Little Rock Look Back: Museum of Discovery opens in River Market

Museum of Discovery Logo when it opened in 1998

Founded in 1927 as the Arkansas Museum of Natural History and Antiquities in a downtown storefront, by 1997, the museum had been located in at least two other spots and had several different names.

On February 21, 1998, it reopened as the Museum of Discovery in its new location in the recently launched River Market district.  It occupied space on the first floor and basement of the Museum Center building (formerly the Terminal building the erstwhile train station which later was used for printing the Arkansas Democrat.)

The new name and new space reflected a greater emphasis on the science aspect of the museum’s mission.  It featured many hands on and interactive exhibits.

The museum spent one-third of its $10.6 million cost on exhibits.  Of the $10.2 million pledged for the museum, 47 percent — or about $4 million — came from a half-cent city sales tax approved by voters about five years ago. Another 14 percent came from foundations and 2 percent from private organizations and individuals. The remaining 37 percent came from corporations, sometimes in connection with specific exhibits.

Following a February 20, 1998, preview party, the official grand opening was held on February 21, 1998.

The previous museum space (inside the Arsenal building in MacArthur Park) occupied 14,000 square feet, 8,000 of which was display space. After the move, the museum had 35,000 square feet of display space.

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Contemporary Craft: A Conversation tonight (2/21) at the Clinton Presidential Center

Image may contain: textJoin the Clinton Center on Thursday, February 21 at 6 p.m., for a discussion with three nationally-acclaimed, Arkansas-based artists for Contemporary Craft: A Conversation, moderated by Brian Lang. The panel will discuss contemporary craft art in Arkansas, the evolution of their work, how craft art is different than traditional fine art, and the role they think craft art plays in reflecting culture.

Brian J. Lang (moderator)
Brian Lang is the chief curator and Windgate Foundation curator of contemporary craft at the Arkansas Arts Center.

Linda Nguyen Lopez (Panelist)
Linda Nguyen Lopez is first-generation American ceramic artist of Vietnamese and Mexican descent. Her abstract works explore the poetic potential of the everyday by imagining and articulating a vast emotional range embedded in the mundane objects that surround us. She is currently an Instructor and Interim Head of Ceramics at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

James Matthews (Panelist)
James Matthews is a documentary artist with a bias toward the human-made landscape, manual processes, and the physical object. His Eviction Quilts series features works made from clothes and bedding left curbside after an eviction. Matthews lives in Little Rock.

Leon Niehues (Panelist)
From Huntsville, Leon Niehues has been making baskets, sculptural baskets, and bentwood sculpture for 36 years. While using traditional materials and techniques, he adds innovative ideas, methods of construction, and new and unique materials to his pieces. Niehues, and his wife Sharon, were included in The White House Collection of American Crafts.

This program is FREE and open to the public, but reservations are required.

This program is held in conjunction with the Clinton Center’s current temporary exhibition, The White House Collection of American Crafts: 25th Anniversary Exhibit. The collection was originally assembled in 1993, at the request of First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. The White House Collection of American Crafts was created to coincide with the year designated “The Year of American Craft: A Celebration of the Creative Works of the Hand” by a Joint Resolution of Congress and a Presidential Proclamation by President George H. W. Bush. The collection includes 73 works created by 78 of America’s foremost craft artisans.

Late Night at Arkansas Arts Center features Art of Motion and Music: Movement and Frida

Art of Motion and Music: Movement and Frida

Artifact Dance Project Artistic Director Ashley Bowman will discuss her quest to portray Frida Kahlo through movement. The program will begin at 6pm tonight (February 21) at the Arkansas Arts Center Lecture Hall.  A wine reception at 5:30 precedes it.  As part of the Late Night at the Arkansas Arts Center, all galleries, the museum shop, and Watercolor restaurant are open until 9:00 p.m.

Frida Kahlo suffered great physical and emotional pain throughout her life that manifested through her art. Because of her many surgeries, she was often committed to long periods of bed rest and healing time. Portraying Frida through movement is a challenging task because the artist was bound by her body and made that clear throughout her journal and self-portraits. Bowman will discuss how dance became the perfect artform to communicate the inner-workings of an artist who could barely move at times.

Following the lecture, guests are invited to view the galleries, shop in the Museum Shop or enjoy dinner at Watercolor in the Park.

SELMA on CALS Ron Robinson Theatre screen tonight as part of “Movies of a Movement” series

Selma PosterTonight (February 21) at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater, there is the chance to view SELMA, the 2014 movie about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965.. The screening starts at 6:30.  Admission is $5.00

This movie is a part of the CALS Movies of a Movement: the Civil Rights & Social Change Collection.

The unforgettable true story chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement.

Direced by Ava DuVernay, it stars David Oyelowo as Dr. King and Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King. Others in the cast include Tom Wilkinson, Giovanni Ribisi, Andre Holland, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Colman Domingo, Common, Lorraine Toussaint, Dylan Baker, Niecy Nash, Tim Roth, and Stephen Root.  John Lavelle plays former Arkansas Gazette reporter Roy Reed who covered Selma for The New York Times.

Rock the Oscars 2019: Roy Reed

It is possible that journalist extraordinaire Roy Reed appears in archival footage of the Oscar winning documentary “Nine from Little Rock” (Documentary, Short-1964) and Oscar nominated Eyes on the Prize: Bridge to Freedom 1965 (Documentary, Feature-1988).  First for the Arkansas Gazette and then for The New York Times, Reed was an eyewitness to history being made.  What is not in doubt is that he is a character in the Oscar winning film Selma.  In that movie, he was played by actor John Lavelle.

Roy Reed was born on February 14, 1930, in Hot Springs and grew up in Garland County. After attending Ouachita Baptist College and the University of Missouri (from which he would receive a Bachelor’s and a Master’s in Journalism), Reed worked for a newspaper in Joplin and served in the US Army.  In 1956, he returned to Arkansas to work for the Arkansas Gazette.

While he did not specifically cover the integration of Little Rock Central High in 1957, he was part of the paper’s coverage of civil rights. He later was assigned to cover the Faubus administration.  In 1965, he was hired by The New York Times and covered the South. He covered the historic Freedom March to the state Capitol in Montgomery in March 1965.  After spending 1965 and 1966 in the South, he was assigned to the Times’ Washington DC bureau.  In 1969, he moved to New Orleans to open a Southern bureau for the paper.  He remained in the Crescent City until 1976, when he was transferred to the London bureau.

After retiring in 1978, he moved to Northwest Arkansas and taught journalism at the University of Arkansas until 1995.  Reed continued to write essays and books including Faubus: The Life and Times of an American Prodigal (1997),  Looking Back at the Arkansas Gazette: An Oral History (2009) and Beware of Limbo Dancers: A Correspondent’s Adventures with the New York Times (2012).  Reed died in December 2017.

“An American In….” is theme of LR Winds Concert tonight

Izzy in ParisFor this late winter concert, Little Rock Winds presents “An American In …”, a program that paints musical visits to fun places. The concert begins at 7:30 pm at Second Presbyterian Church.

The LR Winds are under the direction of Israel Getzov, Music Director.

PROGRAM

•  David Maslanka:  On This Bright Morning
•  Ralph Ford:  Go West!
•  Michael Daugherty:  Brooklyn Bridge Clarinet Concerto, mvt. 3 & 4
•  Alfred Reed:  Alleluia! Laudamus Te   (In memory of Elizabeth Plowman)
•  Chris Sharp: An American Spectacular 
•  George Gershwin: An American in Paris
•  Henry Fillmore: Americans We

LETTER SWEATER NIGHT!
Hunt down your high school band letter sweater or jacket and wear (or bring) to the concert for a fun photo op and story session!

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Tonight’s OXFORD AMERICAN “Americana” concert features Dom Flemons

Image may contain: 1 person, playing a musical instrument and guitarThe Oxford American is excited to welcome Dom Flemons to Little Rock tonight (February 21).

Dom Flemons is originally from Phoenix, Arizona and currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area. He is known as “The American Songster” since his repertoire of music covers nearly 100 years of American folklore, ballads, and tunes. Flemons is a music scholar, historian, record collector and a multi-instrumentalist.

This is the third show in their 2018-19 Americana Series. Doors open at 6:00 PM, with dinner and drinks available for purchase at that time. The series is made possible in part by presenting sponsor Stella Boyle Smith Trust.

Additional season partners include Chris & Jo Harkins, J. Mark & Christy Davis, UCA College of Fine Arts & Communication, EVO Business Environments, Downtown Little Rock Partnership, Stacy Hamilton of Pulaski Heights Realty, Margaret Ferguson Pope, Arkansas Arts Council, Department of Arkansas Heritage, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, Capital Hotel, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Rosen Music Company, and Steinway Piano Gallery of Little Rock.

Tickets are $25 (General Admission), $32 (Reserved), and $34 (Premium Reserved). Please take a look at this very important ticketing and seating information before purchasing your tickets (view reserved seating chart)