Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area

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New logo, social media presence unveiled for LR Creative Corridor

 The City of Little Rock unveiled today the Main Street Creative Corridor logo and social media sites. Located on Main Street, the Creative Corridor is an area where arts and culture will anchor a vibrant, mixed-use place in the center of the capital city’s downtown.

The logo was selected by arts groups who will eventually relocate to Main Street, in collaboration with representatives from the city. The new logo will be used on all promotional materials for the Creative Corridor. 

The Creative Corridor now has a social media presence on the following networks: 

  • Facebook: CreativeCorridorLittleRock
  • Instagram: @MainStreetLR
  • Twitter: @MainStreetLR
  • Hashtag: #creativecorridorLR

A Creative Corridor website was also launched at

“Little Rock’s Creative Corridor is revitalizing Main Street one block at a time, stimulated by the arts rather than a traditional retail base,” said Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola. “The Creative Corridor is rapidly becoming a mixed-use, work-live environment that is sensitive to the historical context of Main Street, while at the same time celebrating the amazing art organizations that are assembling along the area.”

As one of the art initiatives of the Creative Corridor, the City of Little Rock is soliciting designers for a large-scale banner art competition. Two full-color, large rectangular banner designs will be selected. The winning designs will be installed vertically on the parking deck located in the 200 block of Main Street. Each winning design will be awarded a $1,000 cash prize. The deadline for submissions is noon on May 18, 2015. For more information on how to submit a design visit


Initial Planning and design for the Creative Corridor was funded by a 2011 Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The plan, created by the University of Arkansas Community Design Center and Marlon Blackwell Architects, has received awards from the American Institute of Architects and The American Society of Landscape Architects, among many others.

Certain blocks on Main Street are in the process of being reconstructed to include low-impact development streetscapes with funding provided by a grant from the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission. Once completed, the Corridor will include rain gardens, porous pavers, bioswales, and other techniques to improve water quality.

An increasing number of public, private and nonprofit groups have already invested in Main Street in recent years.  Funding for a wide variety of art and lighting installations for the Corridor is being provided by ArtPlace America and the Educational Foundation of America.

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Final ASO River Rhapsodies concert tonight. Mendelssohn, Mozart & Brahms on the program

ASO_revThe Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Philip Mann, Music Director and Conductor, presents the final concert of the 2014-2015 Landers FIAT River Rhapsodies Chamber Music Series: Mendelssohn, Mozart, & Brahms. The ASO’s Quapaw and Rockefeller String Quartets and other ASO musicians perform chamber music from Mendelssohn, Mozart, and Brahms on April 21, 2015 at 7:00 PM in the beautiful Great Hall of the Clinton Presidential Center, 1200 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock, AR.

A cash bar is open at 6 PM and at intermission, and patrons are invited to carry drinks into the hall. Media sponsor for the Landers FIAT River Rhapsodies Chamber Music Series is KUAR/KLRE.

Tickets are $23; active duty military and student tickets are $10 are can be purchased online at; at the Clinton Presidential Center box office beginning 60 minutes prior to a concert; or by phone at 501-666-1761, ext. 100.

Quapaw Quartet: Eric Hayward, Meredith Maddox Hicks, Katrina Weeks, David Gerstein
Rockefeller Quartet: Katherine Williamson, Trisha McGovern, Katherine Reynolds, Daniel Cline
Andrew Irvin, violin
Ryan Mooney, viola
Rafael Leon, cello
Leanna Booze, oboe

MENDELSSOHN: String Quartet in F minor, Op. 80
MOZART: Oboe Quartet in F Major, K. 370
BRAHMS: Strings Quintet in G, Op. 111

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 49th season in 2014-2015, 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, Landers FIAT 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.

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New Quapaw Quarter Historic Building Marker Program focus of program tonight at Butler Center

qqa markerLearn about the Quapaw Quarter Association’s Historic Building Marker Program and How to Participate

Historic homes are cherished parts of the community, and building markers help tell their stories. The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies will host an informational session about the Quapaw Quarter Association’s (QQA) building marker program on Tuesday, April 21, at 5:30 p.m. in room 204 of the Arkansas Studies Institute building, 401 President Clinton Ave.

Attendees will learn how to research historic properties to determine National Register eligibility and how to apply for a building marker. The session will focus specifically on how to use the QQA’s records and other resources available at the research room of the Arkansas Studies Institute building. More information on the QQA’s building marker program is available at To attend the session, property owners may RSVP with a property address.

The Quapaw Quarter Association began the new Historic Building Marker Program earlier this year.  This program replaces the discontinued Quapaw Quarter Historic Structure Plaque and the QQA Historic House Marker Programs.   The markers will be aluminum and approximately 14 inches wide by 12 inches high.  They will display the building name and date of construction.  They may be pole-mounted, or attached directly to the building.

The goals of this program are to recognize historically and architecturally significant buildings located anywhere in the City of Little Rock that have been well-maintained or have undergone exemplary rehabilitation; to bring to the attention of the general public buildings that are unique assets to the City of Little Rock; and to promote the Quapaw Quarter Association as Little Rock’s leading historic preservation organization.

The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies is a department of the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) promoting the study and appreciation of Arkansas history and culture. For more information, visit or call 501-918-3033.

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THE BAREFOOT LAWYER tonight at the Clinton School

uacs barefootThe son of a poor farmer in rural China and blinded by illness when he was an infant, Chen Guangcheng became a self-taught lawyer and a political activist. Repeatedly harassed, beaten, and imprisoned by Chinese authorities, Chen was ultimately placed under house arrest. Despite his disability, he was determined to escape to freedom and fight for the rights of his country’s poor. After two years, one morning he climbed over the wall of his heavily guarded home and escaped. Days later, he turned up at the American embassy in Beijing, and after high-level negotiations, was able to leave China and begin a new life in the United States. Both a riveting memoir and a revealing portrait of modern China, “The Barefoot Lawyer” tells the story of a man who has never accepted limits and always believed in the power of the human spirit to overcome any obstacle.

He will speak tonight at the Clinton School at 6pm.

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Little Rock Look Back: SOUTH PACIFIC wins Pulitzer Prize for Drama

SoPa Pul GazThe Pulitzer Prizes will be announced today.  In 1950, one of the recipients in the “Letters, Drama and Music” categories featured a character from Little Rock.

The 1950 Pulitzer for Drama went to a musical, for only the second time in the history of the awards.  The recipient was South Pacific by Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II and Joshua Logan.  The character was the leading lady of Nellie Forbush. She was an Navy ensign and a nurse stationed on an exotic island during World War II.  The musical was based on a Pulitzer Prize winning novel, James Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific.

In the Michener novel, Miss Forbush is not from Little Rock.  She is actually from a small town in Alabama.  The part was written for Mary Martin from Weatherford, Texas.  Rodgers, Hammerstein & Logan did not discuss why they relocated Nellie’s birthplace.

In the musical, Nellie struggles with her own prejudices. This issue of prejudice became an instance of fact meeting fiction. In 1957, a few weeks after Eisenhower sent troops into Little Rock to ensure that Central High would be desegregated, a production of South Pacific on Long Island was temporarily halted when the audience booed and yelled after Nellie mentioned she was from Little Rock.


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On Pulitzer Day – Prizing Mount Holly

The Pulitzer Prizes are to be announced today.  Mount Holly Cemetery not only touts that it is the site of a whole host of elected officials, it is also the only place in Arkansas where two Pulitzer Prize recipients are buried. The cemetery is open every day, but a special visit to these two prize winner gravesites can be made next Sunday during the Mount Holly Cemetery Association’s annual “Rest in Perpetuity” fundraiser picnic.

In 1939, John Gould Fletcher became the first Southern poet to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.  He was born into a prominent Little Rock family in 1886.  Fletcher was awarded the prize for his collection Selected Poems which was published by Farrar in 1938.  Two years earlier, he had been commissioned by the Arkansas Gazette to compose an epic poem about the history of Arkansas in conjunction with the state’s centennial.

Fletcher is buried next to his wife, author Charlie May Simon and his parents (his father was former Little Rock Mayor John Gould Fletcher).  Other relatives are buried nearby in the cemetery.

The other Pulitzer Prize winner buried in Mount Holly is J. N. Heiskell, the longtime editor of the Arkansas Gazette.  It was Heiskell, in fact, who asked Fletcher to compose the poem about Arkansas.  Heiskell served as editor of the Gazette from 1902 through 1972.  He died at the age of 100 in 1972.

Under his leadership, the Gazette earned two Pulitzer Prizes for its coverage of the 1957 desegregation of Little Rock Central High.  One was for Harry Ashmore’s editorial writing and the other was for Public Service.

Heiskell remained in charge of the Gazette until his death in 1972.  He is buried alongside his wife with other relatives nearby.  Also not too far from Mr. Heiskell are two of his nemeses, proving that death and cemeteries can be the great equalizer. In the early days of his Gazette stewardship, he often locked horns with Senator (and former Governor) Jeff Davis. Later in Mr. Heiskell’s career, he vehemently disagreed with Dr. Dale Alford, who had been elected to Congress on a segregationist platform.

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Old, New, Borrowed, Blue (Jeans) in 2015-16 Arkansas Symphony Masterworks Series

Under the baton of Maestro Philip Mann, the 2015-2016 Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks series features a lineup with something old, something new, something borrowed and jeans that are blue.

The borrowed is the location. For the second of two seasons, the Maumelle Performing Arts Center will be the Masterworks home.

The new includes a World Premiere of D.J. Sparr’s Concerto for Jazz Guitar, which will feature Ted Ludwig.  Another new selection is Scott McAllister’s Black Dog which is based in hard rock.

Among the old friends returning are pieces by Grieg, Dvorák, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Borodin, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Rossini, Stravinsky, Brahms, Shostakovich and Bernstein.

The season kicks off with Grieg’s Piano Concerto on September 26 & 27. The guest artist that weekend is pianist Jon Kimura Parker.  The concert will include Mendelssohn’s The Hebrides, Op. 26 “Fingal’s Cave,” Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16 and Borodin’s Symphony No. 2 in B minor.

Next is Dvorák’s Symphony No. 8 on October 17 & 18. Imre Palló will be the guest conductor, and Cicely Parnas, cello will be the featured artist. The program will include Kodály’s Dances of Galanta; Haydn’s Concerto for Cello in C Major; and Dvorák’s Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88.

The annual Beethoven and Blue Jeans concert will be November 7 & 8 featuring guest artist Kelly Johnson, clarinet.  The lineup will feature Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 in F Major, Op. 93; McAllister’s Black Dog; and Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake Suite, Op. 20a.

2016 will start with Firebird Suite and featured soloist Kiril Laskarov. On January 30 & 31 the program will include Rossini’s La gazza ladra: Overture; Mendelssohn’s Concerto for Violin, Visconti’s Black Bend and Stravinsky’s The Firebird Suite (1919).

February 27 & 28 the program is Bernstein and Brahams.  The concert will have Bernstein’s Chicester Psalms and the Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem. 

The 2015-2016 season will wrap up on April 9 & 10 with Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. The concerts will include Bernstein’s Candide Overture; Sparr’s Concerto for Jazz Guitar and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47. 


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