#5WomenArtists – Marjorie Williams-Smith

Through their social media campaign #5WomenArtists, the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) asks, “Can you name five women artists?

In response to that, this month five artists with Little Rock connections will be highlighted throughout March.  Up next is Marjorie Williams-Smith. 

Marjorie Williams-Smith has worked with silverpoint for over 30 years. Silverpoint is an especially challenging medium, but that is part of the allure. The effect of light on the silver lines creates a shimmering quality that is quite different from any other drawing medium.

She draws with a metal stylus on a prepared surface.  Hatched and cross-hatched lines create values and textures.  The white of the page provides the contrast. Since erasing is not possible with silverpoint, every line has to be premeditated.

Silverpoint is the perfect medium for the subject matter of Marjorie’s work: nature. She uses these natural forms as symbols for the spiritual energy that exists within us all.

Two of her works were included in the recent exhibition: ON THEIR OWN TERMS which was on display at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Earlier this month, she received the Individual Artist Award at the 2019 Governor’s Arts Awards presented by Governor Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas Arts Council.

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Tonight – Oxford American welcomes Peter Bernstein, Larry Goldings & Bill Stewart Trio

Image result for PETER BERNSTEIN, LARRY GOLDINGS & BILL STEWART TRIOThe Oxford American welcomes the Peter Bernstein, Larry Goldings & Bill Stewart Trio to Little Rock! This is the fifth and final show in their 2018-19 Jazz Series. Doors open at 6:00 PM, with dinner and drinks available for purchase at that time.

The series is made possible in part by presenting sponsor UCA College of Fine Arts & Communication.

Additional season partners include Stella Boyle Smith Trust, Chris & Jo Harkins, J. Mark & Christy Davis, EVO Business Environments, Downtown Little Rock Partnership, Stacy Hamilton of Pulaski Heights Realty, Margaret Ferguson Pope, Arkansas Arts Council, Department of Arkansas Heritage, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, Capital Hotel, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Rosen Music Company, and Steinway Piano Gallery of Little Rock.

Tickets are $30 (General Admission), $44 (Reserved), and $46 (Premium Reserved). Please take a look at this very important ticketing and seating information before purchasing your tickets (view reserved seating chart). Full season ticket pricing and options are also available in a consolidated format, here.


Guitarist Peter Bernstein, organist Larry Goldings, and drummer Bill Stewart make up one of the best organ jazz trios of the past two decades. The respect the musicians have for one another comes through in the subtle and intricate manner of their musical conversation on stage. Indeed, you can hear them listening to each other. Drawing mainly on jazz standards, and a few original pieces, they re-imagine the organ jazz trio in a quiet, sensual, and grooving presentation.

All members of the Young Lion jazz movement at the close of the 20th century, and now all firmly established jazz stars, this group has been together for twenty-five years, making multiple recordings that display their distinctive sound, whether exploring the depths of jazz standards, or playing their original compositions. Jazz enthusiasts recognize the trio for charting new ground with hard-swinging, yet thoughtful music. Peter’s warm, feather-light touch and fluid improvisation with Larry Goldings’s warm hum, alongside Bill Stewart’s polyrhythmic and melodic focus, create a vivid combination of synergistic playing. With the trio’s extensive use of the music’s dynamic possibilities, the passion and joy of this amazingly versatile instrumental lineup is there for all to hear.

 

2019 Governor’s Arts Award presented today

Governor Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas Arkansas Council are presenting the 2019 Governor’s Arts Awards today in a lunchtime ceremony at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion.

This year’s recipients are:

  • Arts Community Development Award-Steve Clark, Fort Smith
  • Arts in Education Award – The Center for Children and Youth, Fayetteville
  • Corporate Sponsorship of the Arts Award – Murphy USA, El Dorado
  • Folklife Award – Oxford American, Little Rock
  • Individual Artist Award – Marjorie Williams-Smith, Little Rock
  • Judges Recognition Award – Anthony Tidwell, Hot Springs
  • Patron Award – Jim and Joyce Faulkner, Little Rock
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Billie Jo Starr, Fayetteville

In addition to videos highlighting each of the awardees and acceptance speeches, the program will feature remarks by Governor Hutchinson, Department of Arkansas Heritage Director Stacy Hurst and Arkansas Arts Council Director Patrick Ralston.

The recipients will each be presented with a custom made earthenware jar made by Springdale artist Gailen Hudson.

 

Today at Noon – Panel Discussion of “NO TEARS SUITE” commissioned by OXFORD AMERICAN

Today (March 1) at noon – a free panel discussion presented in collaboration with the National Park Service and Clinton School of Public Service will be held at Central High School National Historic Site.

Featuring  Rufus Reid, Kelley Hurt, and Bobby LaVell, the panel will be moderated by composer Chris Parker. The goal is to facilitate discussion on the ongoing work of social equity in the United States from the perspectives of people living in different communities and what role music and the arts play in affecting change in our society today.

Additional partners on the project include University of Central Arkansas College of Fine Arts & Communication, Central High National Historic Site, Kay Kelley Arnold, Mid-America Arts Alliance, National Endowment for the Arts, Arkansas Arts Council, and Mosaic Templars Cultural Center.

This project is generously funded by the Stella Boyle Smith Trust, Mid-America Arts Alliance, the National Endowment for the Arts and the state arts agencies of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

Performances of “No Tears Suite” will take place on Saturday at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and Sunday at Central High School.

Celebrate Bicentennial of creation of Arkansas Territory

On March 2, 1819, the Arkansas Territory was created.  It was carved out of the Missouri Territory (which itself had been carved out of the Louisiana Territory).  The land consisted of what is now Arkansas as well as most of what is now Oklahoma.

Today (March 1) from 9am to 1pm, the Department of Arkansas Heritage is leading events to commemorate the bicentennial of the establishment of the Arkansas Territory. These will take place on the second floor of the rotunda at the Arkansas State Capitol.  At 10am, Governor Asa Hutchinson will make remarks.

Throughout the commemoration there will be family-friendly activities and opportunities to learn about the history of Arkansas. Many of the divisions of the Department of Arkansas Heritage will be on hand. And, of course, there will be birthday cake!

 

Tonight’s OXFORD AMERICAN “Americana” concert features Dom Flemons

Image may contain: 1 person, playing a musical instrument and guitarThe Oxford American is excited to welcome Dom Flemons to Little Rock tonight (February 21).

Dom Flemons is originally from Phoenix, Arizona and currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area. He is known as “The American Songster” since his repertoire of music covers nearly 100 years of American folklore, ballads, and tunes. Flemons is a music scholar, historian, record collector and a multi-instrumentalist.

This is the third show in their 2018-19 Americana Series. Doors open at 6:00 PM, with dinner and drinks available for purchase at that time. The series is made possible in part by presenting sponsor Stella Boyle Smith Trust.

Additional season partners include Chris & Jo Harkins, J. Mark & Christy Davis, UCA College of Fine Arts & Communication, EVO Business Environments, Downtown Little Rock Partnership, Stacy Hamilton of Pulaski Heights Realty, Margaret Ferguson Pope, Arkansas Arts Council, Department of Arkansas Heritage, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, Capital Hotel, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Rosen Music Company, and Steinway Piano Gallery of Little Rock.

Tickets are $25 (General Admission), $32 (Reserved), and $34 (Premium Reserved). Please take a look at this very important ticketing and seating information before purchasing your tickets (view reserved seating chart)

Rock the Oscars 2019: Marjorie Lawrence

Opera star Marjorie Lawrence, CBE, was born in Australia, but spent the last two decades of her life in Arkansas.   Her triumph over polio to return to the opera stage was the subject of the Oscar winning film Interrupted Melody.

First singing in her native country, she rose to star in the opera halls of Europe before conquering the Metropolitan Opera.  Lawrence had contracted polio as an adult while on a trip to Mexico.  She eventually returned to the stage, usually singing while seated or reclining.  She also had an extensive recital career.  She performed at the White House at the invitation of Franklin Roosevelt and later Lyndon Johnson. During World War II, she performed at Buckingham Palace.  When Queen Elizabeth II made her a Commander of the British Empire in 1977, the Queen fondly remembered that wartime concert.

Eleanor Parker as Lawrence in INTERRUPTED MELODY

In 1949, she wrote her autobiography Interrupted Melody. The next year, Hollywood was interested in making it into a film.  Lawrence only wanted to agree to that if she herself did the singing.  In 1955, MGM released the film starring Eleanor Parker as Lawrence and Glenn Ford as her husband. Lawrence did not provide the singing voice; Eileen Farrell did.  Lawrence was openly critical of the film, though some suspected it was because she did not get to sing for it.  By the time of the filming, her vocal range was not what it had been, which is apparently what led MGM to make the decision not to use her.

Despite Lawrence’s disdain for the film, the film was financially successful.  It was nominated for three Oscars: Original Screenplay (though it was actually based on a book), Eleanor Parker as Best Actress, and Costume Design for Color motion pictures.  Sonya Levien and William Ludwig won the statuette for their screenplay.

Lawrence and her husband bought a ranch near Hot Springs in 1952.  She spent most of her life there afterward though she was a vocal coach at Southern Illinois University and Tulane. She also welcomed international students to her home for coaching.  In 1975, she started working with students from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.  She was also an early member of the Arkansas Arts Council.

Lawrence died in January 1979 and is buried in Hot Springs.