CALS Butler Center’s The Galleries at Library Square and AETN present “State of the Art” film premiere

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Join CALS and AETN for the Arkansas premiere of a one-hour documentary by Brent and Craig Renaud that captures the personal stories of seven diverse artists who are redefining the American aesthetic.

The screening is tonight (April 13) at 8pm at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater.

These artists were a part of “State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now”, a groundbreaking exhibition at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville. To create this exhibition, the curatorial team crisscrossed the nation to find extraordinary contemporary art happening in unexpected places. Be one of the first to experience this powerful story of artists working across our country, including here in Arkansas, prior to its debut on PBS nationally on April 26.

This event is FREE and open to the public. Doors open at 7:00pm with general admission seating on a first come, first served basis.

Presented by The Galleries at Library Square and AETN/PBS.

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104 years ago today, Sister Rosetta Tharpe was born. Celebrate her at special Arkansas Sounds screening

Image result for sister rosetta tharpeTonight (March 20) at 7pm at the Ron Robinson Theater. Celebrate the life, legacy and love of Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

Learn about the woman who Cleveland County native Johnny Cash called his favorite singer.

Arkansas Sounds presents American Masters Sister Rosetta Tharpe: The Godmother of Rock & Roll”

The director’s cut of the American Masters documentary profiles the newly inducted Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member Sister Rosetta Tharpe, paying tribute to the Arkansas musical legend on what would be her 104th birthday. This longer version features more performance footage and a special introduction by filmmaker Mick Csaky.

This event is FREE and open to the public. Doors open at 7:00pm with general admission seating on a first come, first served basis.

Presented by Arkansas Sounds and AETN/PBS.

Sponsored by Friends of the Central Arkansas Library System (FOCAL), Acansa Arts Festival, FM 89.1 KUAR, Dr. Elizabeth Fletcher Dishongh Charitable Trust and David Austin at The Charlotte John Company.

Documentary on preserving county courthouses today at 3pm at CALS Ron Robinson Theater

Image may contain: sky, house and outdoorJoin the Ron Robinson Theater for a FREE public screening of AETN’s newest documentary, History on the Line: Preserving County Courthouses! Doors open at 2:00 p.m.  The movie starts at 3:00 p.m.

Historic county courthouses stand as iconic symbols of Arkansas’s development as a state, elegant testaments to justice and important sentries to the history of the state.

History on the Line: Preserving County Courthouses introduces unsung preservationists and architects who travel the state finding ways to rehabilitate a building or, at the very least, fix a leaky roof to save the precious records inside. Also featured are county judges who deal with the financial burden of the historic buildings’ maintenance needs.

“The state is fortunate that the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program has helped to restore 79 historic county courthouses since a grant system was put in place to support restoration needs,” AETN Executive Director Courtney Pledger said. “The community pride and local history these structures represent cannot be lost to disrepair.”

The film visits the pristine, stately and recently restored Desha County courthouse in Arkansas City, shares stories from the record room in Madison County, and follows Mississippi County’s political and legal struggle over the viability of maintaining their split judicial district and their two historic county courthouses in Blytheville and Osceola. The documentary follows their struggles while telling stories of preservation and the importance of the historic county courthouses of Arkansas.

Counties featured in the film include Desha County, Madison County, Calhoun County, and Mississippi County.

The screening is sponsored by AETN and the Arkansas Humanities Council.

Documentary “Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise” tonight at Mosaic Templars

(AP Photo/Random House/Dwight Carter)

Join Mosaic Templars Cultural Center during Women’s History Month for a screening of the documentary film “Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise.”

Distinctly referred to as “a redwood tree, with deep roots in American culture,” Dr. Maya Angelou (April 4, 1928-May 28, 2014) led a prolific life. As a singer, dancer, activist, poet and writer, she inspired generations with lyrical modern African-American thought that pushed boundaries. Best known for her autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” (Random House), she gave people the freedom to think about their history in a way they never had before.

With unprecedented access, filmmakers Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack trace Dr. Angelou’s incredible journey, shedding light on the untold aspects of her life through never-before-seen footage, rare archival photographs and videos and her own words. From her upbringing in the Depression-era South and her early performing career to her work with Malcolm X in Ghana and her many writing successes, including her inaugural poem for President Bill Clinton, “American Masters” – “Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise” reveals hidden facets of her life during some of America’s most defining moments.

This film is presented in partnership with Arkansas Educational Television Network.

A Celebration of Art Porter Sr. tonight at the Ron Robinson Theater

Arthur Lee (Art) Porter Sr. was a pianist, composer, conductor, and music teacher. His musical interest spanned from jazz to classical and spirituals.

Tonight at the CALS Ron Robinson Theatre, Arkansas Sounds is hosting a special presentation of rare video and audio clips and photographs, as well as a panel discussion celebrating the continued legacy and eighty-fifth birthday of Arkansas pianist, composer, conductor, and music teacher Art Porter Sr. This event is co-sponsored by AETN.

Admission is free, but reservations are suggested. They can be made here.

Born on February 8, 1934 in Little Rock, he began his music education at home. He played in church at age eight; played his first recital at twelve; and, by fourteen, hosted a half-hour classical music radio program on KLRA-AM. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Arkansas AM&N College (now UAPB) in May 1954.

He began his teaching career at Mississippi Valley State University in 1954.  When he was drafted into the Army, his musical talents were responsible for him being assigned as a chaplain’s assistant in New York.  In the late 1950s he returned to Little Rock and taught at Horace Mann High School, Parkview High School and Philander Smith College.

He also started playing piano jazz in the evenings. This led to the creation of the Art Porter Trio, which became THE music group for events.  Many musicians who came to Arkansas to perform in Little Rock or Hot Springs would often stop by and join in with Porter as he played.  From 1971 to 1981 he hosted The Minor Key musical showcase on AETN.  His Porterhouse Cuts program was shown in 13 states.

Often encouraged to tour, he instead chose to stay based in Arkansas.  He did, from time time, perform at jazz or music festivals.   He also performed classical piano with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, founded the Art Porter Singers, and created a music group featuring his four oldest children.  Though Porter received many honors and awards, he found particular satisfaction in the “Art Porter Bill” enacted by the state legislature, which allowed minors to perform in clubs while under adult supervision. Porter’s children thus were able to perform with him throughout the state. Governor Bill Clinton, at the time a huge fan and friend of Porter, often joined Porter’s group on his saxophone.

In January 1993, Porter and his son Art Porter, Jr., performed at festivities in Washington DC for the Presidential Inauguration of his friend Bill Clinton.  In July 1993, he died of lung cancer.  Today his legacy lives on in the Art Porter Music Education Fund as well as in the lives of the many musicians and fans he touched.  He was posthumously inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1994.

LR Culture Vulture turns 7

The Little Rock Culture Vulture debuted on Saturday, October 1, 2011, to kick off Arts & Humanities Month.

The first feature was on the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, which was kicking off its 2011-2012 season that evening.  The program consisted of Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 in A, Op. 90, Rossini’s, Overture to The Italian Girl in Algiers, Puccini’s Chrysanthemums and Respighi’s Pines of Rome.  In addition to the orchestra musicians, there was an organ on stage for this concert.

Since then, there have been 10,107 persons/places/things “tagged” in the blog.  This is the 3,773rd entry. (The symmetry to the number is purely coincidental–or is it?)  It has been viewed over 288,600 times, and over 400 readers have made comments.  It is apparently also a reference on Wikipedia.

The most popular pieces have been about Little Rock history and about people in Little Rock.

Black History Month – Art Porter Sr. and Robinson Center

bhm art srArthur Lee (Art) Porter Sr. was a pianist, composer, conductor, and music teacher. His musical interest spanned from jazz to classical and spirituals.  One of the new event spaces in the Robinson Conference Center is named in his memory.

Born on February 8, 1934 in Little Rock, he began his music education at home. He played in church at age eight; played his first recital at twelve; and, by fourteen, hosted a half-hour classical music radio program on KLRA-AM. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Arkansas AM&N College (now UAPB) in May 1954. The next year, he married Thelma Pauline Minton. Following his marriage, he pursued graduate study at the University of Illinois, University of Texas and Henderson State University.

He began his teaching career at Mississippi Valley State University in 1954.  When he was drafted into the Army, his musical talents were responsible for him being assigned as a chaplain’s assistant in New York.  In the late 1950s he returned to Little Rock and taught at Horace Mann High School, Parkview High School and Philander Smith College.

He also started playing piano jazz in the evenings. This led to the creation of the Art Porter Trio, which became THE music group for events.  Many musicians who came to Arkansas to perform in Little Rock or Hot Springs would often stop by and join in with Porter as he played.  From 1971 to 1981 he hosted The Minor Key musical showcase on AETN.  His Porterhouse Cuts program was shown in 13 states.

Often encouraged to tour, he instead chose to stay based in Arkansas.  He did, from time time, perform at jazz or music festivals.   He also performed classical piano with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, founded the Art Porter Singers, and created a music group featuring his four oldest children.  Though Porter received many honors and awards, he found particular satisfaction in the “Art Porter Bill” enacted by the state legislature, which allowed minors to perform in clubs while under adult supervision. Porter’s children thus were able to perform with him throughout the state. Governor Bill Clinton, at the time a huge fan and friend of Porter, often joined Porter’s group on his saxophone.

In January 1993, Porter and his son Art Porter, Jr., performed at festivities in Washington DC for the Presidential Inauguration of his friend Bill Clinton.  In July 1993, he died of lung cancer.  Today his legacy lives on in the Art Porter Music Education Fund as well as in the lives of the many musicians and fans he touched.  He was posthumously inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1994.