Arkansas Chamber Singers highlight Old State House Museum’s December 2nd Friday Art Night

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The Old State House Museum has something festive lined up for December’s #2ndFridayLR – the Arkansas Chamber Singers will be here to share holiday joy!

The group will perform at 7 p.m. during Second Friday Art Night and then have additional concerts at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15.

This season brings a heightened sense of Revelry, Reflection, and Revelation, and the singers will bring music celebrating this ‘most wonderful time of year!

All three performances are free, but reservations are required for the Saturday and Sunday concerts. Get your tickets today before they sell out!

Free Admission! Snacks and alcoholic beverages are also free.

First Beaux Arts Bal raised money for fine art acquisition in Little Rock on December 12, 1958

Snow covered highways throughout the state on Friday, December 12, 1958.  However, the 400 guests at the Fine Arts Club’s first Beaux Arts Bal braved the roads and made their way to the blue drape bedecked ballroom of the Country Club of Little Rock. (Note, the event used the French spelling of Ball using only one “l.”)

Proceeds from the evening would be used by the Fine Arts Club to build up an acquisition fund for the Museum of Fine Arts. At the time, the club was in the process of launching an effort which would lead to the creation of the Arkansas Arts Center.

With the theme “bal de tete” (or “Head Ball”) guests were encouraged to come in their finest evening wear while sporting elegant and/or creative chapeaus atop their crowns.

Gege Darragh

Among the revelers were:

  • Elsie Stebbins, president of the Fine Arts Club, wearing a papier-mache silhouette of Arkansas adorned with the five flags which had flown over it
  • Howard Stebbins, president of Ducks Unlimited, wearing a replica of a duck blind complete with Mallard ducks
  • Daisy Jacoway, beneath a white Christmas wreath
  • Cooper Jacoway, clad in a black and white bear’s head with eyes flashing on and off
  • Carrie Dickinson, wearing a hat made of pink and red roses
  • Mayriann Hurst, bedecked in an epergne holding Christmas ornaments and fresh white orchids (as befitting the owner of Tipton Hurst florist)

Gege Darragh won a prize as “Most Artistic” hat which included lighted candles on a styrofoam base intermingled with white glitter oak leaves and silver balls. Her prize was a portrait by noted Arkansas artist Edwin Brewer.

The Hamiltons (as Marie Antoinette and her executioner) and the Kreths (as Siamese dancers)

Dr. and Mrs. K. M. Kreth won the prize for “Best Hats” which were a matching pair of elaborate gold peaked headdresses in the style of Siamese dancers. Their prize was a trip to Nassau.

The “Most Creative” prize went to Jeane and Jim Hamilton who wore hats depicting Marie Antoinette and her executioner.  They received a Swedish crystal masque.

The headgear was judged by a triumvirate of notables: Little Rock hotelier, restaurateur, and raconteur Sam Peck; future Arkansas First Lady Jeannette Rockefeller, and architect Edward Durrell Stone.

Among the many women serving with Elsie Stebbins on the planning committee were Jane McGehee, Daisy Jacoway, Raida Pfeifer, Buff Blass, and Kula Kumpuris.

Just as the Museum of Fine Arts made way for the Arkansas Arts Center, so too did this event change.  In 1971, the annual Beaux Arts Bal was replaced by Tabriz. In 1976, it became a two night event which took place every other year.

Peck, Rockefeller, and Stone judging the head wear

Holiday Open House this afternoon at Old State House Museum

It’s the most wonderful time of the year … to visit the Old State House Museum! Celebr ate the holidays with the museum during Holiday Open House on Sunday, Dec. 8, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The museum will look its best with plenty of holiday décor, and local music groups, like the Sweet Adelines and Little Rock Central High Madrigals, will create a festive atmosphere. Visitors can participate in hands-on holiday activities and enjoy yuletide treats.

Admission is free, and a trolley will be available to take visitors between Old State House Museum, Historic Arkansas Museum and Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, as well as the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion, at no charge.

Holiday Open House and Sweet Potato Pie contest at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center

Celebrate the season with Mosaic Templars Cultural Center at the Holiday Open House!

The main attraction at Holiday Open House is the Say It Ain’t Say’s Sweet Potato Pie Contest. Both amateurs and professionals can compete to see whose pie is worthy to be in the same category as Robert “Say” McIntosh, a popular Little Rock restauranteur known for his generosity and his tasty sweet potato pie.

Those who can’t bake … eat! Guests get to sample the entries and vote for their favorites to win the People’s Choice Award.

There’s even more to enjoy at Holiday Open House, like musical performances and a family craft room!

Holiday Open House is free, but visitors are encouraged to bring a toy to donate to local children through Say’s Stop the Violence, a local nonprofit organization.

Hours are from 2pm to 5pm.

For more information, please call (501) 683-3593 or visit mosaictemplarscenter.com.

(A free trolley can take you to the Historic Arkansas Museum, the Old State House Museum and the Arkansas Governors Mansion.)

FROZEN SCIENCE at the Museum of Discovery today!

Don’t “Let It Go” when it comes to the opportunity for Frozen Science at the Museum of Discovery.

The fun (and learning – but don’t tell the kids they will actually learn things) is today (December 7) from 10am to 3pm.

Suit up for a wintry science adventure full of icy experiments, liquid nitrogen demos and chilly hands-on activities!

Tickets are included in regular museum admission or free for members. Purchase tickets at the door or online.

Studio Gang was announced as Arkansas Arts Center architect on Dec. 6, 2016

On December 6, 2016, the Arkansas Arts Center (AAC) announced the selection of Studio Gang as design architect for its upcoming building project.

The five firms selected as finalists were Allied Works (Portland, Ore./New York), Shigeru Ban (New York/Paris/Tokyo, Japan), Studio Gang (Chicago/New York), Thomas Phifer (New York) and Snohetta (Oslo, Norway/New York/San Francisco).

Studio Gang was deemed the best fit for the project due to the firm’s elegant and smart approach to architecture, their understanding of the issues posed by the AAC’s current facility, their vision for the center as a cultural beacon for Central Arkansas and their commitment to sustainability and strength as urban planners.

Founded by MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang is an award-winning architecture and urbanism practice based out of Chicago and New York. A recipient of the 2013 National Design Award, Jeanne Gang was also named the 2016 Archiitect of the Year by the Architectural Review and the firm was awarded the 2016 Architizer A+ award for Firm of the Year.

Studio Gang is recognized internationally for a design process that foregrounds the relationships between individuals, communities and environments. The firm has extensive knowledge in museum, theatre and artist studio spaces, with projects ranging from the Writers Theatre in Glencoe, Ill. to the Aqua Tower in Chicago to the expansion of the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Since their selection, Studio Gang has brought on a variety of other members of the consultant team including:

In February 2018, Studio Gang released their first designs for the project.  On October 1, 2019, ground was broken and construction officially commenced.

Sandwich in History at the Arsenal Tower Building in MacArthur Park today

Image may contain: sky, cloud, house and outdoorYou are invited to join the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program’s next “Sandwiching in History” tour, which will visit one of Little Rock’s oldest standing structures, the Arsenal Tower Building, now home to the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History on 9th Street in MacArthur Park in Little Rock beginning at noon on Friday, December 6, 2019.

This structure was built as part of a federal military installation. The U.S. Arsenal is the only building that remains of the more than 30 that made up the original installation. After 1892, the arsenal grounds became City Park and later MacArthur Park in 1942.

The two-story brick building displays a slight Gothic influence in a centered octagonal entry tower. Symmetrical east and west wings display two-story full porches. For several decades, the building was endangered, but the City of Little Rock undertook a renovation project in the 1930s. The U.S. Arsenal currently houses the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History.

Sandwiching in History tours are worth one hour of AIA continuing education credit. If you would like to receive email notifications of upcoming tours instead of postcards or need additional information, please contact Callie Williams, Education and Outreach Coordinator for AHPP, at 501-324-9880 or Callie.Williams@arkansas.gov.