Documentary about Arkansas Arts Center’s 60th Delta Show wins award at Fayetteville Film Fest

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DELTA 60, an Arkansas Arts Center original documentary film, was awarded “Best Arkansas Connection” at the 2019 Fayetteville Film Fest.  

The Fayetteville Film Fest, now in its 11th year, champions independent films and filmmakers and works to build relationships between filmmakers and supporters. DELTA 60, which was directed by Arts Center Digital Media Producer Matthew Rowe and co-produced by Rowe and Director of Marketing and Communications Angel Galloway, was screened at the annual film festival in Fayetteville on October 5.

The hour-long documentary explores the innovative work featured in the 60th Annual Delta Exhibition through the eyes of 10 Arkansas artists. Following the artists as they create work that addresses place, identity, representation and history, DELTA 60 proves the power of art to challenge its viewers – and its makers.

While the Delta Exhibition has been an important Arkansas Arts Center tradition for more than 60 years, DELTA 60 is the first documentary film to explore the exhibition in depth.

Every year, the Annual Delta Exhibition – which was founded in 1958 – offers a snapshot of the art being made in the Mississippi River Delta region at that moment. For 61 years, the Annual Delta Exhibition has offered a conversation about its time and place, with artists often reflecting on the landscape, people and history of the region. With DELTA 60, Arts Center producers looked to offer a fresh perspective on the Delta Exhibition.

“When we began capturing individual artist stories during the 60th anniversary Delta Exhibition last year, we realized that these stories were really part of something bigger,” Galloway said. “While we only introduce you to 10 artists in this film, this exhibition has been shining a light on regional artists across the Delta for 61 years. This film is really a celebration of that history, and all those artists who shared their vision and voice with our community.”

DELTA 60 follows both emerging and established artists as they work, joining them in their studios, homes and on the road as they dive into their craft, motivation and vision. The artists featured in the film provide a unique lens through which to view the Delta Exhibition:

Melissa Cowper-Smith uses handmade paper as an active surface for reflections on what is remembered and what is forgotten.

Neal Harrington’s large-scale woodcuts create a sense of mythology and folklore tied to the Ozark region.

Tammy Harrington explores her Chinese heritage through intricately layered prints and cut paper works.

Robyn Horn’s wood sculptures articulate the tensions inherent in the natural world.

Tim Hursley, a photographer for world-famous architects, finds the beauty in the agricultural structures of rural Arkansas.

Lisa Krannichfeld’s female figures demand their space while rejecting easy interpretation.

James Matthews humanizes the overlooked places with quilts made from the things that are left behind. 

Dusty Mitchell uses found objects to challenge the assumed relationship between an object and its viewer.

Aj Smith seeks to provide a window into the souls of his subjects with intimate portraits.

Marjorie Williams-Smith invites her viewer to take a closer look her metalpoint self-portraits – and at themselves.

“These artists are reacting to their environment and, in doing so, challenging the way we see the things we see all the time. Several of the artists profiled are concerned with nature and land. Others still are trying to understand its people and its culture,” Rowe said. “It is my hope that viewers will be able to watch each artist’s story and gain a better understanding of their own world.”

DELTA 60 was produced by Angel Galloway and Matthew Rowe with original music written by Isaac Alexander. DELTA 60 is sponsored by Anne and Merritt Dyke and the Philip R. Jonsson Foundation. In addition, this project is supported in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information, visit arkansasartscenter.org or call 501-372-4000. To view the DELTA 60 trailer, visit youtu.be/Ka0AzI9pT3E.

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

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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.”

Artober – Public Art: Henry Moore’s Large Standing Figure Knife Edge

Arguably Little Rock’s most famous piece of public art is Henry Moore’s 1961 creation Large Standing Figure: Knife Edge, which is known locally as “The Henry Moore Sculpture.”

The original model was created in 1961; this sculpture was cast in 1976 and purchased in June 1978 by the Little Rock Metrocentre Improvement District.

The purchase price was $185,000 — a princely sum at the time but now a bargain for a Henry Moore sculpture. (Adjusted for inflation, that amount would be the equivalent of $705,000 today.)

A committee consisting of Townsend Wolfe (then the director and chief curator of the Arkansas Arts Center), James Dyke and Dr. Virginia Rembert traveled to England to meet with Moore about the sculpture.

It was originally placed on Main Street when the street had been bricked over as part of the Metrocentre Mall pedestrian mall plan. As portions of the street became unbricked and reopened to vehicular traffic, it was moved to the intersection of Capitol and Main. Finally, when the last segment was reopened to vehicular traffic, it was put at its current location of the southeast corner of Capitol and Louisiana. Because it was purchased by the Improvement District, it must stay within the boundaries of the district.

On March 20, 2018, the City of Little Rock and the Metrocentre Improvement District swapped the Henry Moore sculpture for the land on which the District’s parking deck stands. The City will relocate the Henry Moore piece to be in front of the Arkansas Arts Center once that reconstruction project is completed.

A replica of the sculpture is featured in the 1980s classic The Breakfast Club.

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

7th annual AAC Fountain Fest is tonight!

What better location for the 7th Fountain Fest in the Rock, than at 7th and Rock Streets?

With construction beginning at the Arkansas Arts Center’s MacArthur Park building this fall, the Contemporaries’ 7th Annual Fountain Fest is moving a few blocks down the street. This year’s fundraiser – featuring food, music, art and libations – will be on the lawn of the Terry House at the corner of East 7th and Rock Street in downtown Little Rock on October 17.

“We’re thrilled to be able to host Fountain Fest at the Terry House this year,” Contemporaries President Heather Wardle said. “Funds raised from Fountain Fest will support the Contemporaries continuing efforts to expand the Arkansas Arts Center Collection and provide exceptional arts programming for young professionals in Little Rock.”

The 7th Annual Fountain Fest will feature food from Petit & Keet and the Chenal Country Club, desserts by UA–Pulaski Tech Culinary Arts Institute, beer by Stone’s Throw Brewing and Back Forty Beer Company, and cocktails by Roxor Gin and Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Local duo Brian Nahlen and Jason Lee Hale will provide music. Museum School instructors and students will offer art-making experiences, and the Children’s Theatre will host a shadow-puppet photo booth.

“Fountain Fest is a great opportunity for the community to engage with everything the Arts Center and the Contemporaries have to offer,” Fountain Fest Chair Chris Smith said. “We’re excited to continue hosting this popular event even while the Arts Center’s MacArthur Park building is under construction.”

Fountain Fest will begin at 5:30 p.m. on October 17 on the Terry House lawn. Event tickets are $30 each or $50 for two and can be purchased at arkansasartscenter.org/fountain-fest or by calling (501) 372-4000. Sponsorship opportunities are still available; for more information contact Spencer Jansen at (501) 396-0337.

The event will also feature a chance drawing for a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 20yr Bourbon. Drawing tickets are $10 each and can be purchased at arkansasartscenter.org/fountain-fest or at the event. The winner does not have to be present to win.

Fountain Fest provides an opportunity for the community to engage with the Contemporaries, an affiliate-membership group of the Arkansas Arts Center made up of art enthusiasts who wish to expand their knowledge and appreciation of the arts. The Contemporaries programs provide young professionals with an opportunity to experience the Arkansas Arts Center and become involved with the local art community. Through exclusive tours of the Arts Center, private homes and local galleries, the Contemporaries develop a more informed appreciation of art. The funds raised at Fountain Fest support acquisitions on behalf of the Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection and other programming that supports the Arts Center.

The 7th Annual Fountain Fest is chaired by Chris Smith. Fountain Fest is sponsored by CenterPoint Energy, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Datamax, and Peckham + Smith Architects, Inc. In-kind sponsors are 107 Liquor; Roxor Gin; Stone’s Throw Brewing; Tito’s Handmade Vodka; Back Forty Beer Company; Moon Distributors; O’Connor Distributing; Chenal Country Club; UA–Pulaski Technical College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute; and Argenta Downtown Council.

Artober – Patterns….Quilts at Historic Arkansas Museum

Stitched Together: A Treasury of Arkansas Quilts

Rocky Mountain Road by Elizabeth Rogers Manning and Martha Manning. part of Historic Arkansas Museum collection.

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 Patterns.

One way to highlight patterns is to look at some in the Stitched Together exhibit at Historic Arkansas Museum. Quilting is a skill that was carried to the New World by immigrants.  However, in the almost two and half centuries since the colonies became states, quilting has evolved into a uniquely American tradition.

Quilting is all about patterns, sometimes repeating, sometimes in response. But it is all about patterns.

Here are a few from the exhibit:

The first features my favorite fabric pattern: PLAID!

Log Cabin, a pieced quilt ca. 1950 by Clara Baker.  Part of Historic Arkansas Museum collection.

 

Signature. Made by members of the Women’s Missionary Society of Lonoke County. 1907. Part of the Historic Arkansas Museum collection.

Star of Bethlehem and unnamed pattern. Pieced and appliqued quilt. Mary Jane Vincent, ca. 1860. Part of Historic Arkansas Museum collection.