Tonight – Clinton School and UA Little Rock present program on The Struggle in the South mural

Today (January 16) at noon, UA Little Rock officially cuts the ribbon on the new UA Little Rock Downtown campus in the River Market district.

Tonight at 6pm, the Clinton School Speaker Series in conjunction with UA Little Rock presents a panel discussion on the Joe Jones mural, “The Struggle in the South” which is featured in that new space.  It will take place in the UA Little Rock Downtown location.

In 1935, famed American artist Joe Jones created “The Struggle in the South,” a provocative depiction of Southern sharecroppers, coal miners and a black family in fear of a lynching.

Originally painted in the dining hall at Commonwealth College near Mena, Arkansas, this 44-by-9-foot work was recently restored with a $500,000 grant from Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Center.

During this program, moderator Senator Joyce Elliott will join Brad Cushman, UA Little Rock Department of Art and Design Gallery director and curator; author Guy Lancaster; Dr. Brian Mitchell, UA Little Rock professor of history; Dr. Bobby L. Robert, former UA Little Rock archivist and Central Arkansas Library System executive director; and Taemora Williams, UA Little Rock student, to discuss the artwork’s historical significance and importance of its new home in UA Little Rock Downtown’s reflection room.

All Clinton School Speaker Series events are free and open to the public. Reserve your seats by emailing or by calling (501) 683-5239.

18 Cultural Events of 2018 – UA Little Rock unveils restored Joe Jones mural from 1930s

As curator Brad Cushman said at the unveiling of the Joe Jones mural, “There is absolutely no reason this mural should still exist.”  But it does.  And now fully restored Jones’s 1935 mural The Struggle in the South is a centerpiece of the new UA Little Rock Downtown Campus in the heart of the River Market.

First painted in the 1935 to be placed at Commonwealth College in Mena, it spent many years lining two closets in a house after it had been taken down from its original location. When that house was being torn down, someone called Bobby Roberts because they thought it might be something worth saving.

Dr. Roberts drove to west Arkansas, picked it up, and brought it back to Little Rock.  For years it sat in storage at UA Little Rock. While that probably stopped its deterioration, it did nothing to restore it.

In 2009, the St. Louis Art Museum restored one panel of it to include in an exhibition on Jones, a native of the Gateway City.  That prompted Cushman to push even harder to have the rest of it restored.  In 2012, the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council provided a grant which made restoration possible.  Additional funding came from the University and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The 29 pieces of the mural were sent to Helen Houp Fine Art Conservation in Dallas.

The mural consists of three sections that brutally but honestly tell tales of the South in the first third of the 20th Century.  The first section depicts coal miners about to go on strike, the middle section shows a lynching of an African American man, and the third shows an African American family in fear inside a wooden shack – both in the shadow of the lynching and an impending tornado set to destroy the land they are working.

It is a difficult piece. It is intended to be disquieting. But UA Little Rock also sought to put the piece in context. They did not do this to explain away or make excuses. But they did it to relate it to events in Little Rock both during that time period and other times in the City’s history.  It is designed to encourage dialogue, scholarship, and collaborations.

The space in which the mural is displayed was designed by architect Steve Rousseau.  Credit goes to the UA Little Rock Board of Visitors, Chancellor Andrew Rogerson, and many other faculty and staff at the campus for making the UA Little Rock Downtown campus a reality and a showcase for this important mural.

Works from 39 UALR Artists on display at Wildwood through February 15

8801eb42-ba23-4132-aaea-11672e96b233Through February 15, Wildwood Park for the Arts will be showcasing the works of 39 artists as part of their Art in the Park program.

This exhibit highlights recent work by Faculty, Students, and Alumni of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) Department of Art.

Tonight from 6pm to 8pm there will be a reception to celebrate the exhibit.

Following the reception, the art may be viewed weekdays between 10 am and 4 pm, and on Saturdays and Sundays, January 8 – February 15, from noon to 4 pm.

39 Exhibiting Artists Include:
Jasmine Av, Student
Heather Beckwith, Student
Win Bruhl, Retired Professor, Printmaking/Painting and Department Chair
Justin Bryant, Student
Byron Buslig, Student
Kevin Cates, Associate Professor, Graphic Design
Lane Chapman, Student
Taimur Cleary, Artist in Residence in Painting
Tom Clifton, Department Chair and Professor, Illustration and Drawing
Brad Cushman, Gallery Director
Jeffrey B. Grubbs, Associate Professor, Art Education
Mia Hall, Associate Professor, Applied Design
Kerrick Hartmon, Alumni
Morgan Hill, Alumni
Linda Holloway, Alumni
Amanda Hubbard, Student
Mehreen Khalid, Adjunct Professor, Photography
Joli Livaudais, Assistant Professor, Photography
Chelsye Mae Garrett, Student
Eric Mantle, Professor, Painting
Ian Park, Alumni
Tiffany Partin, Student
Jennifer Danielle Perren, Student
Katherine Purcell, Student
Laura Raborn, Alumni
Casey Roberson, Associate Professor, Photography
Sandra Sell, Alumni
Emily Shiell, Student
Allison Short Weaver, Student
David Smith, Assistant Professor, Ceramics
Aj Smith, Professor, Printmaking
Mesilla Smith, Student
Joe Tollett, Student
Joanna Waldron, Student
Michael Warrick, Professor, Sculpture
Marjorie Williams-Smith, Professor, Graphic Design
Spencer Zahrn, Student

11th Annual Arkansas Literary Festival Gets Underway Today

AR Lit Fest 2014The 11th annual Arkansas Literary Festival gets underway today and runs through Sunday, April 27. Unless otherwise specified the events are free.


Highlights for today are:

12 noon – Cox Creative Center
“Painting Forgiveness” featuring author Kathy Sanders (Now You See Me). The session will be moderated by Ann Nicholson.


12 noon – Oxford American Annex
“Cash” featuring author Robert Hilburn (Johnny Cash: The Life) and Rhett Miller. Maxwell George will be the moderator.


5:30 pm to 7:00 pm – Hearne Fine Art
“Words & Pictures” – Illustrated works by Kadir Nelson


6pm – Arkansas Arts Center
“Art & Food I” featuring Mary Ann Caws (The Modern Art Cookbook) with Brad Cushman as moderator. The author session is free. But at 7pm, a paid event will take place involving Ms. Caws and some foods inspired by art and artists.


6pm – Clinton School of Public Service at Sturgis Hall
“True Gratitude” featuring David Finkel (Thank You for Your Service) with Skip Rutherford as moderator.


8pm – South on Main
Rhett Miller will be in concert at South on Main. This is a paid event.


The Cox Creative Center will be having a used book sale on Thursday from 5pm to 7pm.

Artists’ Self Portraits the Focus of Exhibit at Arkansas Arts Center

Ian Ingram, (American, Atlanta, Georgia, 1974 – ), Easter Island, 2011, charcoal, pastel, silver leaf on paper, 82 1/2 in. x 51 in., Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection: Purchased with a gift from Jackye and Curtis Finch, Jr., in honor of Helen Porter and James T. Dyke

This exhibition is organized by the Arkansas Arts Center and sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Merritt Dyke and Metropolitan National Bank. The surface quirks and deeper truths of the self emerge in the self-portrait, these are the subjects of the exhibition Face to Face. The artist invites the viewer to share what he or she has discovered in the mirror, and far more.

Long-time Arkansas Arts Center supporters Jackye and Curtis Finch, Jr., are fascinated by these visual exposes. They are engaged in assembling one of America’s great collections of graphic self-portraiture, which they are gradually transferring to the Arkansas Arts Center. Their keen portrait collecting eyes search for works from across America and Europe, and throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. From the walls of New York galleries to the back alleys of Budapest, the Finches find amazing revelations of individuals.

Guest Curator Brad Cushman of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock has assembled these striking self-images into pairs, encouraging contemplation of what unites and divides each pairing. In bringing the works together, he allows us to explore both what is universally human and what is utterly individual.

This exhibition is sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Merritt Dyke and Metropolitan National Bank.

It runs through February 9, 2014 at the Arkansas Arts Center.