It was a scrap book project in my middle school civics class that I was introduced to the creative process which allowed me to tell a story by simply collecting, cutting, pasting and using word calligraphy on a page I designed. This scrap book activity informed the collage methods and experience I use in my current journal books as well as art works which are often filled with numerous clippings and objects from my travels and life adventures.
Iconography, as a branch of art history, interests me as I study various types of traditional icon images, African symbols and Asian calligraphy to determine their use for my own personal interpretations of content and subjects. For Birds of a Feather… I apply both calligraphy and symbol drawings as a base foundation creating juxtaposed layering of pencil and marker mingled with a large cutout image of a 1908 Print selected from my personal collection titled “Black Birds” displaying black children sitting in a tree. Additional round, geometric-shaped images of eggs, birds and people surround and balance this tree of children. Stamps trail and dart over the entire canvas to help introduce and support a theme. The overall color of the canvas is determined by the images that are collaged.
One of the most significant aspects of my collage processes is the longevity or archival breadth of each art work which is anchored in a patient application of adhesive techniques to achieve a flat surface. Because I approach my work much similar to constructing and completing a puzzle, I am comfortable with the beginning and assemblage of my collage art work. However, the final question is when do I know to end or simply stop working on this art piece?
This is an answer and approach I relied on as I meandered though my concept and dialogue that I used to create Birds of theFeather… I finished this collage like eating a bowl of pot licker with a chunk of cornbread. I sopped the juice until the bread was gone then I stopped and drank the remaining juice.
I am a process artist whose reward is the journey. My media of choice is printmaking, specifically collagraphs, created by the manipulation of matboard, trash, found objects, with the addition of a variety of acrylic paint and varnishes. Led by the unconscious and accidental texture, each composition is an exploration and celebration of texture and mark-making. I fell in love with this style of collagraph printmaking as each step is part of an ever expanding work of multiple layers and possibilities, from the development of the plate that becomes its own work of art, to the use of intaglio printmaking techniques where the textures within the plate are finally revealed through printing, and often further developed with the addition of mixed media.
Youth is number two in edition of five. The creation of this piece grew out my interest in creating a sculpture that portrays someone who is still growing and maturing. Its design approach is that of a wild Arkansas vine growing and developing as a young woman. Nestled in the upper left side of the figure is the soul of the work – a small cast bronze songbird that has 23 karat gold leaf on the surface.
This work was developed through a basic drawing and then translated to a computer drawing using the 3-D Rhino computer program. From there the work was further developed into a more complex vine-oriented figure that could be 3-D printed in numerous sizes. The first 3-D print of the figure was at a small scale of 7 inches. When I saw the figure realized in this scale, I had a strong desire to have it scaled up to life-size. During the summer of 2017 I was able to secure funding for the life size 3-D print that would be in five pieces. These 3-D prints are created from a PLA plastic known as polylactic acid which is a biodegradable plastic that is derived from corn starch. Once printed the pieces were coated with a thin layer of sculpting wax and invested in a plaster and sand mold. From there the mold forms were put into a kiln and fired at 1000 degrees Fahrenheit for five days and then removed to have molten bronze poured into the cavity of the molds. Once the molds were cooled, the five pieces were cleaned, assembled, sanded, sandblasted, colored, gold leafed and placed on the cor-ten steel base.
The Arkansas Arts Center is pleased to announce Reimagining the Arkansas Arts Center: Campaign for Our Cultural Future, a $128 million special fundraising campaign that will realize a stunning new Arts Center for the 21st Century.
The project will result in a comprehensive reenvisioning of the Arts Center by renowned architect Jeanne Gang and her practice, Studio Gang. The new Arts Center will include a revitalized landscape, designed by Kate Orff and SCAPE, which will expand the connection between the architecture and MacArthur Park. Both Jeanne Gang and Kate Orff are MacArthur fellows who have received prestigious MacArthur “Genius” grants. The Campaign will also provide transition and opening support, and endowment funds. Scheduled for completion in early 2022, the project will strengthen the Arkansas Arts Center as the region’s pre-eminent cultural and arts education institution for visual and performing arts.
AS OF THE PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT ON MAY 15, 2019, CAMPAIGN CO-CHAIRS HARRIET AND WARREN STEPHENS ANNOUNCED THAT THE CAMPAIGN HAS RAISED $118 MILLION OF ITS $128 MILLION GOAL TO-DATE.
The campaign includes an early commitment of $31,245,000 from the City of Little Rock, which is being generated through a hotel-tax revenue bond. Private fundraising for the project has nearly tripled the City’s commitment. Early lead support has come from many important partners, including: Windgate Foundation, which has donated a lead campaign gift of $35 million; Harriet and Warren Stephens, who have made a transformational lead gift to the Campaign; Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust, which has made a lead gift of $5 million. The Campaign has now garnered the early support of twenty-one individuals and foundations, along with the State of Arkansas, who are contributing significant gifts of $1 million or more to the project. These families and institutions will be recognized as 21st Century Founders for their tremendous generosity.
Twenty families and foundations have contributed early leadership donations of $100,000 or more, and there are others who have made contributions. With the involvement of donors from the community and throughout the state and region, the Arkansas Arts Center can realize this ambitious goal. Every gift is critical to raising the remaining funds needed to meet the goal, and every campaign donor will be recognized in a special way. There are recognition opportunities for donors at every gift level. Please contact Kelly Fleming at (501) 396-0345 for information on the campaign and donor recognition programs.
“A REMARKABLE GROUP HAS COME TOGETHER WITH A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF THE IMPORTANCE OF REIMAGINING THE ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER FOR THE 21ST CENTURY,” SAID CAMPAIGN CO-CHAIR HARRIET STEPHENS. “WE WILL NOW REACH OUT TO THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY AND STATE FOR SUPPORT TO REALIZE THIS ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME PROJECT. TOGETHER, WE CAN ENSURE THAT THE ARKANSAS ARTS CENTER IS A THRIVING AND INFLUENTIAL CULTURAL INSTITUTION FOR PRESENT AND FUTURE GENERATIONS.”
Donors to the project are supporting a design that features new spaces for gathering and community events, coupled with renovations to the existing building, to create dynamic new connections among the thriving education, exhibition, and theatre programs. New civic spaces will welcome visitors and community members alike, inviting them to explore the Center’s impressive programs and collections in an exciting, energy-efficient, accessible, and state-of-the-art facility.
A two-story atrium will extend through the existing museum complex to weave together the Galleries, Museum School, and Children’s Theatre. At the North end, a Cultural Living Room will act as a dynamic new community event and gathering space that will activate the building beyond business hours. A new visitor Entrance Hall will bring heightened importance to the historic 1937 Museum of Fine Arts facade. At the South end, a new restaurant will invite visitors into MacArthur Park, with shaded outdoor seating, new walking paths, a great lawn, and landscape features that work together with the new architecture to become the heartbeat of an enlivened neighborhood and city.
Off this new main axis, major renovations to the existing building will create a world-class visitor experience by amplifying the impact and accessibility of each of the Center’s programs:
State-of-the-art Galleries for the AAC’s world-class collection and significant traveling exhibitions, and cutting-edge collection storage facilities to preserve and maintain the collection.
Renovated facilities for the Museum School with increased education, amenity, and display spaces to improve the student experience and bring student work into visual dialogue with the collections on display elsewhere in the Arts Center.
An updated Children’s Theatre, which includes new lighting, sound and rigging systems, control rooms, audience seats, an expansion of the black box theatre, increased space for education programs, dressing rooms, and the scene shop, and the addition of a costume shop.
The Arts Center plans for a fall 2019 groundbreaking. During construction, from Fall 2019 through its planned Grand Opening in early 2022, the Arts Center will relocate to the Riverdale Shopping Center at 2510 Cantrell Road in Little Rock.
Good art is the result of intelligent decision making.
– Professor Tarrence Corbin
As an artist/educator, these words often come into play when I am looking at art, thinking about art, and making art. A native Arkansan, I grew up hearing about Delta Exhibition from my high school art teacher, Ms. Mary Ann Stafford. Later, when I enrolled at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, my college professors, John Howard, Tarrence Corbin, Henri Linton and Earnest Davidson, also reinforced how important this show was in the state, region and nation. All would be so excited about entering this exhibition.
However, it was the late Tarrence Corbin who explained to me the importance of this exhibition and how it launched his art career. Professor Corbin won the grand prize in 1975 with a painting entitled Homage to Alberti Landscape #5.
As I traveled with him back and forth to the Arkansas Arts Center where he taught evening classes, he introduced me to Townsend Wolfe, Al Allen, Aj Smith, Kathleen Holder and Jack White. Corbin often talked about how impressed he was with the Arkansas Arts Center’s collection of works on paper. Later, I found out it is considered to be one of the best collections in the country.
Continuing the tradition started so many years ago, I believe this year’s Delta exhibition brings a different energy, different synergy, and different sound that speaks to the signs of the times. There are many provocative works among this year’s entrants. Within the entries you will find works that challenge one’s intellect on what art is and what art can be, other works that are also quite painterly. It is indeed an honor and blessing to be the juror for the 61st Annual Delta Exhibition.
Arts Center announces the award-winning works of the 61st Annual Delta Exhibition, on view May 3 through June
juror Kevin Cole selected 50 artworks by 49 artists, representing 10 states to
be featured in the exhibition. From the selected works, Cole named a
Grand Award winner, two Delta Award winners and five Honorable Mentions. A
Contemporaries Award winner was selected by the Contemporaries, an auxiliary
membership group of the Arkansas Arts Center.
Grand Award –
Mabry Turner of
Little Rock, Ark., for American Made: Greed, Lust, & Lost Love
Delta Awards –
Scinthya Edwards of Helena, Ark., for Birds of a Feather…
Heather Christine Guenard of Cabot Ark., for LV-426
Julie Darling of
Memphis, Tenn., for Obscurity Often
Dylan Eakin of
Seattle, Wash., for Portrait in
Mark Lewis of Tulsa,
Okla., for Head (SP)
Mark Payne of Pine
Bluff, Ark., for Denial
Sandra Sell of
Little Rock, Ark., for Wood Line
Award – $250 prize
Michael Warrick of Little Rock, Ark., for Youth
the tradition started so many years ago, I believe this year’s Delta Exhibition brings a different
energy, different synergy, and different sound that speaks to the signs of the
times,” Cole wrote in his juror statement. “There are many provocative works
among this year’s entrants. Within the entries you will find works that
challenge one’s intellect on what art is and what art can be, other works that
are also quite painterly.”
Showcasing artists living and working in Arkansas and its border
states, the Annual
Delta Exhibition presents a vision of contemporary art in the
American South. Founded in 1958, the exhibition features work in an array of
media to provide a snapshot of the Delta region now – while reflecting on the
region’s strong traditions of craftsmanship and observation.
year, the Delta Exhibition provides a
glimpse at some of the most important work being created in this part of the
country now,” said Brian J. Lang, Arkansas Arts Center Chief Curator and
Windgate Foundation Curator of Contemporary Craft. “We’re thrilled to be able
to present this noteworthy and dynamic selection of works at the Arts Center
the show’s juror, is an Atlanta-based artist best known for
sculptural works, paintings, and intentional use of color. An Arkansas native, Cole’s work
was featured in the 42nd Annual
Delta Exhibition (1999) at the Arkansas Arts Center. His work can be found
in notable public and private collections across the country, including the
Dayton Art Institute, the High Museum of Art, and the National Museum of
African American History and Culture. His work can also be found in the
Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection; his mixed-media work Touch by Faith III is currently on view
in POP! Out of the Vault at the
Arkansas Arts Center. Cole has been a
member of AfriCOBRA since 2003 and was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of
Fame in 2018.
Children’s Theatre Restaged to feature community-focused productions as lights go down in MacArthur Park theater
While the Children’s Theatre at
the Arkansas Arts Center undergoes a much-needed renovation, Children’s Theatre Restaged will bring
the magic of live theatre to stages across Arkansas.
In this reimagined format, the
Children’s Theatre will expand its touring capacity while the Arts Center’s
MacArthur Park facility undergoes its major renovation and expansion project. The Hobbit, on stage April 26 – May 12,
will be the last Main Stage production in the current MacArthur Park building.
Main Stage shows will resume in the Arkansas Arts Center’s renovated theater in
Children’s Theatre on Tour, part
of the Arts Center’s Statewide ArtsReach program, currently serves more than
35,000 students and families in communities across Arkansas with three
traveling productions every year. In this expanded format, Children’s Theatre
Restaged will allow the Arts Center to reach even more students and families
across the state with professional, educational live theatre experiences.
Through this expanded program, literary-based theatre
productions will continue to travel to schools, community centers and libraries
across Arkansas. The 2019–2020 Children’s Theatre on Tour season will include Wynken, Blynken and Nod: A Play for the Very
Young (September 24 – November 1), A
Christmas Carol (November 12 – December 20), The Arkansas Story Porch (January 14 – February 28), and The Wind in the Willows (April 7 – May
Children’s Theatre Restaged will also include additional public productions and performances at the Arkansas Arts Center’s temporary location in Riverdale. Details about additional programming will continue to be announced throughout 2019.
Children’s Theatre Restaged is
yet another piece of the Arts Center’s commitment to remaining accessible to
the community while its MacArthur Park building is under construction. The Arts
Center is committed to working with cultural partners
across the region to expand access to performing and visual art programming
while increasing programming reach.
“Children’s Theatre Restaged will
continue and grow our mission by inviting more families and more communities to
discover creativity on stage,” said Laine Harber, Interim Executive Director
and Chief Financial Officer. “The Arkansas Arts Center was imagined as a hub
for the arts in Arkansas. As we build our new home in MacArthur Park, we’re
excited to take this interlude to build our reach across the state.”
Theatre classes will also continue while the Arts Center
undergoes renovation. The 2019 Junior Arts Academy and Summer Theatre Academy
will be held at the MacArthur Park facility this summer. While the Arts
Center’s MacArthur Park building is under construction, those programs will
continue at other community locations.
Children’s Theatre staff will
work out of the Arkansas Arts Center’s temporary Riverdale space during the
renovation and expansion project along with the rest of the Arts Center staff. In
the Children’s Theatre’s 14,200 square-foot workshop, theatre staff will create
sets, sew costumes, and build props for the Arts Center’s touring productions
“Children’s Theatre Restaged is
the next chapter in the Children’s Theatre’s long history of bringing magic and
joy to the stage,” said Bradley Anderson, Children’s Theatre Artistic Director.
“We are excited to have this opportunity to expand our traveling programs and
we can’t wait for families across the state to delight in the productions we’re
A Christmas Carol November 12 – December 20, 2019 Clever, comedic, and kid-friendly, this holiday play breathes new life into
Dickens’ heart-warming classic. Schooled by a team of magical Christmas Eve
visitors, Ebenezer Scrooge, the most miserable of all misers, rediscovers the
true spirit of the season—one of love, generosity, and family. With these
touchstones of happiness revived in him, he wakes Christmas morning to find
himself “light as a feather, happy as an angel, and merry as a schoolboy!”
The Arkansas Story Porch January 14 – February 28, 2020 Old Winnie and Monroe Jones are the fun-lovin’est pair of Ozark hill folk
you’ll ever hope to meet. Nothing tickles them more than sitting on their
plank-board porch with friends and neighbors spinning yarns and singing songs
of Arkansas lore and Arkansas history. And guess what? You’re invited! So pull up
a seat and get ready to laugh and sing. It’s Arkansas story time, y’all!
The Wind in the Willows April 7 – May 15, 2020 For Mole, Rat, and Badger, springtime is a time for new life, new
friendships, and enjoying the simple pleasures—that is, until Mr. Toad of Toad
Hall careens onto the scene. After a madcap spree of weasel clashes and
motorcar crashes, it is up to the three friends to take the prodigal toad in
hand and rescue him from his most dangerous enemy—himself.
As the Arkansas Arts Center embarks on its transformational renovation project, Then, Now, Next: Reimagining the Arkansas Arts Center examines the Arts Center’s past, present and future. Beginning with the founding of the Fine Arts Club of Arkansas in 1914, the exhibition illustrates highlights from the Arts Center’s history, showcases current programs and offerings, and underscores the Arts Center’s ongoing commitment to the visual and performing arts. The exhibition is on view now through June 30, 2019.
The exhibition is structured in three sections: Then, Now and Next. Then features a detailed timeline of the Arts Center’s history, highlighting major milestones in the history of the building, collection, Children’s Theatre and Museum School. Now explores the Arts Center’s current programs and initiatives – from free Feed Your Mind Friday programs to Statewide ArtsReach touring programs to annual favorite exhibitions like Young Arkansas Artists, the Delta Exhibition, and the Collectors Show & Sale. Next features Studio Gang and SCAPE Studios’ concept designs for the Arkansas Arts Center’s transformational renovation, slated to open in 2022.
The story of the Arkansas Arts Center begins in 1914 with the establishment of the Fine Arts Club of Arkansas. By 1927, the club had more than 100 members, working toward the “promotion and perpetuation of the Fine Arts spirit in the State of Arkansas.” The club set its sights on building an art collection, a gallery to house the collection, and school of fine arts. In 1937, the Museum of Fine Arts, designed by H. Ray Burks and built by the Works Progress Administration, opened in what was then known as City Park. Remarks from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt were read at the dedication of the museum, in front of the north-facing Art Deco façade.
The current MacArthur Park building is made up of eight additions to the original 1937 structure. In 1957, the Little Rock City Council granted the museum authority to expand its physical footprint – and with that expansion, the Museum also expanded its mission and changed its name. Winthrop and Jeannette Edris Rockefeller joined the Fine Arts Club and Junior League of Little Rock to create an Arts Center that would serve the entire state. Rockefeller led the fundraising campaign for the new Arkansas Arts Center, emphasizing the role of residents in contributing to build an institution that world serve all of Arkansas. Businesses and individuals from all parts of the state – including children who saved nickels and dimes in jars – made donations. In 1960, the Little Rock Board of Directors adopted an ordinance officially establishing the Arkansas Arts Center, and the new building opened in 1963. The building was also renovated and/or expanded in 1971, 1981, 1982, 1989, 2000 and 2001. Then, Now, Next is on view in the Winthrop Rockefeller Gallery, which prominently features the original 1937 façade as a backdrop (it was built into the gallery walls as part of the 1982 expansion).
Then also notes significant developments in collections, exhibitions and programming history of the Arkansas Arts Center. The timeline highlights significant acquisitions to the Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection, including gifts from newspaperman Fred W. Alllsopp and the New York-based Samuel H. Kress Foundation in the 1930s, Abby Rockefeller Mauzé’s 1955 gift of Diego Rivera’s Dos Mujeres, and David Rockefeller’s 1963 gift of Odilon Redon’s Andromeda, among others. The timeline looks at the shift to collecting works on paper and contemporary craft under the direction of longtime executive director Townsend Wolfe. It traces the establishment of many of the Arts Center’s signature exhibitions – the Delta Exhibition in 1958, Young Arkansas Artists in 1961, National Drawing Invitational in 1985 and National Objects Invitational in 1987. The timeline also looks at the introduction of important Arts Center programs – the establishment of the Artmobile in 1961, the evolution of the theatre from community performances to professional productions for children and families, and the development of the Museum School.
Now looks at the ways the Arts Center is currently serving Central Arkansas and statewide communities. The Arts Center welcomes more than 200,000 visitors annually to its facility in historic MacArthur Park. Roughly 40,000 children and families and over 200 schools from across the state visit the Children’s Theatre each year. Another 53,000 attend Children’s Theatre on Tour performance or tour the Artmobile.
Next features design concept images for the reimagined Arkansas Arts Center by Studio Gang Architects. Studio Gang was named design architect for the transformational renovation project in 2016. Founded by MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang is an award-winning architecture and urbanism practice based out of Chicago and New York. A recipient of the 2013 National Design Award, Jeanne Gang was also named the 2016 Architect of the Year by the Architectural Review and the firm was awarded the 2016 Architizer A+ award for Firm of the Year. Gang was also named to TIME Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of 2019. Recently, Studio Gang was successful in the design competition to lead the $8.5 billion reimagining of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport Global Terminal and Global Concourse.
Studio Gang is recognized internationally for its design process that foregrounds the relationships between individuals, communities and environments. The firm has extensive knowledge in museum, theatre and artist studio spaces, including their work on the Writers Theatre in Glencoe, Ill. With its design for the Writers Theatre, Studio Gang sought to “maximize this potential for a twenty-first-century theater company, creating an architecture that energizes the daily life of its community and becomes an exciting, region-wide cultural destination.” Other recent projects have included the new U.S. embassy in Bazil, the Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation at the American Museum of Natural History, and the Memphis Riverfront Concept.
Studio Gang’s concept design for the Arkansas Arts Center lends a new, highly visible architectural identity to the Arts Center. Reorganizing and ordering the current program and architectural envelope, Studio Gang has designed a pleated, organic architecture that connects the new north-facing city entrance with the new glass pavilion and south-facing park entrance to create an open axis public gallery through the building, connecting the program components of the Arts Center. SCAPE Studios’ designs for MacArthur Park present a vision of the Arkansas Arts Center as a “museum within the park.” Drawing inspiration from Little Rock’s unique regional ecologies – including the banks of Fourche Creek, the bluffs of Emerald Park, and the agrarian landscapes of the Mississippi Delta – the landscape design features inviting outdoor spaces that contribute to AAC’s role as a cultural beacon for Arkansas.
Then, Now, Next: Reimagining the Arkansas Arts Center was organized by the Arkansas Arts Center.