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.
“Miss Polly” Loibner taught Arkansas how to draw!
In the late ’60s, when television in the schools was almost unheard of, the Arkansas Education Television Network sought an art educator to teach elementary-age children across the state via the airwaves, and Frances Pauline “Polly” Loibner took the job.
Using her signature puppets, became THE elementary art teacher for most Arkansans, producing 13 art series for AETN, including “Polly’s Paintbox,” “Everyday Artist,” “Art Parade,” “Sketch Pad,” and “Gazebo.” She did not talk down to kids, but she DID break artistic tasks down into smaller sections to make things easier to do.
Following her 14 years on AETN, Loibner became artist-in-residence for Russellville Public Schools. Later, she and her husband opened Vango Galleries, billed “a home of fine arts and creative framing,” in Russellville.
Not just a talented teacher, she was also a talented artist. She liked to work in charcoal, pastels, ink and dry brush, acrylics, paints, mixed media and oils.
“I love the drama of nature and I am very happy painting in the open, surrounded by beauty, smells, sounds and feelings,” Loibner to University of the Ozarks when she was a featured artist. “Sometimes the finished painting is an impression of the moment; other times the painting is more abstract. There are times my work shows the struggle; others show the flow of feelings through the brush stroke and the excitement of colors, more real than real. There is no better life on this earth than painting.”
A graduate of University of Central Arkansas, Loibner has won numerous honors and recognition for her work, including Best-In-Show and first place in the contemporary category in the annual Grand Prairie Festival of Arts. Her paintings are in numerous public and private collections throughout Arkansas, as well as in many other states and Mexico.
Loibner was an active member of Mid-Southern Watercolor Society, Southern Watercolor Society, Arkansas League of Artists, National Art Education Association, Arkansas River Valley Art Center, Arkansas Education Association, ART of Russellville, AR Retired Teachers Association and Puppeteers of America.