Voices of the Delta: Kevin O’Brien

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Beacon Content, Delta 61, Delta 61, Delta Exhibition, Exhibitions, Museum, Voices of the Delta

Kevin O’Brien, Pat Painting, 2019, oil on canvas, 11 x 14 x 2 inches

I view many of my paintings as intimate depictions of interiors with lush paint handling. Many of my favorite painters are Fairfield Porter, Richard Diebenkorn, Calvin “Cal” Schenkel, Wayne Thiebaud, Willem de Kooning and Philip Guston. 

– Kevin O’Brien

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Voices of the Delta: Laura Terry

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Beacon Content, Delta 61, Delta 61, Delta Exhibition, Exhibitions, Museum, Voices of the Delta

Laura Terry, A Book of Maps, 2018, monoprint collage with graphite and hand-stitching, 24 x 36 inches

My paintings idealize the landscape. I am not interested in the picturesque. I am interested in the patterns of nature, of seasons, and of human intervention. The landscapes I paint are a result of how those patterns shape the world I live in. Dualities are inherent in these cycles: dark and light, chaos and order, organic and synthetic. These dualities provide balance in my work. They shift the pendulum of my view near and distant, detailed and blurred. My eyes are cameras with lenses both microscopic and wide-angled. I record the landscape observant of these opposites. I paint, draw and print to measure the differences in the landscape. Each mark tells a different story of the same landscape. The landscape reveals another narrative I intend to capture.

– Laura Terry

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Voices of the Delta: Sherry Leedy

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Delta 61, Delta 61, Delta Exhibition, Exhibitions, Museum, Voices of the Delta

Sherry Leedy, Tilt, 2017, soft pastel on paper, 30 x 34 inches

My still life drawings are based on direct observation. I am interested in what is discovered and revealed during the process of slow looking and response over a long period of time, as the drawing evolves, creating itself, slowly, one mark at a time.

My intention is to convey my deeply felt connection to the world, beauty and life that is all around us. Seeing and feeling, observation, ideas, friendship, nature and day-to-day interactions inspire and sustain my art practice.

The tradition of Vanitas and the symbolic meaning of objects has a long and rich history in art, one with which I feel connected. The possibility that subject matter carries iconic meaning, in addition to visual power as form, pattern, color, light, and line, provokes and keeps me in the studio late at night.

Equally compelling is the pure visual challenge of seeing and striving to translate experience into a drawing that has a life of its own. Some of the objects that I draw have a personal significance. Other times, the chance meeting of unlikely objects catches me. There is a power in these artifacts of the recent past, in their human familiarity and strangeness.

Always, the work is about the relationship between form, light, color and space, often independent of any other meaning known to me. The stuff of the still life – apples and oranges, green glass and blue, mirrors and glass funnels – are activated by light and seem as though actors on stage in a familiar yet unknown performance.

Making mark after mark of pastel as soft as butter, I strive to make visible the everyday, unseen and overlooked, as I continue to explore my place in the world.

– Sherry Leedy

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Voices of the Delta: Scinthya Edwards

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Beacon Content, Delta 61, Delta 61, Delta Exhibition, Exhibitions, Museum, Voices of the Delta

Scinthya Edwards, Birds of a Feather…, 2019, diptych, paper collage on canvas, 20 x 32 inches

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 the Feather…  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. 

– Scinthya Edwards

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Voices of the Delta: Heather Christine Guenard

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Beacon Content, Delta 61, Delta 61, Delta Exhibition, Exhibitions, Museum, Voices of the Delta

Heather Christine Guenard, LV-426, 2018, collagraph plate & print, 27 1/8 x 33 1/4 x 3/4 inches

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.

I am greatly influenced by the grattage method created by surrealist Max Ernst, the biomorphic works of H.R. Giger, the action painting of Jackson Pollock, and the collagraph work of Peter Wray and Judy Collins.

– Heather Christine Guenard

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Voices of the Delta: Michael Warrick

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Beacon Content, Delta 61, Delta 61, Delta Exhibition, Exhibitions, Museum, Uncategorized, Voices of the Delta

Michael Warrick, Youth, 2017, bronze, cor-ten, 82 x 17 x 17 inches

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.

– Michael Warrick

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The Arkansas Arts Center announces $128 million Campaign, with commitments exceeding $118 million to-date

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Building, Museum, Museum School, News

Nighttime view from downtown Little Rock of the Arkansas Arts Center’s new north entrance. A new plaza opens the historic 1937 façade onto Crescent Drive. Above, the Cultural Living Room acts as a community gathering and event space. Image courtesy of Studio Gang and SCAPE.

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.


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.

View of the Arkansas Arts Center’s expansion, which connects improved spaces for exhibition with new community gathering spaces such as the Cultural Living Room and a double-height public Atrium. State-of-the-art Galleries showcase the Arkansas Arts Center’s world-class permanent collection of local, national, and international art, and house special exhibitions. The Cultural Living Room is a community space for casual gatherings and elevated events. Image courtesy of Studio Gang.

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.


Aerial view showing how the reimagined Arkansas Arts Center creates new pathways and connections to MacArthur Park. The design includes a new restaurant with outdoor shaded seating, walking paths, and a great lawn. Over time, a tree canopy will develop, creating a true “Arts Center in a Park.” Image courtesy of Studio Gang and SCAPE.

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.

View toward MacArthur Park from the Atrium, which connects the Arkansas Arts Center’s three programmatic pillars: the Museum School, Galleries, and Children’s Theatre. Image courtesy of Studio Gang.

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.
Daytime view from Crescent Drive of the Arkansas Arts Center’s new north entrance and Cultural Living Room. Image courtesy of Studio Gang and SCAPE.

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.

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