In these final days of 2015, we pause to look back at 15 who influenced Little Rock’s cultural scene who left us in 2015.
Kula Kumpuris owned every room she entered. Whether she was holding court at Satellite Café or at the Capital Hotel, her sparkling eyes, generous smile and warm spirit entranced everyone.
She was devoted to her family and friends, always wanting to know the latest achievements or funny stories. Her zest for knowledge also extended to learning from books and keeping up with current events.
Born in Pine Bluff, she retained her girlhood friends throughout her life. She never shed friends, she only added to them through the various stages of life.
In 2006, her sons and daughter and their families established the Frank and Kula Kumpuris Distinguished Lecture Series at the Clinton School of Public Service in honor of Kula and her late husband. In announcing the gift, son Dean Kumpuris noted that his parents, always believed “that through understanding, teaching and discussion, the world could be a better place, and they taught us that giving back to the community and the world is important and worthwhile. So, we decided that in keeping with our parents’ teachings, the Clinton School of Public Service was a perfect place to give back.”
For many years, Kula would be on the front row at the lecture series with an open mind awaiting the information from the speaker, and an engaging smile.
She was also a fixture at the annual Sculpture at the River Market show and sale. She charmed artists and arts patrons alike. Even as she found it harder to get around in later years, she was still a regular presence at the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, usually with her friend Jeane Hamilton.
A longtime and active member of the Little Rock Garden Club, Kula Kumpuris cultivated friendships with people from all walks of life as easily as she cultivated plants and flowers.