art museums.
Bargain deal tickets?
Little Rock Look Back: Elvis in his final Robinson Auditorium Show
After two visits in 1955 where he was down on the bill, Elvis Presley made his third and final appearance at Robinson Auditorium on May 16, 1956. This time he was the star and Robinson was packed. The tickets were $1.50 in advance at Walgreens and $2.00 at the box office.
The ads featured 8 great acts in “his” variety show which consisted of the Jordonaires; Rick and Emil Flaim and their orchestra; vocalists Frankie Conners and Jackie Little and comedian-magician Phil Maraquin. A second show was added at 9:30 p.m. to accommodate the ticket demand.
About 30 minutes late, due to a missed flight, Elvis appeared on stage in a purple blazer and started singing “Heartbreak Hotel.” The crowd rushed the stage. Little Rock police officers were able to control them eventually and get the teenagers back to their seats. While the crowd was impressed, the police officers were less so. One of the patrolmen told the Arkansas Gazette reporter: “I wouldn’t know him if I saw him. And I wouldn’t be here unless I was being paid.”
Disc jockey Ray Green recorded the concert that night. Copies of the concert on CD (which also includes an interview with Presley) are prized possessions of Presley collectors.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has a special section on its website containing quotes from some of the concert attendees.
Arkansas Heritage Month – Cannes Critics Loving Jeff Nichols’ LOVING Film
The early reviews are starting to come in from the Cannes screening of Little Rock native (and Central High grad) Jeff Nichols’ latest opus LOVING.
The film screened on Monday in Cannes. Oscar buzz has already started for the film, Nichols and his performers.
Here is what some of the critics had to say:
Vox says that the film’s: “subdued tone delivers a wealth of emotions in the film’s final minutes.” It also declares “Loving is a period piece that feels eerily relevant today.”
“In an impressive body of work accumulated over the past 10 years, Jeff Nichols has emerged as a skilled filmmaker who relishes in the poetry of Southern life. It was only a matter of time of time before he explored its history. With “Loving,” the director moves from the combination of otherworldly lyricism and genre storytelling in “Take Shelter,” “Mud” and “Midnight Special” toward more conventional drama — namely, the backstory of Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 Civil Rights case that overturned laws against interracial marriage. — by exploring the intimate details behind its legacy.”
And also credits “Nichols’ elegant screenplay, which pares down the events so that the emphasis is taken off the legal proceedings and avoids any overdone speechifying.”
loving-teaser-posterVariety calls the movie “a film of utmost sensitivity” and declares, “Though it will inevitably factor heavily in year-end Oscar conversations, Nichols’ film is seemingly less interested in its own glory than in representing what’s right.”
The Hollywood Reporter opines: “writer-director Jeff Nichols takes an appealingly low-key approach to an important American civil rights story in Loving.” It also praises his “way of underplaying racism, even as he firmly notes its constant presence in daily life and makes it the overriding subject of his film, is refreshing as well as rare in the realm of socially conscious cinema,indicating a respect for his audience’s intelligence and a desire not to hit viewers over the head.”
THR concludes its review by stating “Nichols has delivered a timely drama that, unlike most films of its type, doesn’t want to clobber you with its importance. It just tells its story in a modest, even discreet way that well suits the nature of its principal characters.”
The Daily Beast notes “An anguished, but low-key, meditation on race—American’s ongoing obsession—Loving is the most high-minded sort of Oscar bait.”
In The Telegraph, Robbie Collins declares that Nichols “calmly dodges every expectation you have for the genre. Loving is short on grandstanding and hindsight, long on tenderness and honour, and sticks carefully to the historical record.” He also says that, “The film’s determination not to overcook any single scene means the tears it eventually draws feel honestly come by.”
While Cannes tries to focus on art and not awards or commercialism, the positive early reviews for Loving, coupled with Focus Features’ November release date, should poise the film for awards season in late 2016 and early 2017. More importantly, this will continue to raise the profile of Jeff Nichols, who continues to make Little Rock proud.
Thank you for that information on the high school!! I have actually taken some photos of the architectural details in the past just because I thought it was pretty, but hearing that history makes it even more interesting!
Co-Leader, Little Rock Sparkers
Arkansas Heritage Month – The Architecture of Little Rock Central High School
Architecture is often overlooked when considering the arts, but it is definitely an art form.
Built in 1927 as Little Rock Senior High School, Central was named “America’s Most Beautiful High School” by the American Institute of Architects. The New York Times called it the most expensive high school built at the time.
Designed as a mix of Art Deco and Collegiate Gothic architectural styles, the building is two city blocks long and includes 150,000 square feet of floor space. The project involved most of Little Rock’s leading architects who were still practicing at the time: John Parks Almand, George H. Wittenberg and Lawson L. Delony, Eugene John Stern, and George R. Mann. Over the years, different architects would take credit for various facets of the building. Given the size of the project, there was plenty of work for each architect to do.
More than 36 million pounds of concrete and 370 tons of steel went into the building’s construction. The building contained 150,000 square feet of floor space, upon its completion. Requiring 36 million pounds of concrete and 370 tons of steel, the finished product consisted of 1It cost $1.5 million to construct in 1927. The school received extensive publicity upon its opening. An article in the Arkansas Gazette said, “we have hundreds of journalists in our fair city for the dedication” of the new high school.
At its construction, the auditorium seated 2,000 people between a main level and a balcony. The stage was sixty feet deep and 160 feet long so that it could be used gymnasium. From 1927 until the opening of Robinson Auditorium in 1940, the auditorium would be Little Rock’s main site for hosting performances by musical and theatrical groups.
Subsequent additions would include a separate gymnasium, a library, and a football stadium. In 1953 the school’s name was changed to Little Rock Central High School, in anticipation of construction of a new high school for students, Hall High School.
In 1977, the school was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1982. These were in recognition of desegregation events which took place in the school in 1957.
In 1998, President William Jefferson Clinton signed legislation designating the school and visitor center across the street as a National Historic Site to “preserve, protect, and interpret for the benefit, education, and inspiration of present and future generations…its role in the integration of public schools and the development of the Civil Rights movement in the United States.”
Little Rock Look Back: J V Satterfield
On May 14, 1902, future Little Rock Mayor John Vines Satterfield, Jr. was born in Marion. He grew up in Little Rock and Earle. J.V. was a star quarterback for the Earle football team and is featured in a painting of that team by respected painter Carroll Cloar.
Following high school, J.V. taught (including, much to his family’s amusement, a course in penmanship) and coached and sold Fords. He then moved to Little Rock and sold insurance and later securities. In 1931 he opened his own business; that same year he built a house at 40 Beverly Place in Little Rock, which would serve as his home until his death.
J. V. Satterfield was elected to serve as Mayor of Little Rock in 1939 and served one term, until 1941. He was credited with saving the City from bankruptcy because of his fiscal policies. Among his efficiencies were the creation of a central purchasing office and using grass moved from the airport to feed the Zoo animals. Though as a private citizen he had voted against the creation of a municipal auditorium in 1937, Mayor Satterfield fought valiantly to ensure that Robinson Auditorium opened to the public once he took office. Shortly after he became Mayor, it was discovered that there were not sufficient funds to finish the construction. After the federal government refused to put in more money, he was able to negotiate with some of the contractors to arrange for the building to be completed. He also oversaw a successful special election to raise the money to finish the project.
Satterfield was a staunch supporter of the airport and worked to expand it. He would serve as the chair of the first Municipal Airport Commission. He also established the Little Rock Housing Authority (on which he would later serve on the board). Mayor Satterfield also served as President of the Arkansas Municipal League in 1941.
Following the outbreak of World War II, Satterfield enlisted in the Army and was given the rank of a Major. He later was promoted to a Colonel and worked in the Pentagon during its early days.
In the late 1940s Satterfield became president of a small Little Rock bank called People’s Bank. The bank changed its named to First National Bank when it moved into new offices at 3rd and Louisiana in 1953. By focusing on smaller customers and courting corporate customers, Satterfield grew the bank into one of the state’s largest banks. He maintained his desk in the lobby of the bank so he could interact with the customers and ensure they were having a positive experience.
Due to chronic health issues, Satterfield retired from the bank in 1964. He died in March 1966.
Arkansas Heritage Month – Robert Hupp
Robert Hupp is in his final months of his seventeenth and final season as producing artistic director of Arkansas Rep. In recognition of all of his service and artistic excellence, in 2013 he was the Individual Artists recipient of the Governor’s Arts Awards.
During his tenure in Little Rock, Hupp has overseen continued growth and development at The Rep. Since he assumed the producing artistic director’s position in 1999, the theatre has tripled its budget (currently at $4 million annually), increased contributed income by 100%, completed a successful capital campaign, and broadened the company’s artistic and economic base through co-productions with other nonprofit theatres and partnerships with institutions of higher education and community organizations. Under Hupp’s leadership, the theatre and actor housing apartments underwent a complete renovation in 2011. The Rep also renovated a new downtown scenic construction facility and recently opened The Annex, a black box theatre and education space, in Main Street’s Creative Corridor.
Hupp’s artistic stewardship at The Rep has been marked by seasons that reflect the great diversity of the theatrical canon. Shakespeare and American classics join new and contemporary works, and seasons always include musicals or plays with music. The current season contains the regional theatre premiere of The Bridges of Madison County, a new adaptation of The Little Mermaid, as well as a new comedy, Windfall, directed by Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander. The theatre also recently produced a new musical, Because of Winn Dixie, by Duncan Sheik and Nell Benjamin. Hupp has directed 28 productions while at The Rep, including The Grapes of Wrath, God’s Man in Texas, Les Miserables, August: Osage County, and all of The Rep’s recent Shakespearean productions.
In addition to his duties at The Rep, Hupp has shown a strong commitment to serving the central Arkansas community. He has served on numerous civic committees in Little Rock, including Little Rock’s Arts and Culture Commission, the Advisory Board of the ACANSA Arts Festival, and Vision Little Rock. He has collaborated with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Wildwood Park for the Arts, and the Arkansas Arts Center. In 2012, he was named “Nonprofit Executive of the Year” at the Arkansas Business of the Year Awards, and also received the Arkansas Public Relations Society of Arkansas (PRSA) Diamond Award. Hupp has also been a panelist and on-site evaluator for the National Endowment for the Arts and has served in various capacities for the Theatre Communications Group, including a term as vice president of the Board of Directors. Hupp has taught and directed at several Arkansas colleges and universities, including Hendrix College, University of Central Arkansas, and University of Arkansas at Little Rock where he also served as the Interim Chair of the Department of Theatre in 2005.
Arkansas Heritage Month – Cliff Baker
Cliff Fannin Baker is one of only two people to have been recognized with two Governor’s Arts Awards. He was honored at the first awards in 1991 with an Individual Artist Award and in 1999 with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
He has nearly a half-century of work in the professional theatre. He was the Founder of Arkansas Repertory Theatre in 1976. He previously was associated with a professional theatre at the Arkansas Arts Center in the 1960s and the Arkansas Philharmonic Theatre in the 1970s prior to his founding the Rep.
Baker has directed over 200 productions of every genre in cities as far flung as Beijing (Peking University) to Portland Center Stage, from Houston’s Alley Theatre to the Theatre of the Open Eye in New York. He has a particular passion for new plays, having directed or produced over thirty world and regional premieres.
For five years, he served as Creative Director of Wildwood Park for the Arts. When not directing, he is a corporate leadership consultant for Goss-Reid Associates in New York. Baker is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and the Dramatists Guild.
Baker will return to the Arkansas Rep in July to be the Interim Artistic Director while a replacement for Bob Hupp is being selected. He will also serve as the production director for Sister Act in the Rep’s 2016-2017 season.
Little Rock Look Back: William Grant Still
Long known as the Dean of African American composers, Dr. William Grant Still was a legend in his own lifetime.
Dr. Still, who wrote more than 150 compositions ranging from operas to arrangements of folk themes, is best known as a pioneer. He was the first African-American in the United States to have a symphonic composition performed by a major orchestra. He was the first to conduct a major symphony orchestra in the US; the first to conduct a major symphony in the south; first to conduct a white radio orchestra in New York City; first to have an opera produced by a major company. Dr. Still was also the first African-American to have an opera televised over a national network
Dr. Still was born May 11, 1895 in Woodville, Mississippi to parents who were teachers and musicians. When Dr. Still was only a few months old, his father died and his mother took him to Little Rock. Inspired by RCA Red Seal operatic recordings, his musical education began with violin lessons. He graduated from Gibbs High School in Little Rock.
After his studies at Wilberforce University and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, he played in orchestras and orchestrated for various employers including the great W. C. Handy. For several years he arranged and conducted the “Deep River Hour” over CBS and WOR. He also played in the orchestra for the 1921 musical Shuffle Along, which was the first Broadway musical to feature an all African-American cast and writing team. A musical is currently on Broadway about the creation of that musical, but Still is not a character in it.
In the 1920’s, Still made his first appearances as a serious composer in New York. Several fellowships and commissions followed. In 1994, his “Festive Overture” captured the Jubilee prize of the Cincinnati Symphony orchestra. In 1953, he won a Freedoms Foundation Award for “To You, America!” which honored West Point’s Sesquicentennial Celebration. In 1961, he received honors for this orchestral work, “The Peaceful Land”. Dr. Still also received numerous honorary degrees from various colleges and universities, as well as various awards and a citation from Arkansas Governor Dale Bumpers in 1972.
In 1939, Dr. Still married journalist and concert pianist Verna Avery, who became his principal collaborator. They remained together until Dr. Still’s death in 1978. In a proclamation marking the centennial of Dr. Still’s birth, President Bill Clinton praised the composer for creating “works of such beauty and passion that they pierced the artificial barriers of race, nationality and time.”
In 1995, Dr. Still was posthumously inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame.
Arkansas Heritage Month – Kaki Hockersmith
Kaki Hockersmith was honored at the Governor’s Arts Awards. She creates art as a designer. In addition, she promotes arts and heritage through her tireless efforts on behalf of numerous cultural institutions.
In 2010, she was appointed to the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for The Kennedy Center. In that capacity, she serves as a national ambassador for The Kennedy Center. She has also brought programs from The Kennedy Center to Arkansas to help established and emerging arts organizations. She also serves as a commissioner on the cultural committee of UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
In 1993, she redesigned the interior of The White House during the Clinton Administration. She was also appointed a member of the Committee for the Preservation of The White House. Her work on this American landmark was featured in Hillary Clinton’s book An Invitation to the White House: In Celebration of American Culture.
Locally, she serves on the Board of Trustees for the Arkansas Arts Center and the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion Association. She is an active supporter of many cultural organizations in Little Rock. She and her husband Max Mehlburger open their home to host receptions and fundraisers for numerous cultural institutions and organizations. In 2014, she was recognized for this support at Ballet Arkansas’ Turning Pointe gala.
Professionally, she has been honored by the national ASID organization as well as the Washington D.C. chapter. Her projects have won 16 regional ASID awards, including seven gold awards.
Arkansas Heritage Month Today as part of Arkansas Heritage Month, we salute Jeane Hamilton — the “mother” of the Arkansas Arts Center. In 2007, she was awarded the Arkansas Arts Council’s Lifetime Achievement Governor’s Arts Award.
Arriving in Little Rock a young wife in 1952, she immediately set about to become involved in her new community as she and her husband James set up a household. In the mid-1950s, the Junior League of Little Rock tapped her to chair the initiative to create a new art museum for Little Rock. The two decades old Museum of Fine Arts was threadbare through years of neglect and unfocused programming and collecting.
Hamilton, along with Junior League President Carrie Remmel Dickinson and Vice President Martha McHaney, approached Winthrop Rockefeller (then a relatively new resident) to lead the fundraising effort for the new museum. He agreed on a few conditions: one was that a base amount had to be raised in Little Rock first, and second that the museum would be for the entire State of Arkansas and not just Little Rock.
Hamilton and her colleagues set about to raise the funds. They raised $645,000 at the same time Little Rock’s business climate was stymied by the aftereffects of the Central High crisis.
Now a lifetime honorary member of the Arkansas Arts Center Board, Hamilton has spent much of her life working on Arkansas Arts Center projects since that visit in 1959. She has served on the Board, chaired committees, chaired special events, served hot dogs, helped kids paint and danced the night away at countless fundraisers. She was on the committee which hired Townsend Wolfe as executive director and chief curator. Jeane has led art tours for the Arts Center to a number of countries over the years.
When she is not at the Arts Center, she is often seen at the Rep, the Symphony or any number of other cultural institutions. While she enjoys seeing old friends at these events, she also loves to see a room full of strangers – because that means that new people have become engaged in the cultural life of Little Rock.
Arkansas Heritage Month –
This week as part of Arkansas Heritage Month’s focus on the arts, we will be looking at seven recipients of the Governor’s Arts Awards from Little Rock.
2016 honoree in Arts Community Development, Dr. Dean Kumpuris has spent the last three decades working to improve the cultural and civic life of Little Rock. In particular, he has focused much of his work on the revitalization of downtown, the development of the River Market, and expansion of Riverfront Park.
Through his vision and efforts to place public art downtown, in less than 10 years, nearly 100 sculptures have been installed in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden, as well as in parks along the Arkansas River and throughout Little Rock. He created the annual fundraiser, Sculpture at the River Market Show and Sale, which attracts thousands of visitors to Little Rock each year and features hundreds of sculptures from internationally recognized artists.
He is a gastroenterologist and has served on the Little Rock City Board of Directors since 1995.
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Arkansas Heritage Month – “Little Rock” Songs
The Capital City has popped up in a variety of songs in different genres over the years. Today we look at five notable instances.
Collin Raye’s 1994 song “Little Rock” peaked at Number 2 on the Billboard Country charts and was Number 14 for the entire year. Found on Raye’s album Extremes, it was written by Tom Douglas. The song centers on a man who is trying to rebuild his life after battles with alcohol have affected his marriage.
Notable lyric: “I think I’m on a roll here in Little Rock.”
Hayes Carll’s take on Arkansas’ capital is also known as “Little Rock.” It was his title track from the 2005 album. It tells the tale of a man who has traveled all over the US and is excited to make it back to Little Rock. With a driving country-rock beat, it typifies Carll’s style of music which has one foot squarely in both camps as a singer-songwriter.
Notable lyric: “All of my life I’ve tried to find/ “a piece of this earth for my peace of mind.”
Leo Robin and Jule Styne wrote the 1949 song “Little Girl from Little Rock” for their Broadway musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Introduced by Carol Channing, it told of quintessential 1920s vamp Lorelei Lee’s rise from “the wrong side of the tracks” to Manhattan’s elite neighborhoods. It has remained part of Channing’s repertoire in nightclubs and concerts. In 1953, it was retooled with sanitized lyrics and made into a duet for Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell in the film version of the musical.
Notable lyric: “Then someone broke my heart in Little Rock/and I up and left old Arkansas.”
Little Rock has also appeared in several “List songs” including “I’ve Been Everywhere.” Originally written with Australian place names in 1959, it was adapted to North American places in 1962 by Hank Snow. Arkansan Johnny Cash recorded it in 1996.
Little Rock appears in the second verse: “Glen Rock, Black Rock, Little Rock, Oskaloosa,”
Billy Joel’s 1989 “We Didn’t Start the Fire” contains three references to Little Rock. In the first section’s look at 1949, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific is mentioned. With a heroine from Little Rock, this musical was the most popular show on Broadway during the 1948-1949 and 1949-1950 Broadway seasons. The second comes in the 1953 portion with “Rockefeller” which referenced playboy Winthrop Rockefeller’s abandonment of New York City for Arkansas. He had residences in both Little Rock and on Petit Jean Mountain. The final entry came in 1957, when Joel references the Central High integration crisis with the lyric “Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac, Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, Bridge on the River Kwai.”
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Arkansas Heritage Month – Cinco de Mayo with Diego Rivera
Today is Cinco de Mayo. This Mexican holiday seems a good day to return again to the art of Diego Rivera. He is one of the Culture Vulture favorite artists, so any excuse to discuss him and his relationship with the Rockefeller family is greatly appreciated.
One of Rivera’s masterpieces is 1914’s Portrait of Two Women which is part of the permanent collection of the Arkansas Arts Center. The official name is Dos Mujeres. It is a portrait of Angelina Beloff and Maria Dolores Bastian. The former was Rivera’s first wife.
This oil on canvas stands six and a half feet tall and five and a half feet wide.
Influenced by cubists such as Picasso, Rivera adopted fracturing of form, use of multiple perspective points, and flattening of the picture plane. Yet his take on this style of painting is distinctive. He uses brighter colors and a larger scale than many early cubist pictures. Rivera also features highly textured surfaces executed in a variety of techniques.
The painting was a gift to the Arkansas Arts Center by Abby Rockefeller Mauzé, sister of Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockefeller. At the 1963 opening of the Arkansas Arts Center, James Rorimer, the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, remarked several times to Arts Center trustee Jeane Hamilton that the Met should have that piece. Jeane politely smiled as she remarked, “But we have it.”
Of all her brothers, Abby was closest to Winthrop. The other brothers, at best ignored, and at worst, antagonized the two. Given the complicated relationship of Rivera with members of the Rockefeller family, it is not surprising that if Abby were to have purchased this piece, she would donate it to a facility with close ties to Winthrop. (Though the Rockefeller brothers had Rivera’s mural at Rockefeller Center destroyed, he maintained a cordial relationship with Abby Aldrich Rockefeller — well as cordial as an anti-social Communist could be with the doyenne of capitalist NYC Society.)
The Arkansas Arts Center has several other works of art in their collection with ties to Mexico. Some are by Mexican artists. Others are inspired by Mexico. They have several by Elsie Fruend depicting scenes in Mexico.
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Arkansas Heritage Month – Sibelius’ FINLANDIA rings out at Robinson Auditorium
This fall, when the newly renovated Robinson Center Music Hall reopens, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will play the first notes in the new space.
The first notes in the original space were Jean Sibelius’ Finlandia. The piece was commissioned in 1899 as part of a three day arts festival to celebrate the Finnish press. At the time, Tsarist Russia was cracking down on the press in Finland, so this festival was planned as a way to show solidarity. The selection was one of seven composed to be played against tableaus of scenes of Finnish history. The pieces were played in a new music hall.
Given the political nature of the music, subsequent performances of it were often given fake names to avoid Russian censorship in the ensuing years.
Because of the fact it had been played at the opening of a new facility, Finlandia was chosen to be played at the opening of the Joseph Taylor Robinson Memorial Auditorium in February 1940. It would be played by the Arkansas State Symphony Orchestra (a forerunner, though not directly connected, to the current Arkansas Symphony Orchestra).
In the weeks leading up to the opening of Robinson, the Russians invaded Finland sparking the “Winter War.” Against overwhelming odds the Finnish people fought back though the Russians had far more soldiers and military weaponry. However, by February 1, the Russians started breaking through lines on several fronts, and it became apparent that they would likely best the Finns.
With Finland dominating the front pages of newspapers, the performance of Finlandia took on additional significance for the audience at Robinson’s first performance on February 16, 1940. Press accounts indicate that the selection was very warmly received by the audience.
Though not noticed at the time, there was another reason that Finlandia was an apt selection to open the building. The location of Robinson Auditorium had been chosen by Arkansas Gazette editor J.N. Heiskell. It was no one else’s first choice as the site for the building. As other options fell away, Heiskell kept trumpeting the northeast corner of Markham and Broadway. So it was appropriate that the first piece of music be a selection that celebrated newspapers and the people who published them.
Arkansas Heritage Month – Public Art comes to Little Rock with Henry Moore’s LARGE STANDING FIGURE: KNIFE EDGE It was 1978, Bill Clinton was making his first run for Governor, Dallas and Robin Williams both made their TV debuts, disco was dominating the music scene, and Little Rock received its first major piece of public art.
Arguably Little Rock’s most famous piece of public art is Henry Moore’s 1961 creation Large Standing Figure: Knife Edge, which is known locally as “The Henry Moore Sculpture.”
The original model was created in 1961; this sculpture was cast in 1976 and purchased in June 1978 by the Little Rock Metrocentre Improvement District.
The purchase price was $185,000 — a princely sum at the time but now a bargain for a Henry Moore sculpture. (Adjusted for inflation, that amount would be the equivalent of $705,000 today.)
A committee consisting of Townsend Wolfe (then the director and chief curator of the Arkansas Arts Center), James Dyke and Dr. Virginia Rembert traveled to England to meet with Moore about the sculpture.
It was originally placed on Main Street when the street had been bricked over as part of the Metrocentre Mall pedestrian mall plan. As portions of the street became unbricked and reopened to vehicular traffic, it was moved to the intersection of Capitol and Main. Finally, when the last segment was reopened to vehicular traffic, it was put at its current location of the southeast corner of Capitol and Louisiana. Because it was purchased by the Improvement District, it must stay within the boundaries of the district.
There is currently discussion about the Metrocentre Improvement District disbanding and the sculpture being relocated elsewhere in the City.
A replica of the sculpture is featured in the 1980s classic The Breakfast Club.
Taste of The Rock
May 5 Macarthur Park 5K
May 6 kid pup run
Think about friends, family and anyone with military experience during war or "conflict-police action"! Get the word out. WWII vets are dying daily as are Korea, Viet Nam, Panama
The NEH announces grant to CALS for Dialogues on the Experience of War
The National Endowment for the Humanities today announced a total of $21.1 Million in grants. One of those went to the Central Arkansas Library System.
CALS will receive $99,772 for a project focused on dialogues on the experience of war. Project Director Alex Vernon will lead “Fiction & Fact: A Dialogue with Veterans.” It will consist of four discussion programs for Arkansas veterans and others on the themes of battlefield and homefront, World War I, Vietnam, and war and witness.
Sculpture at the River Market Show and Sale this weekend
Little Rock residents and visitors alike will have the opportunity to see and purchase works by leading sculptors when the ninth Sculpture at the River Market Invitational Show and Sale takes place from April 22 to 24.
Over 800 sculptures will be on display in the River Market pavilions and in the adjacent area of Riverfront Park on those three days in April. The works featured will include all types of media, style, subject matter, and size.
Sculpture at the River Market will feature the works of over 50 sculptors.
The 2016 sculptors include: Lorri Acott, Lori Arnold, Terry & Maritza Bean, Hunter Brown, Craig Campbell, Kathleen Caricof, Tim Cherry, Leslie Daly, Darrell Davis, Jane DeDecker, John Deering, Clay Enoch, Kimber Fiebiger, Peter Grimord, Guilloume, Denny Haskew, Bob Heintzelman, Mark Hyde, Greg Johnson, James Keller, Kevin Kresse, Mark Leichliter, Harold Linke, Allison Luedtke, and Bryan Winfred Massey, Sr.
Tod Switch Language is Key 24"H x 46"W x 24"D Powder Coated Steel
Language is Key
24″H x 46″W x 24″D
Powder Coated Steel
Other participating sculptors are: James G. Moore, Nnamdi Okonkwo, Steven Olszewski, Richard Pankratz, Nathan Pierce, Merle Randolph, Dale Roark, Kevin Robb, Timothy Roundy, Emelene Russell, Wayne Salge, Valerie Jean Schafer, Adam Schultz, Stephen Shachtman, Kim Shaklee, Stephanie & Scott Shangraw, Gene Sparling, Lawrence Starck, Charles Strain, Tod Switch, Michael Warrick, C.T. Whitehouse, Longhua XU, and Michelle Zorich & Katherine Martin.
Sculpture at the River Market will be open in the River Market pavilions from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday, April 23, and from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Sunday, April 24. In addition to the opportunity to view the sculptures and meet with the sculptors, there are a variety of activities planned throughout the two days.
Stephen Shachtman Helix 20x18x3” Glass/Steel
Docent led tours of the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden will be available at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 23 and Sunday, April 24. Andina’s Café & Coffee Roastery will be set up at the sculpture show on Sunday beginning at 9:30 a.m. From 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Sunday, Southern Salt and Southern Gourmasian food trucks will be set up at the River Market.
On Friday, April 22, at 6:30 p.m., a Preview Party will kick off the weekend. With food provided by Copper Grill, beverages provided by Glazer’s and Stella Artois, frozen treats by Le Pops, and live jazz music, it will be a festive atmosphere offering guests the first chance to purchase sculptures as well as visit with the sculptors. Also that night, guests to the Preview Party will be able to vote for their favorite sculpture in the 2016 Public Monument Competition.
Drive (or walk or bike) to MISS DAISY
Because of the success and awards of the movie version, and the way some of the lines have entered the vernacular especially as comic punch lines, it is easy to forget that Alfred Uhry’s Driving Miss Daisy is a quiet, unassuming play. He did not set out to write a “great” play or a social screed, in fact it was quite a surprise when it won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
The Weekend Theater brings Uhry’s episodic drive through the decades to life in its current offering. Under Andy Hall’s deft direction, it avoids the treacly trap that can often befall productions of this three-hander.
It is not that Hall’s production is without sentiment, but the emotions on stage are grounded in the moment. There is no mawkish lingering when the characters make an emotional connection. Considering that the script calls for cyclical closeness and distance among the trio, keeping emotions in check and in the moment serves the story and the playwright.
The plot, as if anyone needs a précis, involves a well-off (but don’t call her rich) Jewish widow, her businessman son, and the African American chauffer engaged by said son to transport said mother. Even if the audience was unfamiliar with the plot, it is pretty obvious that the titular matron and her driver will move from adversaries to unlikely friends. While the destination may be a formulaic and foregone conclusion, just like taking a trip, joy can be found in the journey.
Jermaine McClure plays the driver, Hoke. He avoids the stereotype of being the long-suffering, noble, simple-but-wise, African American. Though the part is not written that way, it has often been acted that way. His Hoke is kind, respectful, joyous, and a bit mischievous. McClure is obviously enjoying his part as much as Hoke enjoys interacting with both Daisy and her son. As he ages in the play, he doesn’t try to take on too much affectation—his character may move a bit slower—but he adds little touches such as prolonged squinting to show failing eyesight.
The role of the son, Boolie, is part instigator, part comic relief, and part time-filler so that the other two actors can be made to look older backstage. But Jay Clark imbues him with depth and pathos. He clearly enjoys the more comic moments (including wearing the most ridiculous Christmas outfit this side of Christmas Vacation), while also bringing heart and humanity to his quieter moments as well. Clark has a strong connection with each of his co-stars.
As good as the two gentlemen are, the evening clearly belongs to Judy Trice as Daisy Werthen. Her Daisy is a woman who has always been in control and is now grappling with the loss of that power. Her fussiness comes from frustration rather than from malice. Daisy is a complex woman who can see the biases in others without recognizing her own. Trice is not trying to be the lovable “little old lady” of heartwarming literature nor the stern battle-axe with a heart that needs to be awakened. Instead she presents a multi-faceted woman who is set in her ways but still has a desire to live a fulfilling life. With a sly smile and a drawn out word, she can be dangerous as she drops a veiled insult or commit theatrical larceny by stealing a scene through uttering a simple witticism.
Trice seems to get physically frailer as the play progresses, but that is not the most remarkable part of her transformation. Throughout the play her eyes sparkle with a vivacity that substantiates the sharp tongue and sharper mind of the heroine. Those eyes glimmer, that is, until the final scene. As she sits in near silence with a vacant, unfocused stare, it is hard to believe this is the same actress who has been so full of life throughout the rest of the play. Yet moments later the twinkle returns as she steps out to take her well-earned bow at the curtain call.
This production serves as a reminder that an enjoyable experience at the theatre does not need bells and whistles. It merely needs a strong story, adept actors, and a director who is able to meld the two.
Driving Miss Daisy continues at the Weekend Theater through April 17. Performances are at 7:30 on Fridays and Saturdays and Sunday matinees at 2:30.
BIG Thank you to MNABOY on helping keep the posting here active!! We welcome anyone to put stuff on here if they know of things going on in town! Here is the happenings around Little Rock for this weekend! Chime in if I missed stuff!
No more hibernating! There is a lot going on this weekend in Central Arkansas!
Friday night Barry Manilow is at Verizon. If you don’t have tickets, at least try to avoid all the heavy traffic that will be there for that!! Sorry if you are a Manilow fan, but hee hee. The event with more traffic will very likely be the “Food and Foam Fest” at Dickey Stephens Park in North Little Rock! That starts at 6 pm.
Saturday is SPRINGFEST! In downtown Little Rock. This festival was created by Riverfest to have a separate family-friendly event … there will be a ton of kids activities, the dog jumping competition, a food-truck court and more. To find out more, go to www.riverfestarkansas.com/springfest. Also on Saturday and I have to admit I really didn’t want to miss this, is “CALS Con 2016”!! This should be a lot of geeky fun! There will be a huge LEGO display, a Star Wards discussion panel and a discussion on Disney and feminism. It begins at 10 am and ends at 8 pm. I may actually get to see some of the last of it! Finally, there is the Walk to Defeat ALS!! Head on over to the Clinton Presidential Center before 10 am if you would like to participate! In North Little Rock you could hit up Duck Duck Goose or visit the Argenta Gallery to see “Tell Your Secrets”. In Benton there is a 5K called “Run with the Dogs” I bet that will be cute!
Sunday is “Tea and ‘Tiques’” at Esse Purse Museum in Little Rock. If you haven’t been to this museum, it actually has a lot of history and information – check it out! Another great thing going is “Driving Miss Daisy” at The Weekend Theater! Check online before you make a decision, they often get sold out.
Finally, we still have the free things to do around central Arkansas! Check out Pinnacle Mountain, walk the River Trail, take the little people to the park or whatever else you fancy!
Co-Leader, Little Rock Sparkers
Sunday, April 10 the Jewish Federation of Arkansas hosts its annual Jewish Food and Cultural Festival at War Memorial Stadium. The festival features kosher foods, the ever-popular “Ask-the-Rabbi” booth, and activities for the kids.
I will be glad to post East AR happening but will also post LR activities.
For those that like kayaking in lakes the Delta Heritage trail rents kayaks to explore Old Town Lake at Lakeview. You can walk and ride bikes while you are there too. Barton AR a State Park facility.
If you aren't watching basketball or tv, there are a lot of active alternatives in Little Rock this weekend! I will leave it to MNABOY to tell you more about happenings in his area!!
Little Rock weather this weekend will be nice Saturday, Easter Sunday looks pretty sketchy and you may need to find some indoor activities for you and the little people! Hint ... I highly recommend against hiding boiled, dyed eggs in the house (yes, experienced it)!
As the weather gets springy, more farmer's markets pop up!! For this weekend there is the Hillcrest Farmers market on Kavanaugh. It is always a good time to walk around there and see everyone walking their dogs and see what veggies are being offered! I seriously believe home-grown veggies taste so much better than those at the store! Next weekend, the Argenta Farmers Market opens for the season on April 2!! Bernice Garden opens April 10 in SoMa (south on Main). I love that area too! Great walking without so many hills!
Saturday, Bobby's Bike Tours is leading a tour of historic Little Rock neighborhoods. If you are more balanced than I, that sounds like fun! Also, the current exhibit at the Clinton Presidential Library is "American Champions-the quest for Olympic Glory". If you haven't visited the Clinton Library in a while, it is a large place and you will get some of your steps in while learning a lot of history and seeing many interesting items! Also, don't forget about walking the trails down by the river! It is so nice and peaceful and provides some good photography opportunities for you shutter bugs! This looks like a good day for golf or for walking the River Trail too! Just get out there!
Sunday, have a wonderful and happy Easter! I use this day to reflect on things I am so thankful for and for enjoying friends and neighbors.
Co-Leader, Little Rock Sparkers
“Industrial Beauty: Charles Burchfield’s Black Iron” exhibit at Arkansas Arts Center through May 8
The massive counterweights of a railroad drawbridge over Buffalo Creek fascinated watercolorist Charles Burchfield as he traveled to the Port of Buffalo in 1933. The artist promised himself he would one day depict the bridge. In 1935, he said, “I made one trip in to look over the subject, and received a new thrill. . . What a delight! What a joy it was! The subject ‘over-powered me’” He recalled, “It was difficult working, that first day, but I rejoiced in all the handicaps . . . the ground had not settled yet from the spring thaw, and where I stood it was all sand; engrossed in my work I did not know how treacherous it was until I went to step backward and could not move my feet . . .” A bridge worker had to rescue the artist, who was captivated, indeed.
Charles Burchfield, American (Ashtabula Harbor, Ohio, 1893 – 1967, West Seneca, New York), Black Iron, 1935, watercolor, 28 1/8 x 40 in. Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection: Gift of Hope Aldrich, in memory of her father, John D. Rockefeller, 3rd. 2013.006.001.
Burchfield’s devoted labor resulted in one of his greatest watercolors, Black Iron. This exhibition celebrates the arrival of this masterpiece in Arkansas as a gift from Hope Aldrich in honor of her father, John D. Rockefeller, 3rd. This generous donation also includes seven sketches and a sheet of notes from which the artist’s commentary above is quoted. The exhibition Industrial Beauty sets this material in a wider context.
Burchfield is best known as a visual poet of nature who was one of America’s outstanding modern watercolorists. Early and late in his career he made graceful images of trees, flowers, clouds, and abstract lines suggesting such natural sounds as the chirping of crickets. But in the 1930s, the artist was riveted by the technology used to move and store the grain, iron ore, and other products of the Great Lakes region where he lived. His style became more realistic as he depicted the beautiful geometry of railroads, bridges, grain elevators, and factories.
This exhibition gathers such images from the 1930s, including a 1933 watercolor of Buffalo Harbor, Three Boats in Winter (Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, Providence, Rhode Island), which he was making when he first spotted the drawbridge over Buffalo Creek. The exhibition gathers drawings, watercolors, and a rare oil painting from distinguished collections around the country. These images show us Burchfield’s vision of industry. The artist concentrated on massive iron structures and industrial scenes in the 1930s, but he had been depicting bridges and trains since his youth in the 1910s.
Go to the WOODS
Since the rights became available in the early 1990s, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods has been popular for theatres of all levels from youth to professional regional theatres. It is, on the surface, a show that is easy to do adequately allowing for singers and actors of varying levels of expertise to perform. As such, I have seen numerous productions of this title (my interest stemming partly from being a cousin of the Brothers Grimm on whose work this musical is based).
The Studio Theatre’s production of Into the Woods is a reminder why it is worthwhile to go on the journey again. Whether you have seen outstanding or dreadful productions in the past or never seen the show before, this production of Into the Woods highlights the many charms of the property.
(It also showcases that despite some judicious trims here and there, the first act is very long. So be forewarned and visit the restroom beforehand.)
Director Rafael Castanera has assembled a strong cast and then made sure they carry out his vision. Given the physical confines of the space, he has created a world in which the stage is always bustling with activity but never seems to be crowded. This is a very wordy script, but Castanera also trusts his cast with silence. Some of the most memorable moments (touching and comic) were achieved with no words. That is the hallmark of deft directing.
The show is truly an ensemble effort with uniformly solid performances. As the Baker around whom much of the action centers, Michael Goodbar gives a nice dramatic turn. Often seen in the outrageously comic Red Octopus Theatre productions, his layered performance here is a revelation. He has great chemistry with Angela Kay Collier as the Baker’s Wife. She is an even match for him in a performance that is both strong (but not strident) and vulnerable. Erin Martinez turns in yet another memorable characterization as the Witch. Her vocal prowess is on display in numbers ranging from rap (Sondheim did it here long before Hamilton) to tender song to power ballad.
Brandon Nichols brings an animalistic swagger to his performance as the Wolf. He is predatory and sensual without being obscene, which is especially important since the object of his lupine affection is an adolescent girl. In his other role, he is a hilariously vainglorious and charming Prince. With an arched eyebrow or shift in posture, he both echoes fairy tale princes and spoofs them. His brother in arms in the narcissism department is Ryan Heumier as his brother the other Prince. Heumier can sing to another character all the while primping in front of his ever-present handheld mirror. The fraternal duet “Agony” is a highlight of the first act.
As the object of Nichols’ princely pursuit, Rachel Caffey brings a clear voice and clear eye to the role of Cinderella. She is equally at home among the ashes as she is running through the woods in a ballgown. Grace Pitts is a delightful Red Riding Hood alternating between assertive and susceptible, innocent and knowing. Often juvenile actors can be cloying (which may be why this part is usually played by someone older). But Pitts is never mawkish in her portrayal. But even as the character comes to grip with a new reality, Pitts’ performance lets the audience know she is still a young lady.
Evan Patterson’s offers a dim-witted but well-intentioned Jack (of Beanstalk fame). The part is sometimes played doltishly. But Patterson’s portrayal focuses on the humanity of the character who just happens to be more absent-minded than stupid. As his mother, reliable Beth Ross tempers her exasperation at her son with her devotion to him and her desire to provide for him. David Weatherly plays the narrator who fills in for Jack’s cow Milky White at times and also appears briefly as a eponymously named “Mysterious Man.” His talents for facial expressions and cud-chewing helped bring out much of the humor in the script.
Rounding out the cast in various roles were Courtney Speyer (whose dulcet tones were on display as she sang a sort of siren’s song), Amy G. Young (having fun as a not too weak Granny), Daniel Collier (as the officious and official steward), Katie Eisenhower, Brooke Melton and Autumn Romines. The latter three were the deliciously wicked step-relatives of Cinderella.
The cast was clad in intricately detailed costumes designed by Castanera. They skillfully defined the characters and added whimsically to the story. Every square inch of fabric was there for a purpose. There were many accents and accessories, so each time an actor came on stage it was possible to discovery something new. But the costumes served the actors and did not distract from the performances or the story. The clothing was abetted by Robert Pickens’ exquisite wigs.
Pickens is also the set coordinator. The set is a marvel. In a relatively small space there are a variety of platforms and ramps which depict many different settings. The set mainly consists wooden planks in groupings framing the proscenium. With this wood, a few ropes and some canvas, the story unfolds before the audience’s eyes. In a subtle reminder of the storybook nature of the evening, the stage is littered with hundreds of books stacked in any possible nook and cranny. The proceedings are well-lit by Joey DiPette who manages to make sure the actors are always seen while still conveying changes in settings and shifts from day to night.
While not a through-sung musical, Into the Woods has much, much music!. Even when the actors are not singing, the music rarely stops. Musical Director Bob Bidewell has made sure that the singers maximize their musical moments in the woods. He and the orchestra never play over the singers, but definitely enhance the mood and the overall musical experience by supporting the songs and the singers.
Like revisiting stories from childhood, it was pleasant to revisit Into the Woods, especially in a strong, cohesive production currently running at the Studio Theatre. Performances continue through March 26 (7pm Thursdays through Saturdays and 2pm on Sundays).
New HAM exhibit looks at 75 Years of the museum
Historic Arkansas Museum, a museum of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, will host a free opening reception for the museum’s 75th anniversary exhibit A Diamond in the Rough: 75 Years of Historic Arkansas Museum during 2nd Friday Art Night from 5 to 8 pm. The reception will feature a vintage cocktail from 1941, the year the museum was founded, live music by the Delta Brass Combo and a unique 75th anniversary Living History performance featuring portrayals of museum founder Louise Loughborough, as she campaigns the historic structures that are now preserved on the museum grounds, as well as Senator Ed Dillon and Governor Bailey. Refreshments will be available, including the vintage cocktail Millionaire No. 1 which was popular in 1941 – the year Historic Arkansas Museum was founded.
A Diamond in the Rough: 75 Years of Historic Arkansas Museum
Experience 75 years of Historic Arkansas Museum, beginning with the ambitious Louise Watkins Loughborough whose one-woman campaign succeeded in the founding of the museum in 1941. The museum, now a gem of Arkansas history and culture, began as a diamond in the rough; a half-block of dilapidated historic homes—the last remnant of Little Rock’s oldest neighborhood. Loughborough’s passion and vision saved these historic structures and the subsequent contributions of architects and preservationists such as Max Mayer, Ed Cromwell, Parker Westbrook and others succeeded in making Historic Arkansas Museum the historic landmark and vibrant cultural institution it is today.
The anniversary exhibit is a celebration of the museum’s commitment to preserving and exhibiting objects and artworks that illuminate Arkansas’s rich and varied cultural heritage. Learn more about the contributions of pioneering community leaders, reflect on milestones in the museum’s development over 75 years and see many of the most important pieces from the museum’s permanent collection. This exhibit continues in the Horace C. Cabe Gallery through February 2017.
Currently on exhibit:
Arkansas Contemporaries: Then, Now, Next
Joe Barry Carroll: Growing Up in Words and Images
Maps of Arkansas, 1822 – 1856
Niloak Art Pottery Figurines (Benton, AR, 1909 – 1946)
Suggin Territory: The Marvelous World of Folklorist Josephine Graham
Arkansas Made Gallery (permanent)
We Walk in Two Worlds: The Caddo, Osage and Quapaw in Arkansas (permanent)
The Knife Gallery (permanent)
Historic Homes (permanent)
Historic Arkansas Museum is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 1 – 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission to the galleries and parking are free; admission to the historic grounds is $2.50 for adults, $1 for children under 18, $1.50 for senior citizens. The Historic Arkansas Museum Store is open 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 1 – 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Historic Arkansas Museum is an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, which was created in 1975 to preserve and enhance the heritage of the state of Arkansas. Other agencies of the department are Delta Cultural Center in Helena, Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and Old State House Museum.
Hillcrest Historic District to be site of 52nd Quapaw Quarter Spring Tour
The Quapaw Quarter Association (QQA) will host its 52nd Spring Tour on Mother’s Day Weekend, May 7-8 in the Hillcrest Historic District.
The Spring Tour of Homes has been held since 1963 with the purpose of fostering appreciation of historic buildings and neighborhoods and the need for their preservation. The Tour was last year’s recipient of the Grand Old Classic Special Event Award at the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism’s Henry Awards. The 52nd Spring Tour will feature interior access to five historic homes, four of which have never before been on tour.
“The Spring Tour is our best tool to build pride in historic neighborhoods and encourage continued investment in our city’s architectural heritage” said QQA President Jarrod Johnson. “The Tour is a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day and experience one of Little Rock’s unique neighborhoods.”
The 52nd Spring Tour will feature the homes at 516 Ridgeway, 478 Ridgeway, the Canby House at 420 Midland, the Ashcroft House at 444 Fairfax Avenue, and the Foster-Cochran House at 3724 Hill Road. Pulaski Heights Elementary and Middle Schools will also be open with student-led tours. The Candlelight Tour on Saturday evening will include the special additions of the house at 319 Midland, a champagne stop at the Storthz House at 450 Midland, and the chapel at Pulaski Heights Presbyterian Church, followed by a party in the church’s fellowship hall.
In a new addition to the tour this year, the students in the Gifted and Talented Programs at Pulaski Heights Elementary and Middle Schools are doing research on the history of about 100 structures in Hillcrest, many of them the student’s own home. Signs will be mounted in the yards or windows of these buildings that explain the history of the structure. The signs will be temporarily posted, creating a walking tour throughout the neighborhood during the weekend of the Spring Tour. In the process, the students will learn about the history of the community that they live in or utilize every day and how to use primary and historic resources when doing research. The QQA hopes that residents of Hillcrest and Spring Tour-goers will take advantage of the walking tour to learn more about and appreciate the history of this historic community.
The tour will be open Saturday and Sunday afternoons; tickets may be purchased in advance for $20, or on site for $30. Kids 10 and under are free. The Candlelight Tour and Party tickets start at $125 per person and include afternoon tours. Other activities will be a Sunday Brunch at Curran Hall and specials at neighborhood businesses.
Find more information and tickets at www.quapaw.com or at the Little Rock Visitor Information Center at Historic Curran Hall at 615 E. Capitol Avenue. You may also call 501-371-0075. Proceeds benefit the historic preservation programs of the QQA.
For social media, the QQA encourages attendees to use #QQASpringTour as the official event hashtag.
William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s ADMIRATION at the Arkansas Arts Center through May 15
Now through May 15, the Arkansas Arts Center has a special piece of artwork on display!
William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s Admiration is in the Ted and Virginia Bailey Gallery.
Adoring young women gather around the youthful, winged figure of Cupid, the Roman god of love. The immortal boy playfully points his amorous arrow at a lovely maid who clasps her bosom as if the dart of love has, indeed, struck home. The beautifully crafted painting, its figures rendered with ideal proportions in flawless perspective, was clearly produced by a master. This painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau displays the results as his training in the highest academic manner of the mid-19th century at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and other academies.
William-Adolphe Bouguereau, French (La Rochelle, France 1825 – 1905, La Rochelle, France), Admiration, 1897, oil on canvas, 58 x 78 in., Bequest of Mort D. Goldberg to the San Antonio Museum of Art, 59.46.
In 1850, the young artist won the Premier Grand Prix de Rome, the top academic art prize of the day, which enabled him to study classical art in Rome for four years. This began his career as the leading French academic artist of his day; he triumphantly exhibited year after year in the massive annual exhibition known as the Salon. While classical subject matter was supposedly the most proper and edifying material an academic artist of the 19th century could portray, Bouguereau’s success arose at least partially from his ability to infuse a sense of naughty fun into his classical nude figures. That is certainly on display in this delightfully sensual image, which was a success both at the Paris Salon of 1899 and the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900.
This great neoclassical painting comes as a special loan from the San Antonio Museum of Art in exchange for an earlier loan from the Arkansas Arts Center of its 1914 Cubist masterpiece, Dos Mujers, painted by Diego Rivera when the Mexican artist was working in Paris early in his career. Admiration will be accompanied by a related drawing by Bouguereau. The painting and drawing will be complemented by a selection of academic figure drawings from the Arkansas Arts Center’s acclaimed collection of original works on paper. These will allow viewers to see how academic artists drew to study the figure so they could achieve the mastery we see in Bouguereau’s painting.
Locally Labeled: Rock Town Distillery
As Arkansas’s first ‘legal’ distillery since prohibition, Rock Town Distillery features Arkansas-grown corn, wheat and rye in their bourbons, gins, rum and vodkas. Having won numerous international awards, including being named “2015 American Micro Whiskey of the Year,” in Jim Murray’s 2015 edition of The Whisky Bible, Rock Town’s spirits can be found in 12 states and the United Kingdom
SEC Gymnastics Championship tumbles into town
The SEC’s top gymnasts cartwheel, flip, tumble and twist in the pursuit of a SEC championship. Fourth-ranked Alabama hopes to win its third consecutive championship over fellow SEC Top 25 teams Florida, LSU, Auburn and Arkansas.
War Memorial Stadium hosts popular vintage market
Browse more than 220 booths filled with antiques, vintage and vintage-inspired finds inside the War Memorial Stadium concourse March 11-13.
St. Paddy’s Day parade celebrates Irish heritage
You don’t need the luck of the Irish to find an amazing St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Central Arkansas. Get gussied up in your best green duds and party with the Irish Cultural Society of Arkansas Saturday, March 12 beginning at Third and Rock streets.
Sessions at South on Main tonight features Melody Pond
South on Main begins the second month of Sessions at South on Main! This month they have invited DGold to curate Wednesday night shows. Daniel Gold, aka DGold, is a radio personality, a podcaster, a music documentarian and former publisher of a music magazine – Honest Tunes. He’s traveled the US following music, and has always made it his priority to share good tunes with others.
For his first show, DGold has invited Melody Pond from Fayetteville. He says, “Melody Pond – it’s a new name of an artist that was formerly known as Candy Lee and the Sweets. … [the band] has a delicate, low-key style with female harmonies.”
The show begins at 8:30 PM, and there is a $5 cover charge. Please call (501) 244-9660 to reserve your table for this show.
ABOUT MELODY POND
Melody Pond is the song that dances on the water, echoes on the wind, and enchants your ear drums. The duo made up of Candy Lee and Emily Rowland, have a been singing together in various band formations for almost a decade, perfecting their tight, seamless harmonies. Their sound ranges from fun and powerful to honest and tender. Rooted in the earthiness of folk, Melody Pond keeps it fresh by merging modern indie influences with throwback moods of funk and blues, and jazz inspired vocals reminiscent of Billie Holiday and The Boswell Sisters. The duo has been compared to modern artists Rising Appalachia, First Aid Kit, and The Ditty Bops. Melody Pond performs original songs by Candy Lee. Her passionate, thought provoking lyrics have been described as delightfully conscious and “philosophically giddy.”
Candy Lee is the 2011 Northwest Arkansas Music Award Winner for Best Female Singer/Songwriter and Best Female Vocalist in a Band. She was also a Grassy Hill New Folk Finalist at the 2015 Kerrville Folk Festival. Melody Pond (formerly Candy Lee and the Sweets) have performed at the Yonder Mountain Harvest Festival, as well as the Fayetteville Roots Festival, and a sold out show at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. They have opened for Elephant Revival, Ben Miller Band, Amy Lavere, and The Lost Gonzo Band.
Bernstein and Brahms this weekend with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra
The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Philip Mann, Music Director and Conductor, presents the fifth concert of the 2015-2016 Masterworks series: Bernstein & Brahms, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 27 and 3:00 p.m. Sunday, February 28 at the Maumelle Performing Arts Center at Maumelle High School. Eight collegiate choruses join the ASO to perform Brahms’s German Requiem and Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. Bernstein & Brahms is sponsored by CHI St. Vincent. The Masterworks Series is sponsored by the Stella Boyle Smith Trust.
Tickets are $19, $35, $49, and $58; active duty military and student tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at www.ArkansasSymphony.org; at the Maumelle Performing Arts Center box office beginning 90 minutes prior to a concert; or by phone at 501-666-1761, ext. 100. All Arkansas students grades K-12 are admitted to Sunday’s matinee free of charge with the purchase of an adult ticket using the Entergy Kids’ Ticket, downloadable at www.ArkansasSymphony.org/freekids
The ASO will collaborate with choirs from around the state of Arkansas for Bernstein & Brahms. The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Vesper Choir is featured on Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, and Brahms’s German Requiem features choirs from Arkansas State University, Harding University, Lyon College, Southern Arkansas University at Magnolia, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, University of Central Arkansas, and the Arkansas Chamber Singers.
All concert ticket holders are invited to a pre-concert lecture an hour before each Masterworks concert. These talks feature insights from the Maestro and guest artists, and feature musical examples to enrich the concert experience.
Shuttle service is available
The ASO provides shuttle service from Second Presbyterian Church in Pleasant Valley to the Maumelle Performing Arts Center and back after the concert. For more information and to purchase fare at $10 per rider per concert, please visit https://www.arkansassymphony.org/concerts-
Bernstein Chichester Psalms
with the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Vesper Choir
Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem
with mass collegiate choir and the Arkansas Chamber Singers
Bernstein composed Chichester Psalms during a sabbatical from conducting in 1965. In his own words, “I wrote a lot of music, twelve-tone music and avant garde music of various kinds, and a lot of it was very good, and I threw it all away. And what I came out with at the end of the year was a piece called Chichester Psalms, which is simple and tonal and tuneful and as pure B-flat as any piece you can think of.” Ein Deutsches Requiem was not composed for the people of Germany, but in the German language and was intended to be addressed to all mankind. Breaking from the historic requiem form, in which there is a strong focus on Judgment and the seeking of forgiveness, Brahms instead concentrates on offering consolation to the living who are mourning their departed loved ones.
Tonight at 7, Arkansas Sounds salutes composers Florence Price and William Grant Still at Ron Robinson Theater
Two of the leading American classical music composers in the first half of the 20th Century were from Arkansas and were African American. Tonight (February 26) Arkansas Sounds pays tribute to Florence B. Price and William Grant Still in a program at 7pm at the Ron Robinson Theater.
Arkansas Sounds pays tribute to two of Arkansas’s most highly acclaimed African American classical composers with a screening of The Caged Bird: The Life and Music of Florence B. Price followed by performances of Price’s and Still’s compositions by members of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra (ASO) and the ASO Youth Orchestra. The film’s length is approximately 1 hour.
Little Rock native Florence Price (1887-1953) was the first African American female classical composer to have her composition played by a major American symphony orchestra. The Caged Bird: The Life and Music of Florence B. Price traces Price’s life, detailing her cultured childhood in an extraordinarily gifted family, her struggles and eventual departure from the South due to racial tension, and her great artistic impact and success. Her compositions were favored by famed soprano Marian Anderson, and in 1933, her “Symphony in E Minor” was performed at the Chicago World’s Fair by the Chicago Symphony.
Born in Woodville, Mississippi, and raised in Little Rock, William Grant Still (1895-1978) achieved national and international acclaim as a composer of symphonic and popular music and, as an African American, was hailed for breaking race barriers of his time. His Afro-American Symphony was the first symphony composed by an African American to be played by a major symphony orchestra and is still performed today. Still was a prolific composer whose work includes symphonies, ballets, operas, chamber music, and works for solo instruments, totaling nearly 200. He also received numerous honors and achievements such as the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1934, 1935, and 1938. He also received eight honorary degrees from institutions such as Oberlin College, the University of Arkansas, Pepperdine University, and the Peabody Conservatory of Music.
The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra (ASO) comprises the state’s most sought-after professional musicians and is celebrating its 50th season. The ASO Youth Orchestra comprises over 200 student musicians, ages 9-18, who travel from over thirty-seven communities throughout Arkansas.
Maybe not a "healthy" event, but good times and knowledge are healthy:
Science After Dark: Wine & Chocolate – tonight at the Museum of Discovery
How does the Museum of Discovery’s monthly Science After Dark top itself? What do people love more than STAR WARS? The answer is, of course, Wine and Chocolate!
Tonight from 6pm until 9pm, Science After Dark focuses on Wine and Chocolate.
Explore fermentation, the science of making chocolate and discover the process of pairing the two!
You must be at least 21 years of age to attend.
Admission is $5
Bring cash for beer from Stone’s Throw Brewing and beer, cocktails and pizza from Damgoode Pies River Market.
AN ILIAD takes stage at Arkansas Rep in Black Box
Audience favorite Joe Graves returns to The Rep for Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare’s production, An Iliad. This one-man production adapts Homer’s Trojan War epic into a compelling monologue that captures both the heroism and horror of warfare, and answers the question: “What has really changed since the Trojan War?”
Performances are February 24 through March 5. Showtimes are 7pm Wednesdays through Sundays with 2pm matinees on Sundays.
This production makes the western world’s oldest extant work of literature not only intelligible, but immediate, relevant and eerily fascinating—as if a storyteller were telling the oldest story in the book and making you believe it is being told for the very first time. Gods and goddesses, weak-tendoned heroes and the face that launched a thousand ships…it’s all just another (incredibly engrossing) yarn in O’Hare* and Peterson’s one-man adaptation, developed at the Sundance Theatre Institute.
Willamette Week calls Graves’ performance one “that can honestly be described as spellbinding.”
Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, An Iliad will include Arkansas Stories of War, a series of six talkbacks featuring local service members and their families who will share their personal stories of war.
Tonight at South on Main – Charles Woods takes the stage
Tonight at South on Main, their next February Sessions, curated by Amy Garland. The featured musician is Charles Woods who takes the stage at 8:30pm
We have a musical legend in our midst and many folks don’t even know it! Born in Little Rock in 1946 and raised in a musical household with a gospel and blues background, Charles Woods began playing the harmonica at the age of eight and started playing the electric guitar at the age of 12. Charles honed his musical talents in the gospel chorus on Sunday mornings. While in the choir, Charles Woods also developed his heartfelt and soulful voice reminiscent of such legends as Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, and Johnny Taylor. Charles’ impressive musical talents came to the forefront while playing electric guitar with such notable acts as the Staple Singers, Rufus Thomas, Little Johnny Taylor, Fenton Robinson, Larry Totsie Davis, and playing bass with Freddie King. Although Charles Woods has traveled the world and performed with a number of world-class entertainers, he has remained true to his roots, his heritage, and his hometown of Little Rock where he still entertains to this day and is known to his fans and his musical peers as the “Best Kept Secret in Arkansas.” Charles Woods is a musician’s musician.
Charles just released a brand new record, “Something In The Dark.” This record highlights some of the finest musicians in Arkansas; Tonya Leeks, Jess Hoggard. Eric Ware, Ivan Yarbough, Cecil Parker, and Tim Anthony, among others.
THE WITTENBERG HERITAGE focus of Architecture & Design Network discussion this evening at 6pm at Arkansas Arts Center
In 1919, young architects George Wittenberg and Lawson Delony co-founded the firm that would become, under the visionary leadership of George’s son Gordon, one of the largest, longest-lasting and most influential architectural firms in the state. During his thirty-year tenure (1952-1982) as head of Wittenberg Delony & Davidson Architects, the company had a significant role in the design of many city landmarks, winning more than thirty awards for its work. The Arkansas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects awarded its most prestigious prize, the Gold Medal, to Gordon Wittenberg in recognition of his many contributions to the profession. In view of his outstanding contributions to the field, he was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, an honor accorded a select few.
This evening (February 23) the Architecture and Design Network will feature Gordon Wittenberg in a program entitled THE WITTENBERG HERITAGE. It begins at 6pm at the Arkansas Arts Center with a reception at 5:30pm preceding it.
Wittenberg will be joined by his colleagues in reflection on the firm’s nearly one hundred year history, a heritage that shaped spaces and places throughout the state and beyond. THE WITTENBERG HERITAGE a group presentation, chaired by Gordon Ducksworth, AIA, Senior Associate/Project Architect, Wittenberg, Delony & Davidson Inc. Architects, Little Rock, AR. Like other Architecture and Design Network (ADN) lectures, THE WITTENBERG HERITAGE is free and open to the public. The Architecture and Design Network (ADN), a non-profit organization, is supported in part by the Arkansas Arts Center, the Central Arkansas Section of the Arkansas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture and friends in the community.
This weekend the Rep presents An Evening with Rebecca Wells and the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
This weekend, February 19 to 21, join actor and author Rebecca Wells for the debut performance of a new solo work for theater based on her #1 New York Times bestseller Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.
Wells looks back at her beloved tale of lifelong friendship in the Deep South, and sees it anew. Rebecca brings the sassy, touching girls of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood into vivid view, then with humor and unflinching honesty chats about how she sees her own work twenty years later, sharing her changing views on racism, feminism and life. An utterly original storyteller, Rebecca will fold you into her inner circle, share the secrets behind the Divine Secrets, make you laugh, invite you to feel, and leave you talking. Intimate, hilarious, and unforgettable, this show has its fingers on the pulse.
A classic Southern tale of hilarity set in a sleepy Louisiana parish, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood follows a group of lifelong friends who stage a rather unorthodox intervention to help a young playwright unravel the truth about her complicated, eccentric mother. Along her journey, she finds forgiveness and acceptance, and learns to let go of her painful past.
Performances are at 7pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Explore THE ODYSSEY for two weekends at the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre
For two weekends only, the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre will bring Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey, vibrantly alive in a fusion of music, dance, mime, masks and choral effects as part of the theatre’s Studio Show series. Running February 19-28, The Odyssey tells the story of King Odysseus who enduring Poseidon’s wrath, faces witches, sirens and a cyclops as he wends his way—literally through Hell and high water—to his home and the long-suffering love of his Queen Penelope.
The Odyssey will run February 19-28; Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.
John Isner directed The Odyssey. It was adapted for the stage by Keith Smith who also designed the set. Costumes are designed by Erin Larkin, lighting design by Mike Stacks, properties design by Miranda Young, music composed by Lori Isner, choreography by Erin Fowler and Nicole Jovanovic is the stage manager.
The cast includes:
Paige Carpenter of Lonsdale as Penelope;
Aleigha Morton of Beebe as Calliope;
Margaret Lowry of Little Rock as Erato;
Samantha L. Harrington of Little Rock as Athena;
Mark Hansen of Little Rock as Odysseus;
Nick Spencer of Nashville, TN, as Poseidon;
Richard Nelson of Little Rock as Elpenor;
Geoffrey Eggleston of Sioux Falls, SD, as Telemachus and
Jeremy Matthey of North Little Rock as Eurylochus.
Show times: February 19-28; Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.
Ticket prices: $10 General admission, $8 for Arkansas Arts Center members
Best enjoyed by children in third grade and up.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit ArkansasArtsCenter.org/theatre
10pm tonight – South on Main After-Hours features Bijoux and Tawanna Campbell
Tonight (February 19) at 10pm at South on Main – Bijoux and Tawanna Campbell headline another After-Hours concert.
Two of Little Rock’s powerhouse vocalists will grace the stage for a night of music entertainment. Bijoux, a sultry, soul singer adept in various styles, has made a name for herself in the music scene, both locally and in surrounding areas.
Bijoux’s jovial spirit, endearing vocals, vibrant entertaining, and musical versatility make her a perfect artist for any atmosphere! Tawanna Campbell has been a beacon, leading the way for Arkansas’ growing music scene, and is an all-encompassing performer. Her musical acumen is eclectic and dynamic. Tawanna possesses an amazing stage presence and a style all her own. Backed by some of Little Rock’s greatest musicians, the two will deliver an eclectic mixture of your greatest tunes from almost every genre of music.
Doors open at 4:00 PM, show begins at 10:00 PM. Wristbands can be purchased for $15 after doors open. Call ahead to reserve a table (501) 244-9660. Call (501) 952-7501 for additional information about this event.
“The Good Story: Inspiring Leadership” is focus of Clinton School program this evening
Leigh Hafrey, author and a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, has worked in professional ethics for over two decades, with a focus on ethical leadership, teaching college courses at Harvard Business School and MIT and consulting for private organizations around the world. For 17 years, along with his wife, Sandra Naddaff, Hafrey was a co-Master of Mather House, one of the 12 residential complexes in Harvard College.
Hafrey is a sought after expert on the relationship between storytelling and inspiring leadership. He has been featured at conferences all over the world discussing the connection between leadership and the ability to tell a good story. As he told The Power of Storytelling in 2015:
Storytelling supplies a narrative logic to events past, present, and future. Presentations by definition work with the principles of storytelling: plot, place, character, conflict and resolution. Some people do it better than others, and those individuals reach leadership positions in part because of their skill as storytellers. Think Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Aung San Suu Kyi, Muhammad Yunus and Vaclav Havel.
In his most recent book, War Stories: Fighting, Competing, Imagining, Leading, Hafrey covers the arc of military American self-perception on the screen, in print, and in public conversation over the past 20 years.
Final 2 Days of Coca Cola exhibit at Clinton Center
The Clinton Presidential Center celebrates the art and history of the Coca-Cola Bottle’s 100-year anniversary during its upcoming temporary exhibit, Coca-Cola: An American Original. The exhibit closes on Monday, February 15.
The exhibit is divided into two sections and occupies both the Garden View room, located on the first floor, and the Temporary Gallery, located on the third floor.
Illustrations of an American Original will be located in the Garden View Room and will have as its focus the now-iconic images and advertising campaigns that have helped define the Coca-Cola brand. Illustrations will include three original paintings by Norman Rockwell, an American artist who created a total of six paintings that were ultimately used in finished Coca-Cola ads. The three others, known as the “Missing Rockwells,” have yet to be located. Additionally, Illustrations feature several images of Santa Claus, including the first Coca-Cola Santa painted by Fred Mizen that appeared in The Saturday Evening Post in December of 1930, as well as nine original Haddon Sundblom illustrations.
An American Original at 100 is housed in the Temporary Gallery, bringing together historic bottle “firsts.” It features a 13-bottle chronology, including an original glass bottle produced in 1902, a replica of the prototype contour bottle created by the Root Glass Company in 1915, and a prototype of the aluminum bottle that debuted in 2008.
Also, the exhibit showcases pop art by Andy Warhol—including videos, photographs, prints, and other original works—and folk art by Howard Finster, who incorporated the Coca-Cola bottle into dozens of his pieces over his prolific career. Another portion of this exhibit is dedicated to American presidents and their connection to the global brand. An American Original at 100 was recently on display at the High Museum of Art Atlanta.
In addition to Illustrations of an American Original and An American Original at 100, the Center is also displaying a full-size antique Coca-Cola delivery truck produced in 1949 by the White Motor Company and a spectacular hanging installation comprised of more than 750 3D-printed, ribbon-shaped interpretations of the bottle’s classic shape.
Coca-Cola: An American Original is the Center’s 42nd temporary exhibit. It will close on February 15, 2016. Admission to temporary exhibits is included in the price of Library admission.
Broadway Rocks the Arkansas Symphony this weekend
The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra welcomes Christiane Noll, Capathia Jenkins and Rob Evan for a weekend of Broadway music backed by the ASO.
Under the direction of Associate Conductor Geoffrey Robson, this high energy show brings together exciting vocalists from the Broadway stage performing selections from rock and contemporary Broadway hits. Wicked, The Lion King, Mamma Mia, Rent, The Wiz, The Phantom of the Opera – and many more of your favorites from the stage are featured on this exciting show for all ages!
Rocks Overture (arr. Fleischer)
Everybody Rejoice (The Wiz/Smalls)
This Is The Moment (Jekyll and Hyde/Wildhorn)
Good Morning Baltimore (Hairspray/Shaiman)
Jersey Boys Medley
Total Eclipse Circle of Life (Lion King/John)
Proud Mary (Fogerty)
Jesus Christ Superstar Overture (Lloyd Webber)
Seasons of Love (Rent/Larsen)
You Can’t Stop the Beat (Hairspray/Shaiman)
Come Sail Away
For Good (Wicked/Schwartz)
I Will Survive
Defying Gravity (Wicked/Schwartz)
Mamma Mia Medley (Andersson/Ulvaeus)
And I Am Tellin’ You (Dreamgirls/Krieger)
Phantom of the Opera (Phantom/Lloyd Webber)
Music of the Night (Phantom/Lloyd Webber)
All programs, dates and guest artists subject to change.
Capathia Jenkins, created the role of ‘Medda’ in the hit Disney production of Newsies on Broadway. She made her Broadway debut in The Civil War. She then starred in the Off-Broadway 2000 revival of Godspell. She returned to Broadway in The Look of Love and was critically acclaimed for her performances of the Bacharach/David hits. Ms. Jenkins then created the roles of ‘The Washing Machine’ in Caroline, Or Change and ‘Frieda May’ in Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me, where she sang ‘Stop the Show’ and brought the house down every night.
Christiane Noll was nominated for both the 2010 Tony Award and Drama Desk Award and won a Helen Hayes Award for her portrayal of Mother on Broadway in the Kennedy Center Revival of Ragtime. She made her Broadway debut starring in Jekyll & Hyde, creating the role of Emma. Ms. Noll received an Ovation Award for her comedic turn as Hope Cladwell in the National Tour of Urinetown, wowed audiences again as Vanna Vane in the new musical The Mambo Kings, soared as Jane Smart in the American premiere of The Witches of Eastwick, and most recently received another Drama Desk nomination for her work in Chaplin.
Rob Evan has performed in seven leading roles on the New York Stage including the original Broadway cast of Jekyll & Hyde, playing the title roles for three years and over 1,000 performances worldwide. He also appeared on Broadway as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, Kerchak in Disney’s Tarzan, “The Dentist” in Little Shop of Horrors, and Count von Krolock in Jim Steinman’s Dance of the Vampires. Off-Broadway, Rob created the roles of The Dancin’ Kid in Johnny Guitar and the hero Miles Hendon in Neil Berg’s m.
Your Heart will be filled with ART at tonight’s 2nd Friday Art Night
It is 2nd Friday Art Night again. From 5pm to 8pm (times may vary at individual locations), a variety of museums and galleries downtown are open with free events to enjoy art, music and exhibits.
Mosaic Templars Cultural Center – Opening reception for “I WALKED ON WATER TO MY HOMELAND” FEATURING WORKS BY DELITA MARTIN (6pm to 8pm)
“I Walked on Water to My Homeland” is a series of mixed media works that explore the power of the narrative impulse. These works capture oral traditions that are firmly based in factual events and bring them to life using layers of various printmaking, drawing, sewing, collage and printing techniques.
The opening will feature an artist talk, refreshments and live entertainment by Acoustix with Rod P. featuring Bijoux.
Matt McLeod Fine Art – (5pm to 8pm)
A chance to see the art at the gallery and perhaps pick up a Valentine’s gift.
Historic Arkansas Museum – Opening reception for ARKANSAS CONTEMPORARIES: THEN, NOW, NEXT (5pm to 8pm)
Check out the new exhibit and enjoy a free evening of art, history, Museum Store shopping and live music by Shannon Wurst!
Enjoy a craft cocktail by Pink House Alchemy(They will also have Pink Lemonade)
Enter to win a box of chocolates from Cocoa Rouge-The winner will be announced at 6:30 pm (must be present to win)
“Arkansas Contemporaries: Then, Now, Next” – The museum’s Trinity Gallery for Arkansas Artists and Second Floor Gallery for Emerging Artists focus on exhibitions by contemporary Arkansas artists. This exhibit features exemplary selections from the museum’s permanent collection and reflects upon the work of the talented Arkansans who have been represented in these galleries over the past ten years and a glimpse to future exhibitions. Featured artworks in this exhibit represent important points in the careers of contemporary Arkansas artists like Bryan Massey, Warren Criswell, Katherine Strause, John Harlan Norris, Katherine Rutter, Grace Mikell Ramsey and others. Exhibit continues through May 8, 2016.
Old State House Museum – Felice Farrell, cello (5pm to 8pm)
Join the Old State House as Arkansas Symphony Orchestra cellist Felice Farrell performs solo works for cello by the well-known 18th century German composer Johann Sebastian Bach and 20th century Spanish cellist and composer Gaspar Cassado. The Old State House Museum is one of several downtown locations that hosts this evening of entertainment and exhibits. While here, shop the Museum Store. Visitors can ride the trolley to visit other Second Friday venues, including the Historic Arkansas Museum.
Butler Center for Arkansas Studies – Opening reception for PAINTING 360: A LOOK AT CONTEMPORARY PANORAMIC PAINTING (5pm to 8pm)
On view through Saturday, April 30, artists whose work is featured in Painting 360° include Marcia Clark, Nicholas Evans-Cato, Christopher Evans, Amer Kobaslija, Jackie Lima, Matthew Lopas, Carrie O’Coyle, Dick Termes, and Melissa Cowper Smith.
Featured artist: Julie Holt, an artist who handbuilds clay objects and vessels.
Featured musician: The Rolling Blackouts
Sessions at South on Main features The Salty Dogs tonight
The Salty Dogs take to the South on Main stage!
The Salty Dogs are a four piece band that enjoys playing and recording original country music. The Little Rock based band has released 3 full-length studio albums including their current EP – Too old to fight. The band was formed in 2003 and was named the “Best Original Band in Arkansas” by the Arkansas Times. Since then, the band has played countless shows sharing the stage with such likes of Junior Brown, Hank Williams, Jr., Old Crow Medicine Show, The Gourds, Pete Anderson, David Rawlings, Robert Earl Keen, Kinky Friedman, Kelly Willis and many more.
The band’s music has been featured on TLC‘s hit TV show, Trading Spaces, on the award winning Sundance Channel hit show, Rectify, and most recently the motion picture release, Valley Inn.
Sessions with The Salty Dogs starts at 8:30 pm on Wednesday, February 10.
Mardi Gras on South Main
Join in one of Little Rock’s most beloved festivals, the SoMa Mardi Gras Parade on South Main!
At noon today (Saturday, February 6)
Floats, bands, stilt walkers, puppets…the parade will have it all! Also featuring music and beer in the Bernice Garden, and of course the highly anticipated Root Cafe Beard Judging to be held after the parade. Special events will be going on all along South Main, so come celebrate Mardi Gras in SoMa!
SoMa Mardi Gras 2016 events:
The Bernice Garden will be hosting the Root Café’s 4th Annual Beard Judging and a Mardi Gras Biergarten featuring Stone’s Throw, Lost Forty, Flyway and Diamond Bear. The Lemon Cakery, Hot Rod’s Weiners and Kincaid’s Coffee will also be set up.
The Green Corner Store- free Mardi Gras face painting from 11-12
Customers in Mardi Gras outfits from recycled materials can register for a great door prize.
Loblolly Creamery- creating a special Mardi Gras ice cream flavor and will have Mardi Gras sundae specials. Also will have an ice cream photo booth.
Root Café- The 4th annual Little Rock Beard Contest judging after the parade at the Bernice Garden. Judges will be Mayor Mark Stodola, Capi Peck of Trio’s and Amber Brewer of Yellow Rocket Concepts. Renee Shapiro will emcee.
Boulevard Bakehouse- Mardi Gras cookies and king cakes for sale.
Sweet Home & clement- free Mardi Gras beads, hot apple cider and gingersnaps.
South Main Creative- free make-and-take recycled craft workshop from 2:00-3:00.
Midtown Billiards- beads and étoufeé.
Esse Purse Museum and Shop- Flyway beer on tap, sponsored by Tonic Media. 10-50% off select items.
Pianist to celebrate classic and contemporary in UALR recital Feb. 5
University of Arkansas at Little Rock professor Linda Holzer will perform a piano recital, “Ear-Opener! A Celebration of the Known and the New,” at 7:30 p.m Friday, Feb. 5, in Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall.
Admission is free and open to the public.
Holzer enjoys presenting concerts that combine familiar repertoire with works that “deserve to be heard more often.”
Accompanied by baritone Ferris Allen, Holzer will open the concert with the premiere of a poignant new work, “Prayers and Blessings,” by composer Gwyneth Walker.
It is a setting of three texts: “Ubi Caritas,” “Lord Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace,” and “Gaelic Blessing.”
“We think this piece is a musical antidote for a turbulent world,” said Holzer.
The remainder of the program will feature solos by Holzer including the majestic piano Sonata in E Minor by celebrated composer and Little Rock native, Florence Price.
She will also perform selections by Scarlatti, Mozart, and Bach.
Holzer, a UALR faculty member since 1995, is an active soloist and chamber musician who has played in 30 states, and most recently, abroad in Melbourne, Australia. She was a featured performer at the Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference held at the Victoria College of the Arts. An advocate for contemporary music, Holzer was featured in performance and as host on a special KLRE broadcast last summer, “A Celebration of American Music.”
For more information, contact the Music Department at 501.569.3294.
National Park Service Director, Local Leaders to Speak at Black History Month Town Hall Meeting
Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site in partnership with Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and the City of Little Rock, invite the public to join them for a Black History Month Town Hall Meeting entitled Arkansas’s Past-N-Motion to be held at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center at 5:30pm on February 2, 2016.
National Park Service Agency Director Jonathan Jarvis will serve as the guest speaker, and will discuss the National Parks Centennial Celebration, his tour to several of our nation’s civil rights-related historic sites and parks, and the importance of the National Park Service’s role in preserving and sharing our country’s history for future generations. After his remarks, a panel discussion with local individuals will discuss several local institutions, and their roles and recent initiatives in preserving and sharing our city’s African American history, and its unique place in our nation’s civil rights movement. This discussion will feature State Senator Joyce Elliott as moderator, and feature local panelists: Constance Sarto, Member, Mayor’s Tourism Commission; Dr. John Kirk – Director, UALR Institute on Race and Ethnicity; and Charles Stewart, Chairman, Arkansas Black Hall of Fame.
This Town Hall Meeting will highlight the resources of Civil Right institutions both from a national and local perspective, and the role of the National Park Service as the nation’s storyteller as it prepares to embark upon its Centennial 100th Birthday celebration on August 25, 2016.
During Director Jarvis’ time in Arkansas, he plans to visit Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, engage Youth Leadership Academy members from Central High School as well as elementary students around the new White House youth initiative to get all 4th graders and their families to experience the places that are home to our country’s natural treasures, rich history, and vibrant culture FREE OF CHARGE! His visit to Arkansas will mark the start of Director Jarvis’ month-long endeavor to promote Civil Rights Sites during Black History Month.
They have also created the hashtag #ARPastNMotion to encourage local community groups to share information regarding any upcoming events relating to Black History Month.
For more information, please contact Enimini Ekong at (501) 396-3006 or Enimini_Ekong@nps.gov, or visit www.LittleRock.com/NPS.
Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site is located at 2120 Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive, diagonally across the street from Central High School. The visitor center is open from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Sunday. Admission is free. For more information call (501) 374-1957 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Firebird Suite headlines ASO Masterworks Concert this weekend
The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Philip Mann, Music Director and Conductor, presents the first 2016 concert of the Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Series: Firebird Suite, 7:30 PM Saturday, January 30 and 3:00 PM Sunday, January 31, 2016, at the Maumelle Performing Arts Center.
Under the baton of music director Philip Mann, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will perform Rossini’s La gazza ladra: Overture, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64 – featuring ASO co-concertmaster Kiril Laskarov, Visconti’s Black Bend and Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. The Masterworks Series is sponsored by the Stella Boyle Smith Trust.
Concert Conversations – All concert ticket holders are invited to a pre-concert lecture an hour before each Masterworks concert. These talks feature insights from the Maestro and guest artists, and feature musical examples to enrich the concert experience.
Tickets are $19, $35, $49, and $58; active duty military and student tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at www.ArkansasSymphony.org; at the Maumelle Performing Arts Center box office beginning 90 minutes prior to a concert; or by phone at 501-666-1761, ext. 100. All Arkansas students grades K-12 are admitted to Sunday’s matinee free of charge with the purchase of an adult ticket using the Entergy Kids’ Ticket, downloadable at the ASO website.
Kiril Laskarov, ASO Concertmaster for 17 years, steps to the front of the orchestra to perform Mendelssohn’s beloved Violin Concerto. The tradition of the concertmaster as a featured soloist with the orchestra is long and healthy, and the ASO is proud to present Mr. Laskarov with this work. Featured soloist Kiril Laskarov will perform the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto on this “golden period” Stradivarius violin. These instruments are world famous and highly sought-after for there unique sound and quality. “Le Brun” was notably played by the famed violin virtuoso Niccolò Paganini.
Composer Dan Visconti has spent the week in Little Rock for residency activities, including private lessons with high school students, presentations to classes, and speaking engagements.
About Arkansas Symphony Orchestra
The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 50th season in 2015-2016, under the leadership of Music Director Philip Mann. ASO is the resident orchestra of Robinson Center Music Hall, and performs more than sixty concerts each year for more than 165,000 people through its Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Series, ACXIOM Pops LIVE! Series, River Rhapsodies Chamber Music Series, and numerous concerts performed around the state of Arkansas, in addition to serving central Arkansas through numerous community outreach programs and bringing live symphonic music education to over 26,000 school children and over 200 schools.
Final day to see OUR AMERICA exhibit at the Arkansas Arts Center
Today is the final day to enjoy the Arkansas Arts Center exhibition Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art. This major collection of modern and contemporary Latino art from the Smithsonian American Art Museum has been here since October.
The exhibition Our America includes 93 works in all media by 72 artists who participated in various artistic styles and movements, including abstract expressionism; activist, conceptual and performance art and classic American genres such as landscape, portraiture and scenes of everyday life.
Our America presents the rich and varied contributions of Latino artists in the United States since the mid-20th century, when the concept of a collective Latino identity began to emerge. The exhibition is drawn entirely from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s pioneering collection of Latino art.
Our America features bilingual labels for each work and a Spanish-language website created by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Select works also feature podcasts with the artist’s commentary. Museum goers can simply call a number, scan a QR code or visit a website for more background on the artist and background on each piece—in English and Spanish.
Artists featured in the exhibition reflect the rich diversity of Latino communities in the United States. Our Americashowcases artists of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban and Dominican descent, as well as other Latin American groups with deep roots in the United States. By presenting works by artists of different generations and regions, the exhibition reveals recurring themes among artists working across the country.
The 72 artists featured in the exhibition are ADÁL, Manuel Acevedo, Elia Alba, Olga Albizu, Carlos Almaraz, Jesse Amado, Asco (Harry Gamboa Jr., Gronk, Willie Herrón and Patssi Valdez), Luis Cruz Azaceta, Myrna Báez, Guillermo Bejarano, Charles “Chaz” Bojórquez, María Brito, Margarita Cabrera, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Melesio “Mel” Casas, Leonard Castellanos, Oscar R. Castillo, José Cervantes, Enrique Chagoya, Roberto Chavez, Carlos A. Cortéz, Marcos Dimas, Ricardo Favela, Christina Fernandez, Teresita Fernández, iliana emilia garcía, Rupert García, Scherezade García, Carmen Lomas Garza, Ignacio Gomez, Ken Gonzales-Day, Hector González, Luis C. “Louie the Foot” González, Muriel Hasbun, Ester Hernandez, Judithe Hernández, Carmen Herrera, Carlos Irizarry, Luis Jiménez, Miguel Luciano, Emanuel Martinez, María Martínez-Cañas, Antonio Martorell, Ana Mendieta, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Franco Mondini-Ruiz, Delilah Montoya, Malaquias Montoya, Abelardo Morell, Jesús Moroles, Raphael Montañez Ortiz, Pepón Osorio, Amado M. Peña Jr., Chuck Ramirez, Paul Henry Ramirez, Sophie Rivera, Arturo Rodríguez, Freddy Rodríguez, Joseph Rodríguez, Frank Romero, Emilio Sánchez, Juan Sánchez, Jorge Soto Sánchez, Rafael Soriano, Ruben Trejo, Jesse Treviño, John M. Valadez, Alberto Valdés and Xavier Viramontes.
The exhibition is organized by E. Carmen Ramos, curator of Latino art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Generous support for the exhibition has been provided by Altria Group, the Honorable Aida M. Alvarez, Judah Best, The James F. Dicke Family Endowment, Sheila Duignan and Mike Wilkins, Tania and Tom Evans, Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino, The Michael A. and the Honorable Marilyn Logsdon Mennello Endowment, Henry R. Muñoz III, Wells Fargo and Zions Bank. Additional significant support was provided by The Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center. Support for “Treasures to Go,” the museum’s traveling exhibition program, comes from The C.F. Foundation, Atlanta.
Our America is sponsored in Arkansas by Donna and Mack McLarty, The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston, Consulate of Mexico in Little Rock and Alan DuBois Contemporary Craft Fund. Media sponsors include ¡Hola! Arkansas and Telemundo Arkansas.