October is Arts and Humanities Month nationally and in Little Rock. Americans for the Arts has identified a different arts topic to be posted for each day in the month. We end today with “Art That Changed Me.”
So many possibilities: Oliver!, the first production I saw; reading The Comedy of Errors (first Shakespeare play I read); the Missouri State University production of The Normal Heart; seeing George Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon on the Island La Grand Jatte or a Jackson Pollock piece both at the Art Institute of Chicago; Diego Rivera’s Two Women in the Arkansas Arts Center collection; hearing David Belcher play the piano in Rhapsody in Blue or the Arkansas Symphony playing Firebird Suite; the list goes on an on.
I grew up with the arts. I grew up valuing the arts. Art has moved me, made me laugh, made me cry, made me think, pretty much my entire life. All art changes me in some fashion.
So, I’ll cheat and talk about Art that Changed Little Rock. Again, many choices, but it is easier to be more objective about that. With the recent re-exposure of the original 1937 facade of the Museum of Fine Arts, that made me think of photos of the original building which were sent to me by Lally Brown. She is a granddaughter of Nettie Robinson, who was the first (and longtime) director of the Museum of Fine Arts.
For many years, this facade was inside a gallery of the Arkansas Arts Center. I have long said this facade was one of my favorite pieces in the Arkansas Arts Center collection. Now, it will once again be a portal through which people will enter and experience the arts.
Photo from the collection of Lally Brown.
The Museum of Fine Arts changed Little Rock. It was the first cultural institution that was an art facility. It provided a place to take classes and started to inspire people to aspire for more and better art. It served as the foundation for the Arkansas Arts Center and all that it has offered. Most of Little Rock’s performing and visual arts entities can trace their heritage to the Museum of Fine Arts.
It all started here.