Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area


13 pieces of art will be unveiled at Mosaic Templars as part of 2015 Creativity Arkansas event

Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, Arkansas’s museum of African American history and culture, will unveil thirteen unique pieces in the 2015 Creativity Arkansas art collection during an Opening Reception at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17.

First introduced in 2009, Creativity Arkansas showcases works from prominent African American artists who have a connection to Arkansas which depict, represent, or illustrate historical places, events, or people that have been significant to the state’s black culture. Consistent with the mission of MTCC, the collection preserves and documents Arkansas’s African American history through vivid works in a variety of media.

The name Creativity Arkansas is inspired by the Kwanzaa holiday principle of “Kuumba” (or “Creativity”) which translates to mean to do as much as we can to leave our communities more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited. The 2015 Creativity Arkansas theme is Ancestral Landscapes: From Africa to Arkansas and contains artwork by ten renowned artists: AJ Smith, Jonathan Wright, Rex DeLoney, LaToya Hobbs, Higgins Bond, Danny Campbell, Ariston Jacks, Angela Davis Johnson, Bryan Massey, Sr., and George Frederick Nash.

Artwork acquired for Creativity Arkansas are used for MTCC’s educational programming and periodically serve as inspiration for new public programs. The entire collection is funded through a grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council.

The museum opened its doors in September 2008, and the opening of the art exhibit is part of activities marking its 7th anniversary celebration. Free and open to the public, the reception will feature refreshments and live music by Off the Cuff.

The 2015 Creativity Arkansas exhibit will be on display at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center from September 2015 through March 2016.

For more information about MTCC’s anniversary events, please visit mosaictemplarscenter.com or call 501.683.3593.

The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, a museum of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, is dedicated to telling the history of African Americans in Arkansas from 1870 to the present, especially in the areas of politics, business and the arts. Other agencies of the Department of Arkansas Heritage include Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Historic Preservation, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Delta Cultural Center, Historic Arkansas Museum and Old State House Museum.

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Explore the Transformation of Arkansas during Civil War and Reconstruction at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center

MTCC-1Through December 31, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is featuring the exhibit “Freedom! Oh, Freedom!” Arkansas’s People of African Descent and the Civil War: 1861-1866.

The Civil War radically changed the lives of all Arkansans, especially those of African descent. Across the country freed Africans were no longer property or simply viewed as a part of the South’s agrarian society. The war destroyed a society and an economy that had enslaved Africans and used them as chattel property.

“Freedom! Oh, Freedom!” tells a story of transformation, as it will allow visitors the opportunity to explore the African American perspective of the Civil War from the lens of slavery, the contributions of African American soldiers, and what happened through and after the Reconstruction Era.

The transformation was not swift or seamless as the United States government made empty promises to the newly freed African Americans, however in the aftermath of the Civil War Arkansas’s African Americans seized new opportunities and freedoms to create a new way of life as citizens of the United States. African Americans used the war to participate in their own emancipation. Former enslaved people experienced not only physical liberation from the ties of slavery, but a transformation of the spirit from bondage to freedom.

African American politicians emerged after the war ended and took seats in the state general assembly in 1869. The state general assembly even passed the Arkansas Civil Rights Act of 1873, which provided for equal access to all public institutions and outlawed segregation. However, as Reconstruction came to an end in 1874, Democrats replaced Republicans and began altering the civil rights laws and enacting segregationist policies in their place. African Americans maintained some representation in the general assembly until 1893, but it was nearly a century later when Arkansans elected another African American to the legislature in 1973. The fight for full equality, the fight for justice,and the fight for civil rights had just begun.

This exhibit was made possible through a grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resource Council, funded by the Arkansas Real Estate Transfer Tax. All pictures are courtesy of the Arkansas History Commission.

The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.