Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area

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2018 Grants announced by National Endowment for the Arts; includes 4 Little Rock groups

Four Little Rock organizations were announced today as recipients of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.  They are: Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music Society of Little Rock, and the Oxford American magazine.

Each year, more than 4,500 communities large and small throughout the United States benefit from National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants to nonprofits. For the NEA’s first of two major grant announcements of fiscal year 2018, more than $25 million in grants across all artistic disciplines will be awarded to nonprofit organizations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. These grants are for specific projects and range from performances and exhibitions, to healing arts and arts education programs, to festivals and artist residencies.

“It is energizing to see the impact that the arts are making throughout the United States. These NEA-supported projects are good examples of how the arts build stronger and more vibrant communities, improve well-being, prepare our children to succeed, and increase the quality of our lives,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “At the National Endowment for the Arts, we believe that all people should have access to the joy, opportunities, and connections the arts bring.”


Arkansas Repertory Theatre Company
$10,000 Little Rock, AR
Art Works — Theater
To support a production of “The Call” by Tanya Barfield.


Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Society, Inc.
$12,500 Little Rock, AR
Art Works — Music
To support the Canvas Festival, which will combine visual arts and the performance of live symphonic music.


Chamber Music Society of Little Rock
$10,000 Little Rock, AR
Challenge America
To support a series of chamber music performances and related educational programming.


Oxford American Literary Project

$25,000 Little Rock, AR
Art Works — Literature
To support the publication and promotion of “The Oxford American” magazine.


Arkansas Gives today from 8am to 8pm

If you are like me, you’ve been receiving notifications about Arkansas Gives Day for months.  Well, today is the day!  From 8am until 8pm, you can help grow the love for Arkansas’s nonprofit organizations by making a donation to the charity of your choice.  The event is sponsored by the Arkansas Community Foundation.

As a special incentive to give, each gift made through ArkansasGives on April 6, 2017, will be matched with additional bonus dollars; the more you give, the more bonus dollars your favorite charity will receive.

Nonprofit organizations and other tax-exempt charitable organizations may participate if they:

  • Are headquartered in Arkansas or have a base of operations in Arkansas.
  • Have 501(c)(3) tax exempt status under IRS code AND are qualified as a 509(a)(1), (a)(2) or (a)(3) organization or as a private operating foundation.

The minimum amount is $25; there is no maximum amount you may give. You may designate up to 10 charities per transaction.

Accepted Forms of Payment: Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express credit cards online.
You will receive an email receipt of your gift; please retain it for tax purposes. Unless you choose to remain anonymous, your donor information will be sent to the nonprofits to which you give.

Here is a list of cultural organizations which offer services within the boundaries of the City of Little Rock.


There are MANY MANY MANY other worthy nonprofits which are participating. But since this is a culture blog, only the cultural institutions are listed.  But please consider visiting the website and perusing the entire list.

Creative Class 2016: Joe Joyner

cc16-joynerJoe Joyner began playing viola professionally with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra in 1998 while he was still in high school. After two seasons, he left the orchestra to attend the University of Houston. After graduating summa cum laude in 2004, Joe performed in the Houston area as a member of Orchestra X, the Texas Music Festival Orchestra, and the Victoria Symphony.

After returning to Little Rock in 2007, Joe rejoined the Arkansas Symphony and has been an active member of the local chamber music community, serving as President of the Chamber Music Society of Little Rock and performing regularly with the Soma Quartet and Little Rock String Quartet.

Joe is also the owner of the Little Rock Violin Shop, central Arkansas’s bowed string instrument specialists. Trained at the Violin Making School of America and the Lisle Violin Shop, Joe performs bow repairs and restorations for string players throughout the state. In addition to bow repairs, the shop offers instrument repairs and sells instruments, bows, cases, and accessories for students and professional musicians.

In addition to classical music, Joe has a keen interest in playing rock viola. While in Houston, he performed regularly with the experimental folk rock band ListenListen, with which he recorded a self titled EP and a full length album, Hymns for Rhodesia. Wanting to share his passion for playing rock music with younger string players, Joe served as assistant director of the Youth Rock Orchestra.

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Pianist Michelle Cann tonight at Mosaic Templars, sponsored by Chamber Music Society of Little Rock

This evening at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Chamber Music Society of Little Rock presents Michelle Cann, pianist.  The recital will begin at 7:30 pm.  Tickets are $30, free for students.

Concert pianist Michelle Cann is a young artist with a deep musical commitment to performing a wide range of repertoire throughout the US and to bringing the arts to local communities. Michelle made her orchestral debut at age 14 and has since performed with various orchestras including the Florida Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Institute of Music Symphony Orchestra. She regularly appears in recital and as a chamber musician throughout the US, China and South Korea at premiere concert halls including the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Michelle received her Bachelor and Master degrees in piano performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music studying with Paul Schenly and Daniel Shapiro and received an Artist Diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she currently resides, studying with Robert McDonald.

Michelle is a young leader in creating opportunities for music education in her community. During her time in Philadelphia, she has served as the choir director of two thirty-member children choruses in the El-Sistema inspired program, “Play On Philly”, and is the founder of a new program, “Keys to Connect”, which strives to strengthen the bond between parent and child through the shared study of piano.


2015 In Memoriam – Mary Fletcher Worthen

In these final days of 2015, we pause to look back at 15 who influenced Little Rock’s cultural scene who left us in 2015.

1515 WorthenMary Fletcher Worthen cultivated history and music with the same grace and skill as she cultivated gardens.

Born outside of Scott, she attended Vassar and Little Rock Junior College. After marrying banker Booker Worthen, she devoted her life to improving Little Rock. Together with Stella Boyle and George Smith, she and Booker helped found the precursor to the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.  Through its many iterations, she was a steadfast supporter and later was named a life member of the ASO Board.  She was also a supporter of many other music organizations in Little Rock including the Chamber Music Society of Little Rock, of which she was a founder.

Another hallmark of her involvement was Mount Holly Cemetery Association.  For over 50 years she served on the board of this body.  Without notes, she could recite the history of practically every resident buried there.  The tours she led with the late Peg Newton Smith were hot commodities when auctioned at fundraisers.  These two loving and lifelong friends would sometimes remember things differently. They playfully prodded and needled each other as they wended and winded their way through the headstones and history regaling rapt audiences with yarns of yore, quips and quotes, plus an anecdote or two.

She also served on the Old State House Museum Board and the Pulaski County Historical Society Board.  As a historian, she literally wrote the book on Trinity Episcopal Cathedral.  She combined her interest in herb gardening and history with the creation of the Medicinal Garden at Historic Arkansas Museum, which is now named in her honor.

Born in 1917, up until her final days Mary Worthen continued to learn new facts, share her love of history and music, and work to cultivate the next generations of cultural enthusiasts.

In concert tonight at Wildwood Park – Chamber Music Society of Little Rock presents Brooklyn Rider

The Chamber Music Society of Little Rock, in collaboration with Wildwood Park for the Arts, is proud to present Brooklyn Rider in its second concert of the season.

Hailed as “the future of chamber music” (Strings), the game-changing string quartet Brooklyn Rider presents eclectic repertoire in gripping performances that continue to draw rave reviews from classical, world, and rock critics alike. NPR credits Brooklyn Rider with “recreating the 300-year-old form of string quartet as a vital and creative 21st-century ensemble”; the Los Angeles Times dubs the group “one of the wonders of contemporary music”; and Vice likens its members to “motocross daredevils who never screw up a stunt.”

Dig The Say – VIJAY IYER (b. 1971)
“Maintenance Music” – DANA LYN (b. 1974)
“Show Me” – AOIFE O’DONOVAN (b. 1982)
Ping Pong Fumble Thaw – GLENN KOTCHE (b. 1970)
John Steinbeck – BILL FRISELL (b.1951)
“Five-Legged Cat” – GONZALO GRAU (b. 1972)
Bradbury Studies – GABRIEL KAHANE (b. 1981)
String Quartet No.13, in A minor, Op. 29, D.804, “Rosamunde” FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797–1828)

Adult admission is $30 and FREE for students (K-College). Tickets available at the door or at

This program supported, in part, by the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Miller-Porfiris Duo tonight are first Chamber Music Society of LR concert of season

CMSL MP DupTonight, the Chamber Music Society of Little Rock presents the Miller-Porfiris Duo on it’s season-opening concert. The violin-viola duo will perform a program entitled “Return to the Old Country.” The concert starts at 7:30pm at St. Mark’s Episcopal at the corner of Mississippi and Evergreen.

The program consists of:

  • FRANZ SCHUBERT -Six lieder from “Die Winterreise” and “Die Schöne Müllerin”
  • REINHOLD GLIERE – Eight Pieces for Violin and Viola Op. 39
  • WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART – Duo in Bb Major K. 424
  • ROBERT FUCHS – Five Duets Op. 60
  • VOTTORIO MONTI – Czardas

Praised by the press for their “haunting and picturesque” musical interpretations, the Miller-Porfiris Duo has been delighting audiences in the United States, Great Britain, and Central America since 2005. Anton Miller (violin) and Rita Porfiris (viola) first met over 20 years ago while studying at the Juilliard School. Their musical lineage can be traced back to famed pedagogues and musicians Ivan Galamian. Leopold Auer, Franz Kneisel, Joseph Joachim, and Josef Bohm, close friend and collaborator of Ludwig van Beethoven. In keeping with this distinguished pedigree, the duo has given seminars and masterclasses at festivals and institutions worldwide, and are Associate Professors of Violin and Viola respectively at the Hartt School in Connecticut.

Adult admission is $30 and FREE for students (K-College). Tickets available at the door or at