2nd Friday Art Night at CALS Library Square

On Friday, February 8, the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) will open three exhibitions, Back to the Garden, Made in America: Vintage Film Posters from the Ron Robinson Collection, and Au Pair Don’t Care, and host one of the authors ofAbandoned Arkansas: An Echo From the Past.

Events will be held at the CALS downtown Little Rock campus, Library Square, 100 Rock Street, and are free and open to the public.

The Galleries at Library Square (formerly Butler Center Galleries) will host the opening reception for Paintings by Charles Henry James: Back to the Garden with featured musician Bluesboy Jag (solo acoustic and cigar box blues guitar & vocals). Artist and musician Charles Henry James, who has split his time between Little Rock and his native New York for nearly thirty years, takes a humorous, free-wheeling approach to socio/political engagement, filtered through the lens of pop culture tropes, op art, surrealism, and psychedelia. The exhibition is on view in the Concordia Hall Gallery through April 27, 2019.

Also opening is Made in America: Vintage Film Posters from the Ron Robinson Collection, in the Loft Gallery. The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, a department of the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS), holds an extensive collection of Arkansas-related and other movie posters. The late Ron Robinson of Little Rock, an avid collector who was the president of Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods (CJRW) and also served as a U.S. Air Force officer in Vietnam, generously donated these film posters, which are mostly related to Arkansas history, U.S. politics, and American popular culture. The exhibition is on view through May 25, 2019.

The Bookstore at Library Square (formerly River Market Books & Gifts) is proud to present the new show, Au Pair Don’t Care, by artist Amily Miori. Also in the bookstore, visitors will be able to talk with Ginger Beck, co-author of Abandoned Arkansas: An Echo from the Past. Copies of the book will be available for purchase. Events at the Galleries and the Bookstore are part of 2nd Friday Art Night (2FAN), 5:00-8:00 p.m.

Call the Butler Center at 320-5700, the Galleries at Library Square at 320-5790, or the Bookstore at Library Square at 918-3093 to learn more about the concert and exhibitions. View the full calendar at www.cals.org.

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Today CALS Butler Center Legacies & Lunch explores “The Son of Little Rock Who Broke Ground for Black Journalists” at noon

Image may contain: 1 person, sunglasses and closeupJoin the Central Arkansas Library System’s Legacies & Lunch, for Benji de la Piedra’s talk on “The Two Herbert Dentons: A Principal and a Journalist, from Black Little Rock to Black DC and Beyond.”

It will take place at 12 noon at the Darragh Center Auditorium inside the main CALS building on Library Sqaure.

Herbert Denton Jr., a native son of Little Rock, was a pioneering African American journalist at the Washington Post from 1966 until his death in 1989. As the first person of color with a position of authority in the Post newsroom, he hired and mentored a generation of influential black journalists and revolutionized coverage of local life in the nation’s capital at a time when the city was more than seventy percent African American.

His father, Herbert Denton Sr., was a lifelong public educator in Little Rock and a pillar of the city’s black community, who so far has gone unacknowledged in the written record of Little Rock history. As Denton Jr.’s biographer, Benji de la Piedra will trace the career arcs of both father and son, with an emphasis on their powerful, if sometimes controversial, approaches to racial uplift, education, and civic responsibility.

Benji de la Piedra is a writer and oral historian from Washington DC, currently living in Little Rock. In addition to his work on Herbert Denton Jr.’s biography, he co-directs the Columbia Life Histories Project and serves on the coordinating committee of the Arkansas People’s History Project. A graduate of Columbia University’s Oral History MA program, and a former fellow of the Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability, he teaches and consults on community-based oral history projects around the United States. He speaks and writes regularly about American history and culture, with an emphasis on black intellectual expression.

18 Cultural Events from 2018 – 60th Anniversary of Women’s Emergency Committee

Image result for the giants wore white glovesOn Sunday, September 16, 2018, the Clinton School of Public Service in conjunction with the CALS Butler Center for Arkansas Studies screened the documentary “The Giants Wore White Gloves” at the Ron Robinson Theater.

The film tells the story of the Women’s Emergency Committee. It was shown on the 60th anniversary of the first meeting of that group.

“The Giants Wore White Gloves” tells the story of the women of Little Rock and their accomplishments during the Little Rock Desegregation Crisis.

The 1958 school year began with a vote to close four high schools in the city of Little Rock and once again avoid integration. A group of middle-class white women, faced with the prospect of no schools as well as the further loss of their city’s good name, turned militant. They quickly put together the Women’s Emergency Committee to Open Our Schools (WEC). Largely inexperienced in politics, these women became articulate, confident promoters of public schools and helped others understand that those schools must remain open.

Years later, these women are honored for their work in changing the course of civil rights history. With integrity, they withstood the challenges of the battle, and accomplished their goal of reopening the city high schools.

A few WEC members were in the audience for the film screening. Many children and grandchildren of WEC members were also in attendance as was filmmaker Sandy Hubbard.

Earlier in the day, a full-page ad ran in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette listing the membership of the WEC.  In 1998, the paper carried the first public listing of the names of WEC members. It was, in fact, the first time all the names had been compiled in one place.

Legacies & Lunch today at noon – When Arkansas was part of Missouri

Survey marker erected in 1926 at what is now Louisiana Purchase Historic State Park, photo by Brandon Rush

Today (January 2) at 12 noon, the Central Arkansas Library System Butler Center for Arkansas Studies kicks off its programming for 2019. First up is the monthly Legacies & Lunch program. Today’s focus is on the creation of the Arkansas Territory. The year 2019 marks 200 years since Arkansas was separated from Missouri.

Author and professor S. Charles Bolton, who taught history at University of Arkansas Little Rock for over three decades, will discuss the early history of the geographical region that became the state of Arkansas.

The state was formed on land that was part of the Louisiana Territory for a time before becoming the Missouri Territory. The federal government eventually sent the Hunter-Dunbar Expedition up the Ouachita River, and designated a spot in eastern Arkansas as the starting point for land surveys west of the Mississippi River. The U.S. government also built a military installation on the future site of Fort Smith. These actions  led to the eventual creation of Arkansas Territory in 1819, followed by statehood in 1836.

About Legacies & Lunch

Legacies & Lunch is a free monthly program of the CALS Butler Center for Arkansas Studies that highlights Arkansas-related topics. Programs are held from noon to 1 pm on the first Wednesday of the month. Attendees are invited to bring a sack lunch; drinks and dessert are provided. A library parking discount is available upon request. For more information, contact 501-918-3030.

 

18 Cultural Events from 2018 – CALS renames Ark. Studies Institute for Bobby Roberts

As the chronological countdown of 18 cultural events from 2018 starts —

In January it was announced that the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) had renamed the Arkansas Studies Institute (ASI) the Bobby L. Roberts Library of Arkansas History and Art in honor of the former CALS executive director who served in the position for more than twenty years before retiring in 2016.

“Bobby established a new normal at CALS by creating new concepts of what the public library could offer the community and by constructing unique spaces to make the library more appealing and accessible to all sorts of groups with varied interests in learning, enrichment, and entertainment,” said Nate Coulter, CALS executive director. “The library’s primary purpose has always been to provide access to information, but Bobby transformed and expanded what it means to be a library by placing a particular emphasis on Arkansas history and culture.”

Since the early 1990s, CALS has undergone several changes and expansions, now consisting of fourteen library locations in Little Rock, Perryville, and throughout Pulaski County. The Main Library moved from its original location at 7th and Louisiana to its current home in the River Market District, which helped trigger the revitalization of downtown Little Rock. That Main Library is now the centerpiece of a campus that includes the Ron Robinson Theater, the Cox Creative Center, and the Bobby L. Roberts Library of Arkansas History and Art (formerly ASI).

Roberts’s efforts in building striking library structures, in ecologically sustainable construction, and in adaptive reuse have been recognized by local, state, national, and international organizations. That includes the newly named Roberts Library. Opened in 2009, as the Arkansas Studies Institute, the structure houses the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, CALS’s Arkansas history department, and five galleries that feature art depicting the state or created by artists living in or from Arkansas.

“This complex of buildings certainly wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for Bobby Roberts. It is truly fitting for this edifice to be named in his honor,” said David Stricklin, director of the Butler Center.

Roberts’s special interests in Arkansas history and art and CALS’s long-held practice of collecting materials for the benefit of patrons interested in those topics helped inspire the conception of the ASI, which also houses the UA Little Rock Center for Arkansas History and Culture. The university’s Arkansas-related documents and photographs were moved to the facility and are available for public use under an arrangement Roberts developed with former UA Little Rock Chancellor Joel Anderson. The building is also home to the Arkansas Humanities Council’s headquarters and classrooms and offices for the Clinton School of Public Service.

Later in the year, CALS rebranded its downtown campus of buildings as Library Square, unveiled a new website, and started a strategic planning process.

CALS seeking public input as part of strategic planning process

The Central Arkansas Library System is going through a strategic-planning process.  As part of that, they are asking people to take a few minutes to fill out a survey.

It does not take long.

There is no capturing of email or phone number at the end which will end up putting you on a list to be barraged with offers.

It helps the Central Arkansas Library System and all of its programs such as the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Arkansas Sounds, Arkansas Literary Festival, and the list goes on.

Here is the link.

Count Pulaski subject of December Legacies and Lunch

As they do from time to time, the Clinton School of Public Service is co-presenting this month’s Butler Center for Arkansas Studies Legacies and Lunch program.  The program, focusing on the life of Count Casimir Pulaski, will begin at noon today at the Ron Robinson Theater.

Authors Mel and Joan Gordon will discuss the life of General Casimir Pulaski, a Polish immigrant who saved George Washington’s life at the Battle of Brandywine and died at age thirty-four after being wounded at the Siege of Savannah in Georgia.

The Gordons published a historical novel about Pulaski, who was known as the “Father of American Cavalry.” The authors were recently inducted into the Lafayette Order in France in recognition of their work on Pulaski and the Marquis de Lafayette. December 15 will mark the 200th anniversary of the establishment of Pulaski County in Arkansas, one of seven counties in America named for Pulaski.

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