Tonight – Clinton School and UA Little Rock present program on The Struggle in the South mural

Today (January 16) at noon, UA Little Rock officially cuts the ribbon on the new UA Little Rock Downtown campus in the River Market district.

Tonight at 6pm, the Clinton School Speaker Series in conjunction with UA Little Rock presents a panel discussion on the Joe Jones mural, “The Struggle in the South” which is featured in that new space.  It will take place in the UA Little Rock Downtown location.

In 1935, famed American artist Joe Jones created “The Struggle in the South,” a provocative depiction of Southern sharecroppers, coal miners and a black family in fear of a lynching.

Originally painted in the dining hall at Commonwealth College near Mena, Arkansas, this 44-by-9-foot work was recently restored with a $500,000 grant from Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Center.

During this program, moderator Senator Joyce Elliott will join Brad Cushman, UA Little Rock Department of Art and Design Gallery director and curator; author Guy Lancaster; Dr. Brian Mitchell, UA Little Rock professor of history; Dr. Bobby L. Robert, former UA Little Rock archivist and Central Arkansas Library System executive director; and Taemora Williams, UA Little Rock student, to discuss the artwork’s historical significance and importance of its new home in UA Little Rock Downtown’s reflection room.

All Clinton School Speaker Series events are free and open to the public. Reserve your seats by emailing or by calling (501) 683-5239.


The Pen to Podium series kicks off 2019 with HILLBILLY HELLRAISERS

Image result for hillbilly hellraisersThe first Pen to Podium of 2019 is Dr. Blake Perkins discussing Hillbilly Hellraisers at 6:00 p.m.

This program is sponsored by the Arkansas State Archives, a division of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.  It will be held at the DAH headquarters located at 1100 North Street.

The lecture is free and part of the 2019 Historical Writers’ Lecture Series.  The Friends of the Arkansas State Archives plan to host a reception with refreshments 30 minutes before the lecture.

Perkins’ book, Hillbilly Hellraisers: Federal Power and Populist Defiance in the Ozarks, has drawn praise for its insightful look into how rural people in the Ozarks reacted to and resisted federalism in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Ozarks includes parts of Arkansas and Missouri, where people have a reputation for anti-government sentiment. Perkins’ book asks what role heritage plays in perpetuating that attitude and focuses on real people’s experiences. The book traces social and political changes from the Populist revolt of the 1880s and 1890s to the modern-day Tea Party protests and the popularity of President Donald Trump.

“I think in many ways the Ozarks is an excellent microcosm of rural America in general,” Perkins said.

Perkins was born in the Ozarks and grew up on a fifth-generation farm near the southeastern Ozarks in western Lawrence and Sharp counties. He became interested in his family roots and history in elementary school. He has since become an assistant professor and chair of the History Department at Williams Baptist University in Walnut Ridge. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Lyon College, a master’s degree from Missouri State University and a doctoral degree from West Virginia University.

Perkins said the history behind local politics and its evolution is fascinating. “As I watched anti-Obama, anti-Washington politics surge in Arkansas between 2008 and 2016, I’ve been fascinated to investigate and learn more about rural political and social history,” he said.

Preservation Conversation tonight – Mason Toms discusses Little Rock’s built environment

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A city’s built environment is a tangible link to the past. Walking the streets of cities can be a lesson in architectural history, if you know where to look. Due to the its economic and cultural prominence, Little Rock boasts the best collection of architectural styles in the state of Arkansas . The first Preservation Conversation of 2019 will explore the multitude of different forms that the architecture of the city has taken on over the last 189 years. Learn about what these styles meant to the people that built them and how they related to each other.

The event will take place in the Mixing Room at the Old Paint Factory in the East Village, 1306 East 6th Street, 72202
What Time: 5:30 pm (reception); 6:00 pm (lecture)
RSVP: The event is free and open to the public, but please RSVP. 
Parking: There is parking directly in front of the doors that are marked “live”, “print”, “meet.” If those spots are taken. park in the parking lot to the right. There is also street parking in front of the building.
Entrance: Enter the event space through the door facing 6th Street marked “Meet.”

Questions? Call 501-371-0075 ext. 3 or email

Speaker Bio: 

Mason Toms is an architectural historian and preservation designer at the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. He works within the Main Street Arkansas program to assist building owners in historic downtowns to preserve their facades and storefronts, while still making them visually appealing to the changing demographics of the areas. Mason also works closely with the National Register and Survey staff to research and survey Mid-Century Modern architecture around Arkansas. To get the word out about the many remarkable Modernist structures in Arkansas to the general public, Mason created and continues to administer the Facebook group Mid-Century Modern Arkansas, which features a different Modernist building in the state every Friday.

Mid-Century Modern work of Frank Doughty topic of architecture lecture

Tonight (January 8), the Architecture and Design Network (ADN) continues its 2018/2019 June Freeman lecture series by taking a look at the Mid-Century Modern work of architect Frank Doughty (1930-present), a lecture by Mason Toms, architectural historian and preservation designer at the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.  The program is entitled “The Unexpected Modernism of Frank Doughty.”

There is a reception starting at 5:30pm followed by the lecture at 6pm. It is in the lecture hall of the Arkansas Arts Center.

Frank L. Doughty was born and raised near Tunica, Mississippi at the dawn of the 1930s. After high school and military service during the Korean Conflict, Doughty attended the University of Arkansas architecture program. After graduating from the program, he went to work for internationally renowned architect and Arkansas native, Edward Durell Stone, in his New York office. This was followed by work in the Fayetteville office of equally renowned architect, E. Fay Jones. Eventually he moved to Boca Rotan, Florida, where he operated his own practice before returning to Arkansas to teach at the University of Arkansas School of Architecture.

Though primarily remembered for his 23 years as an architecture professor at the University of Arkansas, Doughty also created a small but meaningful body of work that injected Modernist architecture into the most unlikely of places in a profound and elegant way. Located mainly in the Arkansas Delta region, Doughty’s work drew inspiration from the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and Edward Durell Stone as well as the surrounding rural landscape. He uniquely designed his buildings in such a way that they simultaneously stood out and blended into their individual settings.  The excellence of construction and high level of architectural skill present in each of the structures has made them hidden gems of Modernist design in predominantly traditional areas.

Mason Toms is an architectural historian and preservation designer at the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. In college, Mason developed a passion for Mid-Century Modern architecture, but was disappointed to learn that there was little research being done on Mid-Century Modern architects in Arkansas. This led him to work closely with the National Register and Survey staff to find, research, and document Mid-Century Modern architecture around the state.

In an effort to raise awareness of the many remarkable Modernist structures in Arkansas, Mason created and continues to administer the Facebook group Mid-Century Modern Arkansas. The group page features a different Modernist building in the state almost every Friday. Additionally, Mason collaborates with local preservation organizations to create tours and present lectures that center on the significance of Mid-Century Modern architecture in general and the unique examples found here in Arkansas.

Architecture and Design Network lectures are free and open to the public. No reservations are required. Supporters of ADN include the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, the Central Section of the Arkansas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and friends in the community.

Sandwich in History at noon today at St. Luke’s UMC in program sponsored by @SavingARPlaces

The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program each month sponsors a Sandwiching in History tour which familiarize people who live and work in central Arkansas with the historic structures and sites around us.

The tours take place on Fridays at noon, last less than an hour, and participants are encouraged to bring their lunches so that they can eat while listening to a brief lecture about the property and its history before proceeding on a short tour.

Today (January 4) at 12 noon, this month’s tour is at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, located at 6401 West 32nd Street.

Founded in 1956, St. Luke’s United Methodist was one of the first congregations created in the Broadmoor development of Little Rock.  The sanctuary, bell tower, and prayer chapel are early examples of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Organic Architecture in a church.

The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program is an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

18 Cultural Events from 2018 – OXFORD AMERICAN celebrates 50 years of TRUE GRIT

Image result for true grit 50 oxford americanThroughout April, the Oxford American magazine haled a series of events to mark “50 Years of True Grit.” It culminated with programs over the weekend of April 20-21, 2018, to celebrate the anniversary of the publication of the beloved novel by Charles Portis, one of the magazine’s most acclaimed contributors.

The festivities included panel discussions, readings, tours, museum exhibits, film screenings, and a special Saturday-night variety show, featuring comedy, music by Portis’s fellow Arkansas native Iris DeMent, and appearances and performances by the book’s notable fans.

Published by Simon & Schuster in 1968 (after it was first serialized in the Saturday Evening Post), True Grit earned immediate popularity and critical praise as a rousing frontier adventure tale in which fourteen-year-old Mattie Ross seeks to avenge her father’s murder with the aid of a down-at-the-heels federal marshal named Rooster Cogburn. Over the past half-century, readers of all ages have come to treasure the book as a classic of American literature. The book has inspired two award-winning films-the 1969 version, which earned John Wayne his sole Academy Award, and the 2010 remake by Joel and Ethan Coen starring Hailee Steinfeld and Jeff Bridges.

“So few books stand the test of time but True Grit’s literary reputation and its popularity have only grown in fifty years,” said Jay Jennings, a senior editor at the Oxford American and editor of the collection Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany. “We thought the book’s landmark anniversary deserved a big celebration in the state that is the setting for much of the book and the home of both the author and the magazine.” Portis has published a number of humor pieces in the Oxford American and in 2010 was awarded the magazine’s inaugural prize for Lifetime Achievement in Southern Literature.

In October it was announced that the Oxford American was the 2019 recipient of the Arkansas Arts Council’s Governor’s Arts Award for Folklife.

18 Cultural Events from 2018 – 2nd FUSION: Arts+Humanities at Clinton Center

3.  In February , the Clinton Presidential Center presented the second annual Fusion: Arts + Humanities Arkansas, a program that promotes heritage and culture and celebrates human achievement by weaving the arts and humanities together to provide a unique and engaging experience. The theme of Fusion 2018 was Exploring the Louisiana Purchase and its Impact on Arkansas.

There was a public symposium of Fusion: Arts + Humanities Arkansas which featured interactive conversations with historians and subject matter experts; a Cajun-Creole musical performance by Grammy-nominated fiddler, David Greely; and members of the Early Arkansaw Reenactors Association who participated in-character.

An accompanying exhibit, The Great Expedition: Exploring the Louisiana Purchase and its Impact on Arkansas, included original documents from the Louisiana Purchase, and was on display at the Clinton Center from February 2 to March 4, 2018.

The Great Exhibition: Exploring the Louisiana Purchase and its Impact on Arkansas included the following objects which are on loan from the National Archives and Records Administration, unless otherwise noted.

  • The American original of the treaty between the United States of America and the French Republic ceding the province of Louisiana to the United States, signed for the U.S. by Robert Livingston and James Monroe, and for the French by Finance Minister François de Barbé-Marbois
  • The exchange copy of the convention for payment of sums due to U.S. citizens signed by future French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte
  • The American original of the convention for payment of 60 million francs signed for the U.S. by Robert Livingston and James Monroe, and for the French by Finance Minister François de Barbé-Marbois
  • William Dunbar’s journal, eyeglasses, compass, and other objects from the Dunbar-Hunter expedition of Louisiana and Arkansas (on loan from Ouachita Baptist University)
  • Napoleon Bonaparte death mask (On loan from the Tennessee Historical Society Collection at the Tennessee State Museum)
  • A portrait of Napoleon by John C. Grimes (On loan from the Tennessee Historical Society Collection at the Tennessee State Museum)
  • The “Aux Arc” keelboat, which is a forty-foot-long replica of the boat used during the Dunbar-Hunter expedition, will be displayed in the Clinton Center’s fountain (On loan from the Early Arkansaw Reenactors Association)

Additional objects on display in the exhibit were on loan from the Arkansas State Archives, Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, and Historic Arkansas Museum.

FUSION is spearheaded by Kaki Hockersmith and Stephanie S. Streett.