CALS Butler Center’s The Galleries at Library Square and AETN present “State of the Art” film premiere

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Join CALS and AETN for the Arkansas premiere of a one-hour documentary by Brent and Craig Renaud that captures the personal stories of seven diverse artists who are redefining the American aesthetic.

The screening is tonight (April 13) at 8pm at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater.

These artists were a part of “State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now”, a groundbreaking exhibition at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville. To create this exhibition, the curatorial team crisscrossed the nation to find extraordinary contemporary art happening in unexpected places. Be one of the first to experience this powerful story of artists working across our country, including here in Arkansas, prior to its debut on PBS nationally on April 26.

This event is FREE and open to the public. Doors open at 7:00pm with general admission seating on a first come, first served basis.

Presented by The Galleries at Library Square and AETN/PBS.

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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.

2nd Friday (the 13th) Art Night

For those who do not have paraskevidekatriaphobia, tonight is a good night to stop by several downtown museums and galleries for 2nd Friday Art Night.

It runs from 5pm to 8pm (though times at some individual locations may vary slightly).

Among the locations and their offerings are:

CALS Butler Center for Arkansas Studies (401 President Clinton Avenue) –

A Matter of Mind and Heart: Portraits of Japanese American Identity holds up a mirror to Arkansas and U.S. culture and asks what it means to be an American today. Displaying portraits created by Japanese Americans unjustly incarcerated in Arkansas during World War II, this exhibition invites visitors to reflect on American identity and challenge widely held assumptions about living in a diverse society.

A Legacy of Brewers  – Incorporating paintings from both private and public collections, this exhibition of paintings by Nicholas, Adrian, and Edwin Brewer includes portraits and landscapes featuring people and places in Arkansas, Arizona, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Texas going back to the early 1900s.

Historic Arkansas Museum (200 E Third Street) – Justin Bryant: That Survival Apparatus.  The exhibit will contain pieces from Justin Bryant’s most recent body of work, which was made in response to Maya Angelou’s poem “Mask.” His drawings and paintings show the bottom half of black faces, images pulled from documentary and commercial photographs of famous individuals and civil rights leaders. Each mouth and chin is carefully rendered, while the eyes and other features are left blank.

Old State House Museum (300 W Markham Street) – Erin Enderlin in Concert.  Beginning at 5:30 p.m., Enderlin will perform on the second floor of the museum. Recently named to the CMT Next Women of Country Class of 2018, Enderlin is an Arkansas native and award-winning singer/songwriter currently based in Nashville, Tenn.

Christ Episcopal Church (500 Scott Street) – a selection of small works including paintings and mixed media by a variety of artists from the Little Rock area.

Matt McLeod Fine Art (108 E Sixth Street) – Arkansas League of Artists 2018 Members Show and Sale.

Other participating sites include Nexus Coffee and Creative (301 President Clinton Avenue); The Art Group Gallery in the Marriott Little Rock (3 Statehouse Plaza), Bella Vita (523 S Louisiana), and Gallery 221 (221 W Second Street).

 

CALS renames Ark Studies Institute for former Director Bobby Roberts

The Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) has 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. CALS Board of Trustees approved the motion in December.

“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). Former CALS Board members spoke of Roberts’s leadership and his vision for the library system. Susan Fleming and Sheila Wright, former board vice-president and president, respectively, said Roberts’s vision and commitment to excellence are reflected in the building that will be displaying his name. Former CALS board member Frederick Ursery expanded on their thoughts:

“Our library system has been fortunate throughout its history to have strong leadership from numerous members of our community,” said Ursery. “However, I am not aware of any single person who has done more than Bobby Roberts to make CALS the dynamic asset that it is today. He deserves to be recognized for his achievement.”

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.

2nd Friday Art Night at the CALS Butler Center

2FAN logo Font sm2The second Friday of 2016 means it is time for the first 2nd Friday Art Night of the year.

Another participating location is the CALS Butler Center Galleries located inside the Arkansas Studies Institute building. They are open tonight from 5pm to 8pm.

Little Rock Box by Gary Cawood

Gene Hatfield: Outside the Lines
On view through Saturday, January 30

Earth Work: Photographs by Gary Cawood
On view through Saturday, February 27
Arkansas Pastel Society National Exhibition
On view through Saturday, February 27
Photographic Arts: African American Studio Photography from the Joshua & Mary Swift Collection
On view through Saturday, March 26
Featured artist: Tom Flynn
Tom Flynn is a metal sculptor who creates artwork using reclaimed metals.
Featured musician: Tommy Priakos
Tommy, a keyboardist based in Little Rock, will perform music in the galleries.
 
Second Friday Art Night is a free, monthly opportunity to visit downtown Little Rock’s galleries, museums, and businesses after hours.

Several other downtown museums and galleries participate in 2nd Friday Art Night.

And then there were Two – Finalists for next CALS Director announced

calsThe Transition/Selection Committee of the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) has recommended the CALS Board of Trustees consider two candidates, Nate Coulter and Haley Lagasse, both of Little Rock, as the final candidates for the position of director.

The next director will succeed longtime director Dr. Bobby Roberts.

There will be a reception in mid-November open to anyone interested in meeting the finalists. An announcement of the new director will be made following the Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, December 10, at noon at Hillcrest Hall, 1501 Kavanaugh Blvd.

October 2015 2nd Friday Art Night!

2FAN logo Font sm2It is time again for Second Friday Art Night!

On the second Friday of Arts & Humanities Month, it is a great way to experience the richness the arts and humanities bring to Little Rock.  Among the offerings this month are:

Historic Arkansas Museum’s free opening reception of “Kat Wilson’s Layers”

Arkansas photographer Kat Wilson is widely known for her Habitats series inspired by the hard-working people living in her blue-collar Arkansas town. Wilson’s work has continued to evolve as she has exhibited across Arkansas at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and Arkansas Arts Center among others, and across the nation through exhibitions in Reno, NV, and Chicago, IL. Her work has received national and international recognition.

In a new series, Wilson’s technical process of layering photographs draws out a painterly quality typically absent in the glossy surface of a photograph. Wilson gathers images from varying degrees, often pulling information in a complete 360. She then layers them in an effort to tell a broader story of the scene.

 

CALS Butler Center opening of “Photographic Arts: African American Studio Photography from the Joshua & Mary Swift Collection”

This is the first exhibition of works from the Joshua & Mary Swift Collection, featuring photographs of African American people, created in a studio setting during the 1860s-1940s. Many of the featured photographs were hand colored, which created artful and unusual effects on otherwise formal portraits.

Other exhibits at the Butler Center are “Disparate Acts Redux: Bailin, Criswell, Peters” – an exhibition created by three artists who have found community with each other during the past thirty years’ “Weaving Stories & Hope: Textile Arts from the Japanese American Internment Camp at Rohwer, Arkansas” – a collection of decorative patterns, landscapes, and still life compositions created on muslin and denim; and “Gene Hatfield: Outside the Lines” – an exhibition characterizing the life and vitality of his life’s works.

 

Christ Church opening of solo exhibit of mixed media works by Diane Harper.

Little Rock artist Diane Harper translates images from a military childhood into new works of art in painting, printmaking, and mixed media in what she calls a “posthumous collaboration” with her father. His was a colorful career as a forensic photographer in the U.S. Military Crime Lab, and later in the Arkansas State Crime Lab. He taught himself photography by taking volumes of photos of his family and their adventures together.

The driving motivation behind this collaborative work is not only for Harper to gain a sense of place, but to position herself behind her father’s lens to see how he saw her, his family, and the rest of the world