Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area


International Jazz Day – Bryan Massey’s JAZZ PLAYER

Massey JazzApril 30 is International Jazz Day.

In commemoration of that, here is Bryan Massey, Sr.’s Jazz Player.  It is located in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden in Riverfront Park.

Massey, who is an artist and art professor at the University of Central Arkansas, created this piece in honor of Bill Clinton and his love of jazz.  It was sculpted in 2009 in honor of the fifth anniversary of the opening of the Clinton Presidential Center.

The sculpture is placed next to another piece of Massey’s called Uptown Saturday Night which depicts a couple dancing to music.  Together they present a celebration of music, dance, and having fun.

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Little Rock Look Back: Lottie Shackelford

Lottie at Civil RightsWhile this headline may say “Little Rock Look Back,” Lottie Shackelford is still very much focused on the present and the future!

On April 30, 1941, future Little Rock Mayor Lottie Shackelford was born. Throughout her career in public service she has been a trailblazer.

Active in community activities and politics, she ran for the City Board in 1974 and lost.  But she was appointed to the Little Rock City Board in September 1978 to fill a vacancy.  This made her the first African American woman to serve on he City Board, and indeed on any governing board for the City (during Reconstruction, there were at least three African Americans on the City Council, but they were all men.) She was subsequently elected to a full-term on the City Board in 1980 winning 55% of the vote over three male candidates.

She was subsequently re-elected in 1984 (unopposed) and in 1988 (with 60% of the vote).

In January 1987, Shackelford became the first female mayor of Little Rock when she was chosen by her colleagues on the City Board to serve in that position. She was Mayor until December 1988.

From 1982 until 1992, she served as Executive Director of the Arkansas Regional Minority Purchasing Council.  She left that position to serve as Deputy Campaign Manager of Clinton for President.  She subsequently served on the Clinton/Gore transition team. She later served on the Overseas Private Investment Corporation from 1993 to 2003. She was the first African American to be in that position.

A graduate of Philander Smith College, she has also studied at the Arkansas Institute of Politics at Hendrix College and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Mayor Shackelford has also served on numerous boards including the Little Rock Airport Commission, Philander Smith College, Chapman Funds (Maryland) and Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation (Arizona).  She has been the longest serving Vice-Chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Mayor Shackelford was in the first class of inductees for the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame.  In 2015, she was inducted into the Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail.


Little Rock Look Back: Nicholas Peay

LR sealOn April 28, 1784, in Virginia, future Little Rock Alderman (and acting Mayor) Major Nicholas Peay was born the eleventh of at least thirteen children.  (His gravestone lists a May date for his birth, but other records indicate April 28, 1784.) A veteran of the War of 1812 and the Indian Wars, he later moved to Kentucky (where he met and married his wife, Juliet Neill, in 1814) before settling in Arkansas on September 18, 1825.  At the time, they were the ninth family to set up residence in Little Rock.

After arriving in Little Rock, he bought the Little Rock Tavern. This started a fifty year tradition of his family owning taverns and hotels in Little Rock. In 1828, he was appointed Assistant Postmaster of Little Rock.  From 1825 to 1831, Little Rock residents were allowed to elect five Trustees prior to the formal incorporation. Major Peay was one of those who served on the Board of Trustees.

He later served on the Little Rock City Council, and in 1839 served for seven months as Acting Mayor due to the prolonged absence of Mayor Jesse Brown.  In 1841, his friend Gen. Zachary Taylor, paid a visit to Little Rock and stayed with him on the General’s way to Fort Smith.

Nicholas and Juliet Peay had at least eleven children, though only five appeared to have lived until adulthood. One of those, Gordon Neill Peay, served as Little Rock’s 23rd Mayor from 1859 to 1861. Other descendants of Nicholas Peay who followed him into public service include his grandson Ashley Peay, who was an Alderman in the 1920s (son of John Coleman Peay) and great-great-grandson Joseph B. Hurst (a great-grandson of Mayor Peay), who was a City Director from 1967 to 1970. In addition, City Director Hurst’s daughter-in-law, Stacy Hurst served three terms on the City Board from 2003 to 2014; she is now Director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

Major Peay’s egg-nog recipe has been passed down for generations. It is the inspiration for the Historic Arkansas Museum yearly Nog-Off.  This past year, museum director Bill Worthen and his daughter were the sixth and seventh generation of the family to make Peay’s egg-nog. The Worthens are descended from Mayor Peay’s son who was also named Gordon Neill Peay.

Major Nicholas Peay is buried with his wife and many other family members in Mount Holly Cemetery.

The Smithsonian Institution records indicate they have an oil painting of Major Peay as well as of his wife. But there are conflicting records as to whether they have been lost or are in private collections.


Little Rock Look Back: Mayor Sam Wassell

S WassellOn April 28, 1883, future Little Rock Mayor Sam M. Wassell was born.  His grandfather John W. Wassell had been appointed Mayor of Little Rock in 1868.  He is the only Little Rock Mayor to be a grandson of another Little Rock Mayor.

Sam Wassell served on the Little Rock City Council from 1928 through 1934 and again from 1940 through 1946.  He is one of the few 20th Century Little Rock Mayors who previously served on the City Council.

Wassell was an attorney.  He practiced law privately and also served as an Assistant US Attorney.  In 1930, he ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for the US Congress representing the 5th Congressional District, which at the time included Little Rock.

Wassell ran for Mayor in 1947 and was unopposed in the general election.  He was unopposed in his bid for re-election in 1949.  During his second term, President Harry S. Truman visited Little Rock.  In 1951, he sought a third term as Mayor.  No Little Rock Mayor had been successful in achieving a third consecutive term since 1923.  Though he received the Democratic nomination, the Republican party nominated Pratt Remmel who defeated Wassell by a 2 to 1 margin.

With a new USS Little Rock nearing commissioning, it is interesting to note that Mrs. Sam Wassell christened the previous USS Little Rock in 1944.  At the time, she was a City Councilor’s wife.

Mayor Wassell died on December 23, 1954 and is buried at Roselawn Cemetery in Little Rock.


The NEH announces grant to CALS for Dialogues on the Experience of War

2016 NEH New grantsThe National Endowment for the Humanities today announced a total of $21.1 Million in grants.  One of those went to the Central Arkansas Library System.

CALS will receive $99,772 for a project focued on dialogues on the experience of war.  Project Director Alex Vernon will lead “Fiction & Fact: A Dialogue with Veterans.”  It will consist of four discussion programs for Arkansas veterans and others on the themes of battlefield and homefront, World War I, Vietnam, and war and witness.

 


Sculpture at the River Market Show and Sale this weekend

Wayne Salge Photo: Mel Shockner Benito & Amelia 35x16x16” Bronze

Wayne Salge
Photo: Mel Shockner
Benito & Amelia
35x16x16” Bronze

Little Rock residents and visitors alike will have the opportunity to see and purchase works by leading sculptors when the ninth Sculpture at the River Market Invitational Show and Sale takes place from April 22 to 24.

Over 800 sculptures will be on display in the River Market pavilions and in the adjacent area of Riverfront Park on those three days in April. The works featured will include all types of media, style, subject matter, and size.

Sculpture at the River Market will feature the works of over 50 sculptors.

The 2016 sculptors include: Lorri Acott, Lori Arnold, Terry & Maritza Bean, Hunter Brown, Craig Campbell, Kathleen Caricof, Tim Cherry, Leslie Daly, Darrell Davis, Jane DeDecker, John Deering, Clay Enoch, Kimber Fiebiger, Peter Grimord, Guilloume, Denny Haskew, Bob Heintzelman, Mark Hyde, Greg Johnson, James Keller, Kevin Kresse, Mark Leichliter, Harold Linke, Allison Luedtke, and Bryan Winfred Massey, Sr.

Tod Switch Language is Key 24"H x 46"W x 24"D Powder Coated Steel

Tod Switch
Language is Key
24″H x 46″W x 24″D
Powder Coated Steel

Other participating sculptors are: James G. Moore, Nnamdi Okonkwo, Steven Olszewski, Richard Pankratz, Nathan Pierce, Merle Randolph, Dale Roark, Kevin Robb, Timothy Roundy, Emelene Russell, Wayne Salge, Valerie Jean Schafer, Adam Schultz, Stephen Shachtman, Kim Shaklee, Stephanie & Scott Shangraw, Gene Sparling, Lawrence Starck, Charles Strain, Tod Switch, Michael Warrick, C.T. Whitehouse, Longhua XU, and Michelle Zorich & Katherine Martin.

Sculpture at the River Market will be open in the River Market pavilions from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday, April 23, and from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Sunday, April 24.  In addition to the opportunity to view the sculptures and meet with the sculptors, there are a variety of activities planned throughout the two days.

Stephen Shachtman Helix 20x18x3” Glass/Steel

Stephen Shachtman
Helix
20x18x3” Glass/Steel

Docent led tours of the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden will be available at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 23 and Sunday, April 24.  Andina’s Café & Coffee Roastery will be set up at the sculpture show on Sunday beginning at 9:30 a.m.  From 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Sunday, Southern Salt and Southern Gourmasian food trucks will be set up at the River Market.

On Friday, April 22, at 6:30 p.m., a Preview Party will kick off the weekend.  With food provided by Copper Grill, beverages provided by Glazer’s and Stella Artois, frozen treats by Le Pops, and live jazz music, it will be a festive atmosphere offering guests the first chance to purchase sculptures as well as visit with the sculptors.  Also that night, guests to the Preview Party will be able to vote for their favorite sculpture in the 2016 Public Monument Competition.