Looking at five canine sculptures in Little Rock

August 26 is National Dog Day!  To mark this occasion, here are five sculptures found in Little Rock which feature dogs.  Two are in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden, one is in the Bill Clark Wetlands, one is at the Little Rock Animal Village, and the newest one is in the Heights roundabout.

Ken Newman’s FOREVER READY was donated in 2009 by the Sculpture at the River Market.   It is sited in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden.  Mr. Newman is a member of the National Sculptors’ Guild.  One of Mr. Newman’s specialties is animals.  Cast in bronze, Forever Ready depicts a Labrador.  Here is Mr. Newman’s artist statement on the piece.

So, ‘Forever Ready’ is that reflection of the breed (hunter, companion and teacher)…Capturing its intense nature with discipline and loyalty, I have set the lab on edge so intense, that if not given the command to go, it will just fall off. But, it is able to maintain balance – wet and ready to go again. The lab’s shadow is cast in the water below, for a I cannot think of a lab without water.

A few yards from Forever Ready, another dog stands inquisitively.  Commissioned in 2010 and unveiled in 2011, Dan Glanz’s BORIS is a likeness of Boris Kumpuris, the dog and companion of Mary and Dr. Dean Kumpuris.

Glanz captures the friendly and inquisitive nature of Boris in this work, which can be found in the Vogel Schwarz sculpture garden. Most weekends Boris can be seen with Dean as the two walk through Riverfront Park and the River Market. Boris explores and inspects the park along with Dean. Each year during the Sculpture at the River Market show, Boris visits with Dean and meets all the sculptors.

The sculpture was donated by longtime Kumpuris family friend Margaret Clark. She and her late husband Bill were two of the earliest supporters of sculpture along the Arkansas River. They donated another piece in honor of their grandchildren. A sculpture in memory of Bill was stands in the wetlands park which bears his name.

The Bill Clark Wetlands is actually the location of the third dog.  It is Chloe, Bill Clark’s faithful hunting dog.  She stands next to Bill in Clay Enoch’s sculpture STEADY.  Dedicated in 2011, it was a tribute to the man who helped build the Clinton Presidential Library.

This tribute to Clark shows Bill and Chloe in an early morning duck hunt scanning the horizon.  It is also positioned so that Bill is also gazing at the Clinton Presidential Center. His firm was the contractor on that building, and he spent thousands of hours walking in the area looking at the building during the construction.

A portion of the ground he trod during construction has been set aside as the Bill Clark Wetlands, and STEADY is placed in the wetlands as a memorial to Bill.

In 2015, the Little Rock Animal Village unveiled Lorri Acott’s WHO RESCUED WHO.  Located at the entrance to the Little Rock Animal Village, it depicts a person and dog looking at each other. They are sharing a bond of respect, admiration and love.

The human figure has Acott’s trademark extended length legs. These represent the ability to overcome obstacles and rise above adversity.  This is even more apt when considering the role that pets can play in our lives, as well as the role humans play in “adopting” rescued pets.

The sculpture is dedicated to the memory of Jack Adcock. It is given by his family, which includes longtime City Director Joan Adcock, their two children, eleven grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Little Rock’s newest canine sculpture is Ken Newman’s Taking Attendance. It is installed in the new roundabout at Kavanaugh and McKinley.

In discussing the sculpture, Newman says:

The forms, shapes and gestures of my sculptures are expressions of external and internal influences, and influences not necessarily from models or photographs. This sculpture signifies the moments when I have encouraged my dog to walk in front of me unleashed, as it fosters confidence in our relationship.

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Arkansas Visual Artists encouraged to apply for more Downtown Little Rock mural projects

Arkansas visual artists are invited to submit concepts and proposals for two new pieces of public art to be installed in downtown Little Rock this fall.

Downtown Little Rock Partnership released an RFP for each site-specific location. The first location is a roughly 900 square foot wall within the first floor of the parking deck at Scott and 6th Streets. The area is included in Baker’s Alley, behind The Rep on Main Street. The second RFP is for a “selfie wall” in SoMa, located at 112 Daisy Bates Drive.

“We are excited to be able to add two new pieces of public art to downtown Little Rock’s growing collection,” said Gabe Holmstrom, Downtown Little Rock Partnership Executive Director. “With the great response to Jason Jones’s “Playtime” mural at Capitol and Main, we want to keep the creative momentum going. We can’t wait to see what our incredible Arkansas artists come up with.”

The deadline to submit proposals for both locations is September 25. Completion of each art installation is set for October 30. To learn more and to submit applications, artists may visit http://downtownlr.com/pages/public-art/murals/.

These projects are an initiative of Downtown Little Rock Partnership’s Public Spaces subcommittee, which is chaired by Carol Worley. As part of its public art strategy, Downtown Little Rock Partnership is dedicated to collaborating with Arkansas artists to present public art that enhances the city’s imaginative capacity, enlivens neighborhoods, contributes to economic vitality, sparks civic exchange, and enhances community connection.

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.

On World Lion Day, a look at LIONS PRIDE sculpture in War Memorial Park

 

Saturday, August 10, is World Lion Day.  In honor of that event, today features three of the newest sculptures in Little Rock.

Dedicated on June 26, the trio of leonine creatures are located in the new roundabout at Zoo Drive and Fair Park Boulevard in War Memorial Park.

Lions Pride consists of three sculptures.  Created by Darrell Davis, they are made of cast aluminum. These are likely the first sculptures in Little Rock made of cast aluminum.

One is of a male lion, while the other two depict female lions.  All three are posed in sitting positions atop rocks which were installed last month in the roundabout.

One of the large rocks weighs over 37,000 pounds while another weighs more than 35,000 pounds.  There are several other rocks in the formation which weigh more than a ton.  The rocks were donated by Granite Mountain Quarry.

The project was a partnership between Sculpture at the River Market, the Little Rock Zoo, the Little Rock Parks & Recreation Department, and the Little Rock Public Works Department.  A portion of the money donated for this project was a memorial to former Zoo Director Mike Blakely.

New sculpture dedicated in MacArthur Park

BLOOMING, a new sculpture, was dedicated in MacArthur Park today (July 11).  It is a gift from Hanam, South Korea, one of Little Rock’s Sister Cities.

In 2017, Little Rock sculptor Michael Warrick traveled to Hanam and installed a sculpture in a park there in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Sister City relationship between the two cities.  This new sculpture, which represents a ginkgo tree, is a reciprocal gift.

At the dedication ceremony, in addition to remarks by Mayor Frank Scott Jr., and Hanam May Kim Sang Ho, comments were given by former Little Rock mayors Sharon Priest, Jim Dailey, and Mark Stodola.  In addition, Mrs. Sun Cha Lee, chair of ATA International spoke.  Mrs. Lee and her late husband, Eternal Grand Master H. U. Lee, first suggested to Sharon Priest the possibility of a Sister City relationship between Little Rock and Hanam.

Independence Day Eagle sculpture

With today being Independence Day, it seems appropriate to feature Eagle of the Rockin the Sculpture Vulture.

This was one of the original six sculptures placed in the River Market, back in November 2004.  Sculpted by Sandy Scott, it depicts an eagle taking flight from atop a craggy rock.  The eagle and rock are cast in bronze which is then set upon a limestone base. It is situated on President Clinton Avenue to the west of the entrance to Clinton Presidential Park.

The sculpture was donated by the Jennings Osborne family.  The sculpture and the surrounding area is known as Osborne Plaza.

A Decade of the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden

Wayne Salge’s SIZZLING SISTERS, one of the original sculptures installed in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden

On June 25, 2009, members of the Sculpture at the River Market committee and City leaders broke ground on the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden in Riverfront Park.

The groundbreaking followed an unveiling of the design plans for the new sculpture garden, which will be located east of the Peabody Hotel near the Forever a Rose garden and the Jack Fleischauer Garden.

“As part of the continuing improvements to Riverfront Park, we wanted to put more sculpture into the park to complement the new gardens, Peabody Park, and the upcoming La Petite Roche plaza,” said City Director Dean Kumpuris. “At the 2008 Sculpture at the River Market, six pieces were bought through proceeds from the show and sale to be placed in the park in 2009.”

According to Kumpuris, seven new pieces will join a dozen other sculptures in the park and along President Clinton Avenue that have been installed since 2004.

The sculpture garden features natural terraces and walkways. The design creates a space to host receptions, weddings or other events as well as to allow visitors to enjoy the sculptures in solitude.

The seven pieces which will be installed are “Full of Himself” by Jan Woods, “Cascade” by Chapel, “Bateleur Eagle” by Pete Zaluzec, “Sizzling Sister” by Wayne Salge, “Conversation with Myself” by Lorri Acott,  “First Glance” by Denny Haskew, and “Straight and Narrow” by Lisa Gordon.

“This is only the start,” said Sculpture at the River Market Chair Jane Rogers. “In addition to continuing to place sculpture in Riverfront Park, the committee is discussing ways to place public art throughout the city. In the months to come, we hope to be able to make some more announcements about sculpture and public art in Little Rock.”

The sculpture garden is made possible through the support of the Vogel Schwartz Foundation. Robert Vogel represented the family during the ground-breaking ceremony commending the city of Little Rock on their efforts to support the art community.