Help the Little Rock Zoo name the new baby organutan

The Little Rock Zoo is asking the public to help choose a name for the new baby orangutan born to Berani and father Bandar on July 29, 2019. The young female is the first infant born to Berani and the fifth born to Bandar.

The public is invited to vote by online poll available at the Zoo’s website and Facebook page.  The voting will end Friday, August 30, 2019, when the winning name will be announced. The Zoo keepers have selected four names from which to choose.

The choices are:

  • Kasih (pronounced KAH-see)  (Malay), which means love
  • Markisa (pronounced Mark-KEE-suh) (Malay), which means passion fruit
  • Sabah (pronounced SA-bah  (Malay), which is the name of the state in northern Borneo where orangutans are found
  • Madu (MAH-do) (Malay) which means honey.

The baby orangutan’s birth came at the recommendation of the Orangutan Species Survival Plan® (SSP), a program that cooperatively manages orangutan species in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to further conservation goals. This SSP Program coordinates species conservation, research, husbandry, management and educational initiatives. The Little Rock Zoo also participates in the AZA SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction) program for orangutans. AZA SAFE programs combine the collective strength of AZA organizations to help save species in the wild.

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August 20, 1961 – Groundbreaking for Arkansas Arts Center

On a warm Sunday afternoon, ten golden shovels turned dirt to mark the start of construction for the new Arkansas Arts Center.  The activity followed a series of speeches that day, August 20, 1961.

The speakers and dignitaries sat on the front portico of the original Museum of Fine Arts in MacArthur Park. That building would be incorporated into the new structure.

Among those who took part in the speeches and groundbreaking were Winthrop Rockefeller, Jeannette Edris Rockefeller, Gov. Orval Faubus, Congressman Dale Alford, and Little Rock Mayor Werner Knoop.

The efforts to create the Arkansas Arts Center started in the mid-1950s when the Junior League of Little Rock started an effort to establish a new art museum.  Next, the business community founded a Committee for a Center of Art and Science to accept funds donated.

When a suitable location within Little Rock could not be found, the decision was made to join with the Fine Arts Club and the Museum of Fine Arts.  Under the leadership of the Rockefellers, the drive to form the Arkansas Arts Center was launched. In September 1960, the City of Little Rock formally established the Arkansas Arts Center.

FREE admission at Clinton Center today in honor of President Clinton’s Birthday

President Clinton’s birthday is next week.  But the Clinton Presidential Center is offering visitors the present.  Today from 9am to 5pm, the Clinton Presidential Center admission fees will be waived.

This is a chance to tour the permanent exhibits, including replicas of the Oval Office and the White House Cabinet Room, as well as the current temporary exhibit, Washed Ashore, at no charge!

Washed Ashore is a family-friendly exhibit that will eature 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.

Little Rock Look Back: Birth of longtime Arkansas Arts Center director Townsend Wolfe

Townsend Wolfe, who led the Arkansas Arts Center for 34 years, was born on August 15, 1935.  He was hired to lead the Arkansas Arts Center 50 years ago this month.

Though not the founding director of the Arkansas Arts Center, Wolfe was the director for well over half of the institution’s 57 year history. Hired in 1968 at the age of 32 (making him one of the youngest art museum directors in the US at the time), he retired in 2002.  That year he was honored with the Governor’s Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Arkansas Arts Council.

A native of South Carolina, Wolfe held a bachelor’s degree from the Atlanta Art Institute and a master’s degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. He also received a certificate from the Harvard Institute of Arts Administration, and honorary doctoral degrees from two other institutions.  After teaching some classes and seminars at the AAC in the early 1960s, he was recruited to return full-time to the Arkansas Arts Center by Governor and Mrs. Winthrop Rockefeller.

During his tenure at the Arts Center, he first was responsible for creating financial stability. After drastic cost-cutting measures, he refocused programming which led to the creation of the current Museum School, a focus of works on paper for the collection, cultivating a thriving collectors group, establishment of a children’s theatre, expansion of statewide services, and several additions to the physical structure.  He encouraged others to collect art and expanded Arts Center programming into Little Rock neighborhoods.

In addition to serving on the National Council of the Arts, Wolfe was a member of the National Museum Services Board and the board of the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts in New York. He was curator for an exhibition in the First Ladies’ Sculpture Garden at the White House in 1995, and was the recipient of the 1997 Distinguished Service Award (outside the profession) by the National Art Educators Association.

Over the years, Wolfe has served in a variety of capacities for the Association of American Museums, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Wolfe, who died in 2017, was posthumously honored by the Arts Center in 2018 with one of its Portrait of a Patron awards.  In 1973, he received the first Winthrop Rockefeller Memorial Award from the Arkansas Arts Center.

Dr. Victoria Ramirez Is New Executive Director of the Arkansas Arts Center

Dr. Victoria Ramirez was approved by the Arkansas Arts Center Board of Trustees today to be the next Executive Director of the institution.

She comes from the El Paso Museum of Art, where she has been Director. Previously she has worked at museums in Austin, Houston, Washington DC as well as Georgia and Virginia.

Dr. Ramirez has degrees from the University of Maryland, George Washington University, and University of Houston.

The Arkansas Arts Center was established in 1961. The facility is undergoing a two plus years renovation process.

Happy World Elephant Day!

Today is apparently World Elephant Day!

The Little Rock Zoo participates in many elephant welfare and education programs through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Here are some photos of Babe and Sophie at the Little Rock Zoo that were taken a couple of years ago.  The top photo was a lucky happenstance. They saw I had a camera and posed for me!

 

August 2nd Friday Art Night – Old State House Museum features Rodney Block Jazz Project

Join the Old State House Museum for Second Friday Art Night, Friday, August 9, from 5 to 8 p.m.

They will present the Rodney Block Jazz Project in concert!

Led by trumpet king Rodney Block, the quartet will perform their unique blend of traditional jazz, gospel, hip-hop, bebop, funk and soul, live on the iconic lawn of the
Old State House.