In case you missed it… “Our America” member reception

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Exhibitions, MuseumLeave a Comment

With expectations high for the Arkansas Arts Center’s biggest exhibition of the year, the pressure was on to host an equally impressive opening reception for Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art. And impress they did!

Fabiola Briones, Deputy Mexican Consul of Little Rock Edgardo Briones, Arts Center Executive Director Todd Herman and Lauren and Beau Blair, representing exhibition sponsors Donna and Mack McLarty.

Fabiola Briones, Deputy Mexican Consul of Little Rock Edgardo Briones, Arts Center Executive Director Todd Herman and Lauren and Beau Blair, representing exhibition sponsors Donna and Mack McLarty.

On October 15, more than 500 guests were treated to live music by Viva Jalisco, a local mariachi band, and delicious frozen Margaritas, Piña Coladas and an assortment of Mexican beer. Before the reception, E. Carmen Ramos, curator of Latino art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, delivered a lecture to a sold out crowd of 150 members and guests.

“We were pleased to see so much youth and diversity represented at the lecture and reception,” said AAC Executive Director Todd Herman. “Our partnerships with ¡Hola! Arkansas, Telemundo Arkansas and the Mexican Consulate really helped to heighten awareness of Our America within the central Arkansas Latino community.”

The Arkansas Arts Center would like to extend a special thank you to all of its in-state sponsors: 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.

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: The Latino Presence in American Art opened to the public October 16 and will remain on display through January 17, 2016.

Maria Elena de Auilo, Miriam Conguegra, Laura Bahena-Castillo, Mayor Mark Stodola, exhibition sponsor Maura Lozano-Yancy with !Hola! Arkansas and Gloria Bastidas

Maria Elena de Auilo, Miriam Conguegra, Laura Bahena-Castillo, Mayor Mark Stodola, exhibition sponsor Maura Lozano-Yancy of !Hola! Arkansas and Gloria Bastidas

David and Alex Robinson, Eileen Devereux, Daniel Edelman, Sara Massana

David and Alex Robinson, Eileen Devereux, Daniel Edelman, Sara Massana

AAC Staff Angel Galloway, Kim White, Kelly Cargill Crow, Kelly Fleming with Viva Jalisco

AAC Staff Angel Galloway, Kim White, Kelly Cargill Crow and Kelly Fleming with Viva Jalisco

E. Carmen Ramos, curator of Latino art for the Smithsonian American Art Museum, delivers a lecture to a sold-out crowd

E. Carmen Ramos, curator of Latino art for the Smithsonian American Art Museum, delivers a lecture to a sold-out crowd

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Preview the Artists of “Our America” – Luis Jiménez

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Collection, Exhibitions, MuseumLeave a Comment

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Luis Jiménez, Man on Fire, 1969, fiberglass in acrylic urethane on painted wood fiberboard base, 106 1/4 x 80 1/4 x 29 1/2 inches, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Philip Morris Incorporated, © 1969, Luis Jiménez

Luis Jiménez, American (El Paso, Texas, 1940 - 2006, Hondo, New Mexico), El Buen Pastor (The Good Shepherd), 1998, watercolor and crayon on paper, 50 x 34 inches, Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection: Purchased with Gallery Contributions, 1999.007

Luis Jiménez, American (El Paso, Texas, 1940 – 2006, Hondo, New Mexico), El Buen Pastor (The Good Shepherd), 1998, watercolor and crayon on paper, 50 x 34 inches, Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection: Purchased with Gallery Contributions, 1999.007

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15) and in anticipation of the opening of Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art (October 16), the Arkansas Arts Center has pulled from their vaults works created by Latino artists and artists who inspired contemporary Latino art. Pablo Picasso (Spain), Diego Rivera (Mexico), Luis Jiménez (Mexico) and Carlos Jose Alfonzo (Cuba) are among several Latino and Hispanic artists currently featured throughout five galleries.

Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art is a major collection of modern and contemporary art drawn entirely from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s pioneering collection of Latino art. The exhibition, which will be on display October 16, 2015 through January 17, 2016, 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.

Our America features works by two Latino artists currently on view at the Arkansas Arts Center, Luis Cruz Azaceta and Luis Jiménez.

Mexican artist Luis Jiménez’s 1998 drawing El Buen Pastor (The Good Shepherd) is the sketch for a lithograph of a tragic incident: The death of Esequiel Hernández on May 20, 1997. In El Buen Pastor, Luis Jiménez depicts a young goat herder mistakenly killed by Marines near the U.S.-Mexico border as the Good Shepherd, with references to Jesus in the halo conceived as a gun sight.

It hovers somewhere along the borders between myth and reality, politics and popular culture. The artist questions the sacrifice of an 18 year old American citizen to the greedy gods of the drug war.

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.

For more information about Our America, visit arkansasartscenter.org/our-america.

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On the Road Again

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Artmobile, Community, Education, Traveling ExhibitionsLeave a Comment

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“On the road again…just can’t wait to get on the road again!”

20875962239_c35120416e_bIf the Artmobile could sing, I think it would be eagerly crooning Willie Nelson’s signature homage to life on the road as it waits all summer at the edge of the Arkansas Arts Center’s parking lot in beautiful MacArthur Park in Little Rock. Because on the road is where this particular gallery is most at home. One of only a handful of mobile art museums in the nation, the Arkansas Arts Center’s Artmobile has been serving the state for over 50 years featuring curated exhibitions of works from the Arkansas Arts Center’s permanent collection. It spends its touring season, which coincides with the school year, visiting towns on a schedule that ranges from a busy Saturday at a weekend festival in Northeast Arkansas to an energetic week of student tours at an elementary school in rural South Arkansas. And as the educator that gets to accompany the Artmobile on its travels, I can honestly say that the Artmobile and I LOVE our jobs. The Artmobile is greeted with excitement and curiosity in each town and I am reminded every day what an honor it is to be able to share with these communities in this art-discovery experience. By reaching people in their own communities, the Artmobile has allowed the Arkansas Arts Center to fulfill its mission of providing quality art experiences to the entire state.

Community Night at DeQueen Elementary School – Sept. 22, 2015

Every summer, the Artmobile comes in for a brief vacation from the road. The tractor cab goes in for maintenance check-ups to ensure it can keep the Artmobile moving all year and an entirely new exhibition of artworks gets installed in the trailer’s state-of-the-art gallery space. The Artmobile’s new 2015-2016 exhibition Animals: Familiar & Fantastic is a vibrant and dynamic collection of artworks, highlighting various artistic methods and techniques used to bring life to creatures both real and imaginary. A colorful, mobile menagerie, this year the Artmobile will inspire conversations about the exploration of the human-animal connection and an assessment of our role in the animal world. And to help spark these conversations, a Curriculum Guide with unique lesson plans has been written to accompany the Artmobile exhibition, connecting the artworks the students will see to topics and themes found in the Arkansas Educational Frameworks and the Common Core Standards.

The AAC Artmobile kicks off the 2015/2016 season at Valley Springs in Boone County

The AAC Artmobile kicks off the 2015/2016 season at Valley Springs in Boone County

The Artmobile has already been inspiring such conversation in the past couple weeks at its first few venues. The exhibition made its debut at Valley Springs School District in North Arkansas two weeks ago, where students got the first peek at the painted and sculpted animals. It was so exciting to see the response to the show as students explored the artworks and their details, had amazing discussions together, and connected with the artworks. Immediately after that, it was at the ACANSA Arts Festival in North Little Rock where young visitors were able to connect with artworks in a gallery setting before creating their own masterpieces at the Children’s Art Activity in Argenta Plaza. This week the Artmobile is in DeQueen, Ark., and the creatures in the different artworks have been greeted with excitement by students who have already studied the curriculum materials and are now eager to experience the exhibition in person. Then this weekend the Artmobile will travel to the Fall Festival in Wilson, all the way across the state to Northeast Arkansas. And this is all just in the first month! With a busy touring schedule ahead, it is so good to be on the road again!

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Conserve to Preserve

Author: Ann WagnerFiled under: Collection, Exhibitions, MuseumLeave a Comment

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Two beautiful views of 18th century Venice by Michele Marieschi have long been in the vaults of the Arkansas Arts Center, unable to be displayed because dirt and an old, darkened layer of the protective coating called varnish obscured the works’ colors and details.

Chief Curator Brian J. Lang decided it was time to remedy the situation. He turned to the Arkansas art conservation firm Norton Arts to clean and repair the two oil paintings. Art conservation is demanding process that must be undertaken only by experienced professionals who are trained in fine art, art history and chemistry, in addition to specialized conservation techniques. The video below shows the one the paintings as it undergoes treatment.

Video of the conservation of Michele Marieschi’s The Grant Canal, Venice, with the Dogana de Mare and Basilica Santa Maria delle Salute.

After the conservation was complete, two beautiful paintings emerged. They show the famous Venetian gondolas gliding and jostling in the waters of Venice’s Grand Canal. Michele Marieschi made many such vedute, or depictions of picturesque views, for the tourist trade. In the foreground at the left of The Grant Canal, Venice, with the Dogana de Mare and Basilica Santa Maria delle Salute is the Dogana di Mare, or customs House. Its tower is topped by a sculpture of Fortune holding a ship’s sail atop the globe, symbolizing Venice’s dominating role in world trade. Slightly farther into the distance looms the white dome of Santa Maria della Salute, a grand church built in the seventeenth century in thanks for the city’s delivery from the plague.

The other one of the pair of paintings by Marieschi is titled for its central feature, The Rialto Bridge. Such beautiful historic constructions were attractions for the wealthy Europeans who traveled around France and Italy on the cultural pilgrimage termed the Grand Tour.

This painting and its mate of the Rialto Bridge once hung at Strawberry Hill, the famous country house of British author and collector Horace Walpole. Walpole apparently bought the newly completed paintings when he visited Venice in 1841 as a young man enjoying the Grand Tour. Over 100 years later, Arkansas collectors purchased the work and later gave it to the Arts Center. Now the pair of paintings may finally be seen in all their original glory.

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Feed Your Mind Friday – May Recap

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Education, ToursLeave a Comment

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Arkansas Voices
in the Gallery

Our Feed Your Mind Friday – Arkansas Voices in the Gallery series continued to be a great success throughout the month of May! Thank you to our visiting artists and speakers A.J. Smith, David Clemons, Garbo Hearne and Dr. Archie Hearne.

If you could not make any of May’s tours, join us this month for our last round of Arkansas Voices.
June 12 at 12 p.m. – Dr. Jeff Grubbs, UALR
June 19 at 12 p.m. – artist Angela Davis Johnson

All Feed Your Mind Friday tours are free and open to the public.




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Letter from the Director

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: GeneralLeave a Comment

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A Note from Todd

Despite the weather—severe thunderstorms and tornado watches—the opening of 30 Americans brought an active, inquisitive, and diverse audience through the doors of the AAC. Our opening night speaker, artist Hank Willis Thomas, delivered one of the most engaging and thought-provoking lectures in recent memory. If you have not yet seen 30 Americans, there is still time. Bring a friend. The work encourages discussion!

While you are in the building, do not miss the 54th Young Arkansas Artists Exhibition. These young artists from across the state always impress with their talent, sense of color and fun, and individual viewpoints. There is a purity in the way a child approaches art—turning his/her imagination into reality unfettered by preconceived ideas of ‘correctness’. This exhibition always reminds me of a quote by Pablo Picasso: “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child”. The next Picasso may be hanging on these walls!

OR, perhaps the next Matthew Broderick or Maggie Smith await on the stage of the Children’s Theatre. This upcoming season promises to continue the great success of last season with such classic titles as Puss in Boots, The Adventures of Peter Rabbit, and Schoolhouse Rock Live. We are also introducing Studio Shows which are more intimate, black box production where the audience is close to the action.


photo: Brian Chilson

Summer is a season of great activity at the Arts Center. The 57th Annual Delta Exhibition opens July 10 and energetic children of all ages fill our halls and classrooms for summer art camps, Junior Arts Academy, and Summer Theater Academy. If you are looking for educational and fun projects for your child, grandchild, niece or nephew, we have what you are looking for. Remember, our exhibitions and permanent galleries are free. What better way to spend a warm summer day than enjoying art with your family?

I end this letter with a heartfelt “thank you” to Thom Hall who has been the very able registrar at the Arkansas Arts Center for 40 years. Thom retired on April 28—40 years to the day—and is looking forward to focusing on his own drawings. Thom has helped shape and grow the Arts Center. He is known and respected throughout the state and beyond. Anyone who is lucky enough to have been part of one of his famous tours knows what an asset he has been to this institution. We all owe him an enormous debt of gratitude and wish him only the best.

Todd A. Herman, Ph.D.
Executive Director

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Feed Your Mind Friday – April Recap

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Education, ToursLeave a Comment

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Arkansas Voices
in the Gallery

The first month of our Feed Your Mind Friday – Arkansas Voices in the Gallery series kicked off with great success! Thank you to our visiting artists Marjorie Smith, Delita Martin, and Virmarie DePoyster.

If you could not make any of April’s tours, join us this month for another round of Arkansas Voices.
May 8 at 12 p.m. – printmaking artist A.J. Smith
May 15 at 12 p.m. – metal and jewelry artist David Clemons
May 22 at 12 p.m. – gallery owner Garbo and Archie Hearne

All Feed Your Mind Friday tours are free and open to the public.




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30 Americans: Purvis Young

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: ExhibitionsLeave a Comment

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1 Day to 30 Americans

(1943–2010)

Self-taught artist Purvis Young made lurid and kinetic large-scale paintings and murals depicting the people of his hometown of Miami. He blended wild horses, jazz singers, and scenes from ancient battles, making poignant social commentaries on urban life. One of his most famous works is Goodbread Alley, his 1972 public mural located at the intersection of Northwest Third Avenue and 14th Street in the Overtown district in Miami.

Learn more about the 30 Americans exhibition at http://arkansasartscenter.org/30-Americans.

Learn more about Young at http://www.purvisyoungny.com/.


Purvis Young

photo: Milwaukee Art Museum, http://mam.org/

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