Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area

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Dr. Dean Kumpuris to be honored by Arkansas Arts Council

Dean Kumpuris 2014Dean Kumpuris will receive the Governor’s Arts Award for Arts Community Development in early 2016.  The Arkansas Arts Council announced today the recipients for next year’s awards.

Kumpuris is being honored for his three decades of work 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.  He is also the Chairman of the UALR Board of Visitors and a past member of the Advertising and Promotion Commission.

Veterans Day Sculpture Vulture, Kathleen Caricof’s Stars and Stripes sculpture in War Memorial Park

Veterans Day is a good day to visit Kathleen Caricof’s Stars and Stripes in the Sturgis Veterans Plaza at War Memorial Park.  This 36 by 40 feet stainless steel sculpture welcomes visitors to the park and was dedicated in 2008 in conjunction with the 60th anniversary of War Memorial Stadium.

There are five interlocked stars which represent the five branches of the military: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard – both the active duty and the reserve segments of each branch as well as their affiliated guard units.

The gleaming stainless steel is both light and durable to represent the strength and vitality of the men and women who protect the United States and have done so for centuries.

Caricof, a member of the National Sculptors Guild, was selected for the commission after a national competition by the War Memorial Stadium Commission.  She has several other pieces in Little Rock including several in Riverfront Park and the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden.

Sculpture Vulture: Lorri Acott’s Who Rescued Who

DSC_1091Little Rock’s newest sculpture was unveiled on Saturday.  Located at the entrance to the Little Rock Animal Village, Lorri Acott’s Who Rescued Who depicts a person and dog looking at each other. They are sharing a bond of respect, admiration and love.

The human figure has Acott’s trademark extended length legs. These represent the ability to overcome obstacles and rise above adversity.  This is even more apt when considering the role that pets can play in our lives, as well as the role humans play in “adopting” rescued pets.

The sculpture is dedicated to the memory of Jack Adcock. It is given by his family, which includes longtime City Director Joan Adcock, their two children, eleven grandchildren, two great-grandchildren (with two more on the way).

Sculptor Lorri Acott & City Director Joan Adcock with "Who Rescued Who"

Sculptor Lorri Acott & City Director Joan Adcock with “Who Rescued Who”

The unveiling took place at the annual Animal Village “Paw”ty which is a combination birthday party celebration and opportunity for more interaction with animals.

The landscaping for the sculpture was designed and implemented by the Little Rock Parks and Recreation Department.  The project was also made possible by the support of Little Rock Animal Services staff, City of Little Rock leadership and Sculpture at the River Market.

Acott is also the creator of “Conversation with Myself” which is located in Riverfront Park’s Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden and “Peace” at the corner of Second and Main in downtown.

Sculpture Vulture: RENEWAL RITUAL

DSC_0650 Another of the new sculptures recently installed in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden is Denny Haskew’s Renewal Ritual.

It depicts ten adults sitting in pairings facing each other.  They are made of bronze and are situated atop a stone slab base.

DSC_0654Haskew notes that in creating the piece he wanted “to show the ritual used by a couple to renew their commitment to one another, then using many colors or people and different conversations between different genders it shows society ability to sit down and converse with one another.”

Though the individual men and women appear similar, due to coloration of the bronze, each person is unique. This reinforces Haskew’s tenet of the differences and similarities of people.

The sculpture was purchased by Sculpture at the River Market.

Sculpture Vulture: Casey G. Horn’s TRANQUILITY

DSC_0658One of the newest sculptures in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden is Casey G. Horn’s Tranquility.  

Made of bronze and stainless steel, the inspiration for the piece was the Chinese word (character) 安 Ān: peaceful, content, safe.

As Horn says: You can derive a story from the composition of the character. It breaks down into two parts: ornamental roof and woman. Read in this way,  “a woman is at peace in a beautiful home.”

The curved shapes in Tranquility mimic the lines in some other nearby sculptures as well as the foliage in the park.  However, it is unlike any of the other sculptures. It both stands out and blends in with its surroundings.

Tranquility was purchased by the Sculpture at the River Market committee.

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Sculpture Vulture: National Dog Day

Today is National Dog Day. In celebration of that, today we shine the spotlight on two canine sculptures in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden.

DSC_0710First is Dan Glanz’s Boris.  Commissioned in 2010 and unveiled in 2011, this is a likeness of Boris Kumpuris, the dog and companion of Mary and Dr. Dean Kumpuris.

Glanz captures the friendly and inquisitive nature of Boris in this work, which can be found in the Vogel Schwarz sculpture garden. Most weekends Boris can be seen with Dean as the two walk through Riverfront Park and the River Market. Boris explores and inspects the park along with Dean. Each year during the Sculpture at the River Market show, Boris visits with Dean and meets all the sculptors.

The sculpture was donated by longtime Kumpuris family friend Margaret Clark. She and her late husband Bill were two of the earliest supporters of sculpture along the Arkansas River. They donated another piece in honor of their grandchildren. A sculpture in memory of Bill was unveiled last year and stands in the wetlands park which bears his name.

A few yards from Boris is Ken Newman’s Forever Ready.  It depicts a hunting dog waiting but poised to spring into action.  The sculpture was donated by the Sculpture at the River Market committee in 2009.

Sculpture Vulture Sunday: J. G. Moore’s ABUNDANCE

DSC_0660One of the newest sculptures installed in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden is J. G. Moore’s ABUNDANCE.

Here is the artist’s statement:

This garden bell depicts a pair of mourning doves with wild sunflowers. The piece is titled Abundance because it is about the fall season when the favorite food of the doves is plentiful and allows them to prepare for migration.

Doves are a universal theme for love and peace and the position of this pair speaks to the abundance of well being when two become united in common purpose. It is my desire to bring glory to God by making reminders and reflections of his beautiful creation. My sculptures are intended to be acts of worship.

DSC_0652At a distance, this sculpture can appear simple. It looks to be simply a bell on a curved post.  But upon closer inspection, Moore’s intricate design is apparent.  The bell is covered with sunflowers delicately cast.  The birds atop the bell are nuzzling each other in a sense of affection and protection.  This subtle and powerful piece reflects one of the wonders of art – to offer different perspectives at different distances and angles.

Moore has been working professionally in bronze for the last 19 years. After pursuing a 15 year teaching career as an art teacher – he holds an M. Ed in art education – for middle and high school students in conjunction with his sculpture career, James now devotes full time to his art. His award winning work is in private and public collections across the United States and Europe.



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