Artists announced for 61st Annual Delta Exhibition at the Arkansas Arts Center.

The Arkansas Arts Center’s 61st Annual Delta Exhibition will feature work by 49 exceptional artists from the Mississippi Delta region. The exhibition will be on view May 3 through June 30, 2019.

Guest juror Kevin Cole selected 50 artworks by 49 artists, representing 10 states. The works were chosen from more than a thousand entries by 408 artists.

Showcasing artists living and working in Arkansas and its border states, the Annual Delta Exhibition presents a vision of contemporary art in the American South. Founded in 1958, the exhibition features work in an array of media to provide a snapshot of the Delta region now – while reflecting on the region’s strong traditions of craftsmanship and observation.

The 61st Annual Delta Exhibition will be the last major exhibition on view before the Arkansas Arts Center’s upcoming renovation and expansion project. Groundbreaking on the transformational renovation project is scheduled for this fall. Continuing its long and illustrious history, the Delta Exhibition will pop up at locations across Central Arkansas and beyond while the Arts Center’s MacArthur Park building is under construction.

Cole, the show’s juror, is an Atlanta-based artist best known for sculptural works, paintings, and intentional use of color. An Arkansas native, Cole’s work was featured in the 42nd Annual Delta Exhibition (1999) at the Arkansas Arts Center. Cole was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2018.

Artists featured in the 61st Annual Delta Exhibition include:

  • John Alhen of Little Rock, Ark.
  • Joshua Asante of Little Rock, Ark.
  • Carrie Ballinger Porter of Little Rock, Ark.
  • Loren Bartnicke of Auburn, N.Y.
  • Kenneth Baskin of Lake Charles, La.
  • Zachary Blair of Little Rock, Ark.
  • Kim Brecklein of Harrison, Ark.
  • Cynthia Buob of Columbus, Miss.
  • Debra Callahan of Jonesboro, Ark.
  • Olevia “Libby” Caston of Russellville, Ark.
  • Julie Darling of Memphis, Tenn.
  • Karen DeJarnette of Little Rock, Ark.
  • Virmarie DePoyster of North Little Rock, Ark.
  • Dylan Eakin of Seattle, Wash.
  • Ivy-Jade Edwards of Memphis, Tenn.
  • Scinthya Edwards of Helena, Ark.
  • DebiLynn Fendley of Arkadelphia, Ark.
  • Bryan Frazier of Little Rock, Ark.
  • Janet Goodyear of Eureka Springs, Ark.
  • John Green of Little Rock, Ark.
  • Alice Guffey Miller of Monticello, Ark.
  • Heather Christine Guenard of Cabot, Ark.
  • Pam-ela Harrison of Dallas, Texas
  • Carol Hart of Fayetteville, Ark.
  • Amber Imrie of Sunnyvale, Calif.
  • Sherry Leedy of Kansas City, Mo.
  • Mark Lewis of Tulsa, Okla.
  • Jason McCann of Maumelle, Ark.
  • Keith Melton of North Little Rock, Ark.
  • Daniella Napolitano of Little Rock, Ark.
  • Dale Newkirk of Hammond, La.
  • Kevin O’Brien of Ocean Springs, Miss.
  • Mark Payne of Pine Bluff, Ark.
  • Rashawn Penister of Pine Bluff, Ark.
  • Yelena Petroukhina of Little Rock, Ark.
  • Jason Rankin of Little Rock, Ark.
  • Zachary Roach of Memphis, Tenn.
  • Jay Sage of Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • Ray Scott of Little Rock, Ark.
  • Sandra Sell of Little Rock, Ark.
  • Hunter Stamps of Lexington, Ky.
  • Laura Terry of West Fork, Ark.
  • Holly Tilley of Little Rock, Ark.
  • Mabry Turner of Little Rock, Ark.
  • Katelyn Vaughan of Monroe, La.
  • Michael Warrick of Little Rock, Ark.
  • Lauren Welshans of Little Rock, Ark.
  • Nancy Wilson of Little Rock, Ark.
  • Emily Wood of Little Rock, Ark.

The 61st Annual Delta Exhibition is sponsored (at this time) by Isabel and John Ed Anthony; Bank OZK; Philip R. Jonsson Foundation; Mrs. Lisenne Rockefeller; Dianne and Bobby Tucker; Terri and Chuck Erwin; Friday, Eldredge & Clark, LLP; the AAC Contemporaries; Phyllis and Michael Barrier; Robert Chandler; Sandra and Bob Connor; East Harding Construction; Barbara Rogers Hoover; and Don A. Tilton, The Capitol Group. Reception support is provided by Catfish Farmers of America. The Grand Award is supported by The John William Linn Endowment Fund. The exhibition is supported by the Andre Simon Memorial Trust in memory of everyone who has died of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

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Temporary Home for Arkansas Arts Center announced

The Arkansas Arts Center will temporarily relocate to 2510 Cantrell Road in the Riverdale Shopping Center for two and a half years during the center’s upcoming renovation and expansion project.

The temporary location, about three miles from the AAC’s MacArthur Park site, will include studio space for Museum School classes, design and rehearsal space for the Children’s Theatre and additional flexible spaces for offices, retail, facilities storage and educational programs.

“The AAC’s impact in our community, both in Central Arkansas and across the state, is immense and enduring,” said Merritt Dyke, President of the AAC board. “In addition to the nearly 200,000 visitors to MacArthur Park, the AAC’s statewide outreach numbers approach half a million people. We’ve been working with numerous community partners to ensure that we can continue to fulfill our mission and to serve these people while the AAC is under construction.”

“The support we’ve received throughout this endeavor has been overwhelming, and we are grateful to Harriet and Warren Stephens who are chairing our lead gifts capital campaign,” said Dyke. “Without their leadership, this project would not be where it is today. I am greatly appreciative to the AAC and Foundation boards, staff and all our community partners for their role in realizing this important vision.”

The AAC’s staff of approximately 100 full-and part-time employees will office out of this location during the renovation. Groundbreaking on the AAC’s transformational building project is scheduled for fall 2019, with the project anticipated to be completed in early 2022. The MacArthur Park facility will be available for all regular summer programming, with the new temporary Riverdale location opening sometime in September.

“The AAC’s programs are a vital part of our community,” said Bobby Tucker, Chairman of the AAC’s Foundation board. “We feel it’s of maximum importance that they continue to be offered while the center is under construction. Our commitment to the success of this transformational project in MacArthur Park is unwavering, as is our commitment to the organization as a whole.”

The Cantrell Road location will offer convenient, secure parking and new amenities for AAC program participants. With 15,200 square feet of studio space, the Museum School will offer nearly all its current program of classes and workshops, including drawing, painting, ceramics, jewelry, glass, small metals, woodworking and printmaking for its nearly 3,000 students per year. Fall Quarter classes will begin in the Riverdale location in September.

“We’ve been working diligently for more than a year to ensure that our students have a creative space, with the equipment needed to continue to engage in our classes in a temporary location,” said Rana Edgar, Director of Education and Programs. “Over the next three years, we plan to welcome our students into well-appointed studios, with all our core classes currently being offered, in addition to offering expanded opportunities to build their talents.”

In the Children’s Theatre’s 14,200 square-foot workshop, theatre staff will create sets, sew costumes, and build props for the AAC’s productions, including touring programs. Children’s Theatre on Tour, part of the AAC’s Statewide ArtsReach program, serves more than 35,000 students and families in communities across Arkansas every year with traveling professional theatre productions.

“The work of the Children’s Theatre team doesn’t stop when the stage lights go down in MacArthur Park,” said Bradley Anderson, Artistic Director in the Children’s Theatre. “We create theatre productions each season that travel the state, in addition to our local summer theatre academies, theatre classes and performances at the AAC. This move will allow those programs to continue – and possibly even expand.”

The AAC Museum Shop will also move its retail storefront into 1,500 square feet of space, joining many other local restaurants and businesses in the area. Administrative, facilities, equipment storage and flexible educational spaces will round out a total of 65,000 square feet of space at the temporary facility.

The move is one piece of the AAC’s commitment to remaining accessible to the community while its MacArthur Park facility is under construction, and to working with arts partners across the region to expand programming reach.

“The AAC is more than any one space or one building. Our programs will continue to span across communities and extend across the state over the next two and a half years,” said Laine Harber, Interim Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer. “This would not be possible without the commitment and dedication of our board leadership in continuing to fulfill our mission and vision while we undergo these much-needed renovations.”

AAC exhibition programs will also pop up in locations across Central Arkansas and beyond, including the continuation of the popular Delta and Young Arkansas Artists exhibitions. Works from the collection will also travel to other institutions across the country and across Arkansas, in addition to select objects from the contemporary craft collection remaining on view at 15 Central Arkansas Library System locations.

More details about additional programs and partnerships locally and across the state will continue to be announced throughout 2019.

The Arkansas Arts Center chooses Studio Gang as design architect

The Arkansas Arts Center (AAC) announced on Tuesday the selection of Studio Gang as design architect for its upcoming building project.
“We had a number of highly qualified firms respond to our RFQ, and narrowing this impressive group down to the five finalists was extremely difficult,” said Todd Herman, executive director for the Arkansas Arts Center. “All five finalists were incredibly talented with international reputations and credentials. The Arts Center would have been well served by any one of them. We were in a great position to choose from such an impressive pool of talent.”

The five firms selected as finalists were Allied Works (Portland, Ore./New York), Shigeru Ban (New York/Paris/Tokyo, Japan), Studio Gang (Chicago/New York), Thomas Phifer (New York) and Snohetta (Oslo, Norway/New York/San Francisco).

Herman said the selection committee felt Studio Gang was the best fit for the project, due to the firm’s elegant and smart approach to architecture, their understanding of the issues posed by the AAC’s current facility, their vision for the center as a cultural beacon for Central Arkansas and their commitment to sustainability and strength as urban planners.

Founded by MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang is an award-winning architecture and urbanism practice based out of Chicago and New York. A recipient of the 2013 National Design Award, Jeanne Gang was also named the 2016 Archiitect of the Year by the Architectural Review and the firm was awarded the 2016 Architizer A+ award for Firm of the Year.

Studio Gang is recognized internationally for a design process that foregrounds the relationships between individuals, communities and environments. The firm has extensive knowledge in museum, theatre and artist studio spaces, with projects ranging from the Writers Theatre in Glencoe, Ill. to the Aqua Tower in Chicago to the expansion of the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

“Designing a re-envisioned Arkansas Arts Center is a truly exciting commission,” Gang said. “Its extraordinary collection, historic MacArthur Park setting, and rich mix of programs present a unique opportunity to redefine how the arts can strengthen local communities and surrounding regions. We look forward to working closely with the AAC to discover how architecture can enhance the Center’s important civic and cultural mission by creating new connections between people and the arts in Little Rock and beyond.”

An RFQ for a local architect to collaborate on the project will be issued later this month.

“When the Arkansas Arts Center project is completed, it will not just be a renovated facility, it will be a re-envisioned experience,” Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola said. “The enhanced building will offer opportunities for an even higher level of exhibits, classes, children’s theatre productions and special events, making the Arkansas Arts Center not only a signature tourist attraction, but an even more important cultural anchor for the arts community in Little Rock.”

“It is well known that businesses looking to locate or expand look at a city’s quality of life offerings,” Stodola said. “An enhanced Arkansas Arts Center will be a showcase which will enable us to attract and retain quality job creators in a variety of sectors.”

Herman said he is looking at the project holistically, including Historic MacArthur Park, and reevaluating how the Arts Center meets the needs of its community.

“This project is about more than just addressing the physical issues of the current building. It requires rethinking how the AAC fits into the downtown fabric,” said Herman. “How can we best serve the community, and how do the AAC and MacArthur Park connect to other social and cultural nodes in downtown Little Rock? We want to do more than build; we want to transform the cultural experience.”

The five finalists presented their firm’s general project approach and design philosophies to the selection committee on November 1, 2016. The presentations took place in the AAC lower lobby lecture hall and were open for public viewing. More than 100 people were in attendance at the presentations, including students, community members and media.

The committee determined their selection at a public meeting on December 6, 2016. The selection committee included: AAC Executive Director Todd Herman; City Director Dean Kumpuris; Director of Little Rock Parks and Recreation Truman Tolefree; AAC Board Chair Mary Ellen Irons; AAC Board members Isabel Anthony, Van Tilbury and Chucki Bradbury; AAC Foundation Chair Bobby Tucker; Little Rock Small Business Development official Chauncey Holloman; and past Director of the Central Arkansas Library System Bobby Roberts.

A technical review panel was responsible for reviewing all proposals and recommending a slate of finalists to the selection committee, based on specialized criteria outlined in an RFQ that reflected the specific needs and goals of the AAC.  The technical review panel included: AAC Executive Director Todd Herman, AAC Chief Curator Brian Lang, Architect Ken Sims, Dean of the Fay Jones School of Architecture Peter MacKeith, Chair of the AAC Buildings and Grounds Committee Kaki Hockersmith and international museum consultant Deborah Frieden.

The leadership phase of a capital campaign to maximize the impact of public dollars dedicated to the project is currently underway.

“Anyone and everyone can participate in the creation of a new Arkansas Arts Center,” Herman said. “The Arts Center is a symbol of the importance that this community ­– and state – places on culture, arts education and quality of life, and all Arkansans will have the opportunity to share in that civic pride.”

Final week for 57th Delta Exhibition at Arkansas Arts Center

arkartsThe 57th Annual Delta Exhibition provides a unique snapshot of the Delta region by showcasing innovative and provocative contemporary works in all media.

Guest juror George Dombek, an internationally acclaimed watercolorist and previous Delta award winner, selected the artworks to be exhibited among 882 pieces submitted by 380 artists. He won the 1975 Delta Purchase Award with his work White Whites.

The exhibition is open to all artists who live in or were born in one of the following states: Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

72 works were selected for the exhibition from 68 individual artists, with 48 of those artists from Arkansas. In all, eight states were represented in this year’s Delta.

Artists awarded in the 57th Annual Delta Exhibition include:

Grand Award

Mark Lewis of Tulsa, Okla., for his work titled, Under the Oak (Woodward Park)

Delta Awards

Lisa Krannichfeld of Little Rock, Ark., for her work titled, Shirt (in gold), dressed series

Neal Harrington of Russellville, Ark., for his work titled, Feather Signal

Honorable Mentions:

Michael Preble of Hot Springs, Ark., for his work titled, Unintended Consequences

Robyn Horn of Little Rock, Ark., for her work titled, Sideways

Aaron Calvert of Arkadelphia, Ark., for his work titled, Giving Figure

John Salvest of Jonesboro, Ark., for his work titled, Cage A

Laura Terry of West Fork, Ark., for her work titled, Ozarks Landscape, Late Summer

David Underwood of Jefferson City, Tenn., for his work titled, Abandonded Schoolhouse

Contemporaries Delta Award:

Mark Lewis of Tulsa, Okla., for his work titled, Under the Oak (Woodward Park)

Contemporaries Honorable Mentions:

Neal Harrington of Russellville, Ark., for his work titled, Feather Signal

The exhibition, which runs through September 20, is sponsored by Mrs. Lisenne Rockefeller, Bourbon & Boots, The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston, Dianne and Bobby Tucker, Janet and Sam Alley and the Capital Hotel. The Grand Award is supported by The John William Linn Endowment Fund. The exhibition is supported by the Andre Simon Memorial Trust in memory of everyone who has died of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

55th Delta Exhibition at Ark Arts Center

The 55th Annulal Delta Exhibition officially opens today at the Arkansas Arts Center in the Winthrop Rockefeller Gallery. The Delta runs through March 10.

Since 1958, the Delta has grown into one of the most anticipated Arkansas Arts Center exhibitions of the  year!

It actually predates the opening of the Arkansas Arts Center but was originally presented at the time the plans for the Arts Center were being finalized.

This juried exhibition features innovative and provocative two and three-dimensional works in all media. Each year, more than 900 entries are received from artists who live in or were born in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee or Texas.

A guest juror selects works for the exhibition and a Grand Award and two Delta Awards for the top works in the show.  The Delta represents the dynamic vision of the artists of the Mississippi Delta region and offers visitors a glimpse into the contemporary art scene.

This year’s Delta is sponsored by Dianne and Bobby Tucker and the Munro Foundation.  The Grand Award is supported by The John William Linn Endowment Fund.  The Exhibition is supported by the Andre Simon Memorial Trust in memory of everyone who has died of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

The juror for the 55th Delta is Monica Bowman.  She is the owner of The Butcher’s Daughter contemporary art gallery in Detroit, Michigan. Since 2008, she has curated over 20 exhibitions in Detroit and New York. Her gallery regularly participates in the PULSE contemporary art fairs. The gallery has been featured in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and W Magazine. Bowman teaches Business Practices for Fine Artists at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies. She earned her M.A. in Museum Studies from Georgetown University with a specialization in Contemporary Art from Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York. Bowman will select the artworks to be exhibited and assign the $2500 Grand Award and two $750 Delta Awards.