13 Cultural Highlights of 2013

In no particular order, here are 13 cultural highlights of 2013 in Little Rock.

10.+citylittlerock-21. The 73 year old Joseph Taylor Robinson Municipal Auditorium received a new lease on life when Little Rock voters approved an extensive, two-year plan for renovation, remodeling and expanding the new facility.

2. Speaking of Robinson, the new Ron Robinson Theatre was constructed in the Arcade Building.  It will be the flagship home of the Little Rock Film Festival as well as a site for events hosted by the Clinton School of Public Service and the Central Arkansas Library System.

3. The Little Rock Film Festival came downtown with all of its films being shown in downtown Little Rock and Argenta.  Among the highlights of the festival were Short Term 12, Bridegroom and Don John which have received plaudits at other festivals and are appearing on Best of 2013 lists as well as receiving award nominations.

4. As Main Street continues to redevelop, plans were announced in 2013 for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and Ballet Arkansas to each move their offices and rehearsal spaces downtown.  Joining them will be an expansion of educational space for the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.

5. A few blocks south on Main Street, the new South on Main restaurant and performance space opened.  Weekly performances of live music accent the food and drink under the leadership of Chef Matt Bell.

6. Further down Main Street, Little Rock’s newest museum opened.  The Esse Purse Museum honors women and their struggles, accomplishments, hopes and dreams through highlighting the purse.

7. Fashion also took center stage at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center as well with an exhibit on Oscar de La Renta.  In addition to showcasing his contributions to design, the exhibit attracted many boldfaced names from the worlds of fashion and politics to an event in Little Rock.

Washington Bible8. George Washington was the focus of two separate exhibits in Little Rock during 2013.  Historic Arkansas Museum showcased his inaugural Bible as well as his family Bible.  At the Clinton Presidential Center “A Tribute to George Washington” was on display.  It featured George Washington’s personal copy of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights from Mount Vernon, and a portrait of George Washington painted in 1797 by artist Gilbert Stuart on loan from the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

9. The amphitheatre in Riverfront Park received a new name (First Security Amphitheatre) and a new roof just in time to kick off its 26th year and to play host to musical acts during Riverfest.

10. Rembrandt and Rothko were just two of the artists featured in exhibits at the Arkansas Arts Center through 2013.  The Arts Center featured the exhibit Treasures of Kenwood House which highlighted the works of Rembrandt, Van Dyck and many other world class artists.  Earlier in the year, exhibits highlighted Bauhaus architecture and relics of the Japanese internment camp at Rohwer.  The Arts Center was also the site of the world’s second largest yarn bomb installation.

Babe Sophie11. The Little Rock Zoo welcomed two new elephants: Sophie and Babe.  The Zoo also was the site of the birth of Bugsy the penguin and four new tiger cubs.  The tigers were born as the result of the Zoo’s new tiger exhibit which facilitated not only easier mating but also allows for the separation of the mother and cubs from the father.

12. The Central Arkansas Library System opened its new Children’s Library.  A few months after the building opened, a name was bestowed and it is now known as the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center.

13. As 2013 drew to a close, the holiday decorations at the Capital Hotel received international recognition as Forbes named them one of the ten best hotel Christmas trees in the world.  The nearly 30 foot tree was decorated by Tipton Hurst.

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Labor Day Museum Monday: Arkansas Arts Center

arkartsThe Arkansas Arts Center is happy to announce that its doors will be open on Labor Day from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Enjoy a tasty lunch at Best Impressions restaurant, open from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and take a tour through Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: The Treasures of Kenwood House, London. Be sure to check out all the other exhibitions currently on display like Bauhaus twenty-21: An Ongoing Legacy – Photographs by Gordon Watkinson on its final day before it closes. Don’t forget to bring home a one-of-a-kind memento from the Museum Shop!

Remember that military receives free admission into Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: The Treasures of Kenwood House, London through the Blue Star Museums program!

Follow your art by taking advantage of the many benefits that a membership to the Arkansas Arts Center brings like free admission to lectures and Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: The Treasures of Kenwood House, London! Visit the Arkansas Arts Center website to become a member today and start enjoying discounts and exclusive access to parties and receptions.

Ark Arts Center exhibit on Bauhaus School of Architecture closes this week

bauhausToday is the final Sunday of the exhibit Bauhaus twenty-21: An Ongoing Legacy – Photographs by Gordon Watkinson. The exhibit, organized by Foto+Synthesis Incorporated, has been at the Arkansas Arts Center since May.  (It was set to close today but has been extended through Monday.)

This exhibition conveys the architectural history, design and enduring philosophies of the Bauhaus, a German expression meaning “house for building” and the name of an important German School principle of architecture and design. The exhibition offers a unique perspective on Bauhaus design philosophy as it relates to architecture and its relevance in today’s society.

The Bauhaus school was founded by Walter Gropius in 1919 and introduced principles that shaped the foundation of modern architecture. Conceived as a project encompassing architecture, design and photography, Bauhaus twenty-21 not only conveys the architectural history, but also illustrates the enduring philosophies of the Bauhaus. The exhibition is comprised of 77 photographs, plans and elevations and furniture that capture the essence of Bauhaus design and its influence on modern architecture and design.

Sponsored by: Janet and Sam Alley; Cromwell Architects Engineers; The Arkansas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects; Brent Stevenson Associates

May 28 Architeaser: AP&L Building

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The Arkansas Arts Center just opened an exhibit on Bauhaus architecture. Though Little Rock doesn’t have any strictly Bauhaus style buildings, there are a few buildings designed in the International Style which was related to Bauhaus.

The Arkansas Power & Light Building on Louisiana and 9th Streets was announced in 1953 and completed in 1959. The design was by Fred Arnold of the Wittenberg Delony & Davidson firm. The reason for the delay was due to uncertainty regarding a rate case and labor contracts.

The four story building features a combination of glass, marble and brick. The second and third stories float over an open space as they extend eastward. In 2010, the marble panels on the second and third stories were replaced because of buckling. They were replaced with marble from the same quarry as the original marble.

The orb atop the building once bore the likeness of Reddy Kilowatt, a mascot used by AP&L as well as many other electric utilities in the post-World War II era. When AP&L changed its name to Entergy Arkansas (as part of the system-wide rebranding of various companies into Entergy), the orb was replaced with one which features a three-dimensional version of the Entergy logo.

Bauhaus architecture school focus of exhibit at Arkansas Arts Center

bauhausOrganized by Foto+Synthesis Incorporated, Bauhaus twenty-21: An Ongoing Legacy – Photographs by Gordon Watkinson runs through September 22.  

This exhibition conveys the architectural history, design and enduring philosophies of the Bauhaus, a German expression meaning “house for building” and the name of an important German School principle of architecture and design.

The exhibition offers a unique perspective on Bauhaus design philosophy as it relates to architecture and its relevance in today’s society. The Bauhaus school was founded by Walter Gropius in 1919 and introduced principles that shaped the foundation of modern architecture. Conceived as a project encompassing architecture, design and photography, Bauhaus twenty-21 not only conveys the architectural history, but also illustrates the enduring philosophies of the Bauhaus.

The exhibition is comprised of 77 photographs, plans and elevations and furniture that capture the essence of Bauhaus design and its influence on modern architecture and design.

Arts Center, studioMain present lecture on Bauhas tonight.

bauhaus

Photograph by Gordon Watkinson
Bauhaus Building – ‘Bauhaus Sign’

The Arkansas Arts Center, the state’s premiere center for visual and performing arts, together with studioMain, presents a special symposium, “From the Bauhaus to Our House,” discussing the history and influence of the Bauhaus movement to be held Friday, May 24, at 5 p.m., in the Arkansas Arts Center Lecture Hall. This symposium is in conjunction with the Arts Center’s current exhibition, Bauhaus twenty-21: An Ongoing Legacy – Photographs by Gordon Watkinson, on view May 24 – September 1, in the Winthrop Rockefeller Gallery.

“The Arts Center is pleased to be hosting such a notable panel of expert speakers,” said Arkansas Arts Center director of education Lou Palermo. “The Bauhaus movement was inspired by a world-changing vision to unite artists and craftsmen, and we will take a deeper look into that vision with the upcoming symposium. We are so excited to be partnering with studioMain to be able to offer this event to our friends and members of the Arkansas Arts Center.”

There will then be an hour break for viewing the exhibit and refreshments, followed by a 7 p.m. discussion with a panel of architectural experts in the design fields. Admission is free and no ticket required. The symposium will feature four of the top speakers in the state to discuss this important movement in architectural history. They are as follows: Dr. Floyd Martin (UALR, Art History), John Greer (WER Architects and Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas), Mia Hall (UALR, Applied Design) and Dr. Ethel Goodstein-Murphree (UA Fay Jones School of Architecture).

This exhibition conveys the lasting philosophies of the Bauhaus, a German expression meaning “house for building” and the name of an important German School principle of architecture and design. The Bauhaus school was founded by Walter Gropius in 1919 and introduced the sleek, functional architecture that is found in many of today’s modern buildings.

The exhibition is comprised of photographs, plans and elevations, and furniture that capture the essence of Bauhaus design and its influence on architecture. By pairing Bauhaus buildings with contemporary examples by leading architects, Gordon Watkinson explores the legacy of such modern ideas as passive solar, radiant heat and prefabricating housing.

Art Abounds Downtown during 2nd Friday Art Night

2FAN logo Font sm2Among the various sites featured tonight from 5pm to 8pm as part of 2nd Friday Art Night are:

The Central Arkansas Library System Butler Center Galleries (401 President Clinton Avenue) is opening three new exhibits:

Creative Expressions (which will run through August 25)

This exhibition features artwork from the Creative Expressions Program at the Arkansas State Hospital.  Creative Expressions is a non-profit organization that uses the visual arts to promote and support the self-awareness and growth of individuals with mental illness.

Arkansas Art Educators State Youth Art Show (which will run through July 27)

Arkansas League of Artists Spring Members Show (which will run through June 28 at the Cox Creative Center).

 

studioMAIN (1423 South Main Street) will open a new exhibit – “From Bauhaus to our Haus

studioMAIN invites you to join us this Friday for our exhibit celebrating the Bauhaus movement. Come learn about that history of the movement and its influence on today’s architecture, design, and education. Several local examples of building inspired by the Bauhaus and International style will also be highlighted.

This will be a great opportunity to learn (or be reminded) about this amazing transition in the history design before the opening of the Arkansas Arts Center’s upcoming exhibit, Bauhaus twenty-21: An Ongoing Legacy (May 24 – September 1).

As part of the member’s opening for the AAC, studioMAIN will be hosting a lecture and panel discussion, stay tuned for further information in the next couple weeks.

 

Historic Arkansas Museum (200 East Third Street)

In addition to the opening of two new exhibits, HAM will have live music by the Rolling Blackouts and an opening reception for two new exhibits. Opening in the Trinity Gallery is Reflected by Three: William Detmers, Scott Lykens and G. Tara Casciano. Opening in the 2nd Floor Gallery will be Painting in the Open Air: Day and Night, with plein air paintings by Jason Sacran.

 

Old State House (300 West Markham)

Up-cycled Jewelry. Create an artful bracelet from unexpected found supplies: safety pins, buttons, charms and fabric. These bracelets make great Mother’s Day gifts.