Artober – Sustainable Art. WASHED ASHORE exhibit at Clinton Presidential Library

Image result for shark clinton center

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. Today’s focus is Sustainable Art.

For a few days more, visitors to the Clinton Presidential Center can experience Washed Ashore is a family-friendly exhibit that will feature more than 20 giant sea life sculptures – made entirely of trash and debris collected from beaches. This exhibit poignantly illustrates the toll trash takes on our oceans and waterways.

The incredible marine life sculptures will be accompanied by educational signage allowing visitors to learn about the fascinating species, environmental stewardship, responsible consumer habits, and how “every action counts” to help save our waterways.

Washed Ashore is a visual reminder of the disposable products that end up in our waters, and that each of us can take action to prevent further pollution. “Hope, creativity, [and] imagination will be required to meet the challenges that we face with our oceans,” said President Bill Clinton to the National Oceans Conference in June 1998. “But they are the traits that first enabled and inspired explorers to take to the sea. They are traits that allowed us to look at our inextricable ties to our environment and invent new ways to protect our natural wonders from harm in the last three decades. In the 21st century, these traits – hope, creativity, imagination – they must lead us to preserve our living oceans as a sacred legacy for all time to come.”

The Washed Ashore exhibit will be primarily displayed inside two of the Clinton Center’s
galleries. Visitors will see Eli the Eel, walk through the Reef at Risk, and be able to play the Styrofoam Drum Set. The exhibit opened to the public on April 27; a second phase featuring additional sculptures opened in June, when Priscilla the Parrot Fish, a 16-foot-long, 1,500-pound brightly-colored sculpture was installed to greet visitors from the water fountains located outside the front doors.

“The sculptures are beautiful, truly works of art, but they are a poignant reminder that our oceans and waterways are precious resources that need our attention now more than ever,” said Stephanie S. Streett, executive director of the Clinton Foundation.

“From the student visitor to the grand parent, we hope that everyone who has the opportunity to enjoy Washed Ashore walks away with a renewed sense of awe and responsibility.”

Washed Ashore presents an opportunity to reflect on the Clinton administration’s efforts to safeguard essential bodies of water and promote environmental stewardship. “President Bill Clinton’s administration took strong action to protect our coasts and waterways,” said Terri Garner, director of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. “He signed crucial legislation and issued key executive orders designed to improve water quality, protect wetlands and coasts, and reduce waste while increasing the use of recycled products.”

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31 years of Little Rock’s flag

On October 18, 1988, the City of Little Rock Board of Directors adopted the first official flag for the City of Little Rock.

The adoption of Ordinance No. 15,566 was the culmination of a design competition which had been spearheaded by Little Rock City Director Sharon Priest (later Little Rock Mayor, Arkansas Secretary of State and Executive Director of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership).

Prior to the Official Board of Directors meeting that day, a press conference was held in the Little Rock City Board Chambers for presentation of the City’s flag.  The City Beautiful Commission, a commission of the Department of  Parks and Recreation, sponsored a the contest which received a total of fifteen flag designs.

The flags were judged October 12, 1988, by City Directors and City Beautiful Commission Members. Director Sharon Priest presented the winning flag and introduced David Wilson, a law clerk at the Mitchell Law Firm, who designed the flag chosen for the $1,000 first prize. The second-place winner was Craig Rains, who received $500; and the third-place recipient was David Tullis, who received $250.

The flag was adopted by the City Board that night by a 6-0 vote; former mayor and current director Charles Bussey was absent.  Those voting to adopt the flag were Mayor Lottie Shackelford and directors Sharon Priest, Tom Prince, Buddy Villines, Buddy Benafield and Tom Milton.  Priest would be a future mayor while Prince, Villines and Benafield had all served as mayor.

The official description of the flag is as follows:

As the official flag of the City of Little Rock, its symbolism is described as follows: A clean white background of the banner represents the optimism and open potential that the city has to offer. The royal blue horizontal broad stripe symbolizes the Arkansas River which borders Little Rock, and has served as an economical and historical emblem since the city’s beginning. The forest green stripe runs vertical to the royal blue stripe, creating a cross which symbolizes the location and statute of Little Rock—a city serving not only as the crossroads of Arkansas, but a crossroad of the mid-southern United States as well.

The strong forest green color depicts the fields, parks and forests which contribute to the natural beauty of the city. The seal of the flag is a modernized adaptation of the current Little Rock seal. The razorback red silhouette of the great State of Arkansas shows her capitol, the City of Little Rock, represented by the centered star. The star rises directly above “The Little Rock”—the protruding cliff along the Arkansas River, which was discovered in 1722 by French explorer La Harpe, when the city was given the name. The Arkansas River behind the rock and the symmetrical oak leaves in the border of the seal are a stylized illustration of what the flag’s stripes represent—the natural beauty of the city. Finally, the gold color of the seal and bordering stripes symbolize the superior economic history, and the future economic potential that is available in the City of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Artober – Arts After Dark

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.  Next up is “Arts after Dark”

This theme, like many of them, could go in many different directions.  I’ve chosen to highlight some cultural institutions lit up at night.

Ballet Arkansas and the Annex of Arkansas Rep on Main Street

Jane DeDecker and Alyson Kinkade’s IN THE WINGS in front of Robinson Center Performance Hall.

Darrell Davis’ Lions Pride in War Memorial Park

 

Lastly, while this photo took place indoors, it is a recreation of what the entrance to the Arkansas Arts Center will look like in 2022 when Henry Moore’s STANDING FIGURE KNIFE’S EDGE is located in front of the 1937 entrance to the AAC, which will once again be the main entrance. This was created for the AAC’s Farewell Party in August 2019.

Once and Future Arkansas Arts Center 9th Street entrance