Now’s the time to nominate museums and libraries for National Medal for Museum and Library Service

National MedalLittle Rock is blessed to have a dynamic library system and over a dozen exciting museums.  Let’s face it, the words “dynamic” and “exciting” are not always synonymous with libraries and museums.

Each year, the Institute of Museum and Library Services presents select museums and libraries with the nation’s highest honor, the National Medal for Museum and Library Service.  IMLS is now accepting nominations for the 2016 award which recognizes libraries and museums that make significant and exceptional contributions in service to their communities. Nomination forms are due October 1, 2015.

All types of nonprofit libraries and library organizations, including academic, school, and special libraries, archives, library associations, and library consortia, are eligible to receive this honor. Public or private nonprofit museums of any discipline (including general, art, history, science and technology, children’s, and natural history and anthropology), as well as historic houses and sites, arboretums, nature centers, aquariums, zoos, botanical gardens, and planetariums are eligible.

Winners are honored at a ceremony in Washington, DC, host a two-day visit from StoryCorps to record community member stories, and receive positive media attention. Approximately thirty finalists are selected as part of the process and are featured by IMLS during a six-week social media and press campaign.

Winning the medal elevates an institution’s profile and can positively impact fundraising, programming, and outreach activities.

Anyone may nominate a museum or library for this honor, and institutions may self-nominate. For more information, reach out to one of the following contacts.

Program Contact for Museums:
Mark Feitl, Museum Program Specialist
202-653-4635, mfeitl@imls.gov

Program Contact for Libraries:
Katie Murray, Staff Assistant
202-653-4644, kmurray@imls.gov

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Their mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Museum of Discovery Earns National Recognition

20120814-171022.jpgThe Institute of Museum and Library Services announced last week that the Museum of Discovery was a National Medal for Museum and Library Service finalist. The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor conferred on museums and libraries for service to the community and celebrates institutions that make a difference for individuals, families, and communities.

“On behalf of the dedicated staff at the Museum of Discovery,” we’d like to thank IMLS for recognizing the impact our newly refurbished museum has had on the 170,000 people who visited us in the first year after our grand reopening,” said Kelley Bass, museum CEO. “Among the 33 institutions named as finalists, the Museum of Discovery is one of only six science and technology centers that target children, which makes this honor even more notable for us.”

Medal finalists are selected from nationwide nominations of institutions that demonstrate innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach. This year’s finalists exemplify the nation’s great diversity of libraries and museums and include an aquarium and marine science center, conservatory and botanical gardens, county library systems, individual libraries, children’s museums, an art museum, science centers, and more, hailing from across the country.

“Museums and libraries serve as community gathering places and centers for lifelong learning, and we are very proud to announce Museum of Discovery as a finalist for the 2013 National Medal,” said Susan Hildreth, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “This year’s finalists exemplify the many wonderful ways museums and libraries can respond to the needs and wants of the communities they serve.”

Finalists are chosen because of their significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. IMLS is encouraging community members who have visited Museum of Discovery to share their story on the IMLS Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/USIMLS. Visit the IMLS Facebook page to learn more about how these institutions make an impact. National Medal for Museum and Library Service winners will be announced this spring.

To learn more about the 2013 National Medal finalists, visit http://www.imls.gov/medals.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums.  Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive.  To learn more, visit http://www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Museum of Discovery 

Located in Little Rock’s historic River Market District, the Donald W. Reynolds Science Center at the Museum of Discovery is central Arkansas’s premier science, technology and math center. With nearly 90 state-of-the-art interactive exhibits in three galleries focused on health, physical and earth sciences, and a highly trained staff, it is a leading resource for informal science-related education. The Donald W. Reynolds Science Center at the Museum of Discovery’s mission is to ignite a passion for science, technology and math in a dynamic, interactive environment.

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation awarded the Museum a $9.2 million grant solely dedicated to the renovation. The money paid for the renovation of 44,000 square feet of existing space, a 6,000 square-foot addition and new exhibits throughout the facility.

Last Chance for 3 Exhibits at Arkansas Arts Center

Three current exhibits close this Sunday at the Arkansas Arts Center.

Chuck Close, Self Portrait, 2000
sceenprint on paper
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase, © 2000 Chuck Close

Multiplicity
Jeannette Edris Rockefeller Gallery

The concept of making multiple images from the same matrix has been integral to printmaking since the earliest prints were pulled from woodblocks and metal plates in the 15th century.

Pulled from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s permanent collection,Multiplicity demonstrates how today’s most celebrated print makers utilize and exploit the “multiple” nature of printmaking to create complex and innovative works.

Organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum with support from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Endowment Fund. The C.F. Foundation in Atlanta supports the museum’s traveling exhibition program, Treasures to Go.

 

Dorothy and Herbert Vogel at The Clocktower with a drawing by Philip Pearlstein behind them, 1975.
Photography Credit: Nathaniel Tileston. Courtesy Dorothy and Herbert Vogel, New York, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

50 for Arkansas: The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection
Townsend Wolfe Gallery

50 for Arkansas features works from the collection of Dorothy and Herbert Vogel. In 2008, the Vogels, avid art collectors, launched the gift program The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States. After decades of amassing one of the great contemporary art collections, on his salary as a postal worker while living on her salary as a reference librarian, the Vogels gave 50 works from their collection to an art institution in each of the 50 states. The Arkansas Arts Center was selected for Arkansas.

50 for Arkansas is a joint initiative of the Trustees of the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection and the National Gallery of Art, with generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

 

Sheriff Rubber Ducky by William Price (2010)
Cherry, steel, brass

 

38th Toys Designed by Artists
Winthrop Rockefeller Gallery

The Toys Designed By Artistsexhibition engages museum visitors, delighting young and old alike. In 1973, the Arkansas Arts Center initiated an exhibition of toys designed by artists. Inspired by Alexander Calder’s circus figures of the late 1920s and early 1930s, this exhibition was launched to stimulate the imagination of both children and adults and to engage them with toys of whimsy, delight and good craftsmanship.

The tradition continues this season with the 38th Toys Designed by Artists. This international juried exhibition challenges artists to take the concept of “toy” and make a personal expression – a piece of art. The wildly inventive toys selected often hearken back to the days before plastic and mass production, when all toys were handmade and, whether simple or elaborate, engaged the imagination of both maker and user.

A Double Dozen of Cultural Milestones of 2012

Happy New Year!  Here are a double dozen of the Culture Vulture’s Cultural Milestones from 2012 (in no definitive order but a rough chronilogical order).

Home1 – The year kicked off with the reopening of the Museum of Discovery. In 2011, the museum was gutted and redone from top to bottom. The result is three new galleries with 85 interactive exhibits as well as a high profile streetfront entrance.  A $9.2 million grant from Donald W. Reynolds Foundation provided the primary underwriting for the renovations, which also brought a subtitling of the museum as the Donald W. Reynolds Science Center.

Hupp

2 – Arkansas Rep Producing Artistic Director Robert M. Hupp received two honors in the first quarter of the year.  In February, he was named Arkansas Business Non-Profit Executive of the Year.  The next month Hupp received the Diamond Award from the Arkansas Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.  Hupp has been at Arkansas Rep since 1999.  He currently serves on the board of the Theatre Communications Group, the national service organization for non-profit theatres.

Landesman

3 – Rocco Landesman, the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, visited Arkansas in March.   While in Little Rock, he participated in a panel discussion with Bob Hupp of the Arkansas Rep, Warwick Sabin of the Oxford American, Joy Pennington of the Arkansas Arts Council and Beth Wiedower of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  Landesman, a Tony winning Broadway producer, was named the 10th chair of the NEA in 2009.   He announced his plans to retire later in the year.

4 – Polk Stanley Wilcox architectural firm was awarded the American Architecture Award for its design of the Heifer International Murphy Keller Education Center in March.  It is the third American Architecture Award the firm has won in the last five years. The firm also won for designing the Acxiom Data Center and the Heifer International Headquarters, also in Little Rock. Heifer broke ground in the $7.5 million Keller Education Center in 2007. The building provides a place for visitors, staff, volunteers and the international development community to come together to learn about world hunger and poverty and current solutions to these problems.

Kaiser

5 – Michael Kaiser, president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, presided over the 2012 Arkansas Arts Summit in April at the Clinton Presidential Center.  The programmatic arm of the conference was developed and presented by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center, and provided practical training for board members and arts administrators. The event was sponsored by the Arkansas Arts Council.  Little Rock designer and business owner Kaki Hockersmith, who serves on the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the the Kennedy Center, was instrumental in organizing the event.

Rockefeller

6 – May 1 marked the 100th birthday of former Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockefeller.  In addition to being a political leader, he was a cultural and philanthropic leader.  Perhaps his most obvious impact was helping to transform the provincial Little Rock Museum of Fine Arts into the first rate Arkansas Arts Center.  He and his family were generous donors of money and art to this effort.  Through the effort of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, many cultural institutions have received funds for programming which has reached into every county and every corner of this state.  For instance, one of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s string quartets is the Rockefeller Quartet.

Sabin

7 – Later in May, Oxford American publisher Warwick Sabin won a primary for the Democratic nomination for District 33 of the Arkansas House of Representatives. He was unopposed in the November election and will take office in January 2013.

8 – As May ended, Riverfest turned 35.  Among the headliners were Boyz II Men, Lynard Skynard, Staind, Third Eye Blind, Joe Walsh, Snoop Dogg, Rodney Block, and Trout Fishing in America.  Since beginning, Riverfest has contributed over $1 million to promote and upgrade parks in Central Arkansas.  Approximately 250,000 festival-goers attended the 2012 event, with an estimated economic impact of $33 million on the community.

oxfordamerican9 – In June, the Oxford American received a $290,000 ArtPlace Grant for its “South on Main” Project.  The space will include a restaurant that will celebrate Southern culinary culture. Accompanying the food will be nightly cultural programming that will feature the best of Southern arts and culture across a variety of formats including literature, music, film, art and drama. The Oxford American will focus on community-oriented programming developed through partnerships with local organizations and institutions.  It is slated to open in the first quarter of 2013.

Selz

10 – Also in June, Nan Selz, who has led the Museum of Discovery since 2004 and revitalized the once-struggling museum announced her intention to retire at the end of 2012.  Since joining the Museum in February 2004, Selz used her leadership to ensure that the Museum has become central Arkansas’s premier math, science and technology center. She has nearly 50 years executive, development and teaching experience having worked in corporate, non-profit and education sectors.  In December, Kelley Bass was named to succeed Selz.

11 – Ann Richards’ Texas a documentary about the colorful former Governor of Texas won the WGA Documentary Screenplay Award at the AFI SilverDocs festival in June.  The brainchild of Keith Patterson and Arkansans Jack Lofton, Susan Altrui, Eric Wilson and Dr. Jordan Cooper, the documentary received a screening at the Paley Center in New York City in October.

12 – The Laura P. Nichols Cheetah Outpost was officially dedicated at the Little Rock Zoo in July. Mayor Mark Stodola and City Manager Bruce Moore were in attendance for the opening remarks and ribbon cutting ceremony. Zoo Director Mike Blakely introduced special guest, Anne Schmidt-Kuentzel, research geneticist and assistant director for animal health and research at the Cheetah Conservation Fund, a world-wide non profit dedicated to saving the wild cheetah and its habitat. She thanked the zoo for supporting the cheetahs.  The cheetahs, Zazi and her daughter Maggie, come from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia.

Hodge

13 – Roger D. Hodge, former editor of Harper’s was named as the new editor of the Oxford American magazine.  Mr. Hodge is the author of  The Mendacity of Hope a critique of President Obama published by HarperCollins in 2010, and is currently working on another book focusing on life in the borderlands of West Texas.  A native of Texas, he studied comparative literature at Sewanee in Tennessee, and began his career as a freelance writer in North Carolina.
operainrock14 –  Opera in the Rock launched and hosted its first event – “Opera on the Rocks” out at Wildwood Park for the Arts. Opera in the Rock is focused on returning live opera performances to Little Rock on a regular basis. The company has announced plans for a performance in February at the Clinton Presidential Center.

15 – The Central Arkansas Library System’s Butler Center for Arkansas Studies launched Arkansas Sounds, a music festival, in September.  The festival featured over twenty events (concerts, lectures and other special programs) over an extended weekend.  Focusing on Arkansas music and musicians both past and present, Arkansas Sounds will also work to get musicians and songwriters involved in local schools, create songwriting workshops for kids and adults, and host related performances and events throughout the state. Arkansas Sounds is the second festival sponsored by the Butler Center. They also produce the Arkansas Literary Festival in the spring.

Mann

16 – Philip Mann, music director of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, was honored by the Arkansas chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators honored Arkansas communicators in October. He received the IABC/Arkansas 2012 Communicator of the Year, honoring Mann for his innovative communication in creating connections between music and audience. Mann is in his third season as director of the symphony, which has seen audience and artistic growth and financial health under his leadership.

17 – Construction began on the new Arcade Building in Little Rock’s River Market district.  This three story building will be home to the Little Rock Film Festival offices as well as additional space for the Central Arkansas Library System and the Clinton School of Public Service.  One major focus of the building will be the 325-seat theatre auditorium for film and lectures.  A restuarant and office space will also be in the building.  The Arcade Building was designed by architect Rick Redden not long before he died earlier in 2012. A statue of Redden will be placed in front of the building.

Brent, Craig Renaud

18 – Also in October, two of the co-founders of the Little Rock Film Festival – Craig and Brent Renaud received an Edward R. Murrow Award for their work in Haiti for the New York Times.  he Renaud Brothers produced a series of reports for the Times beginning days after the earthquake in Port-au-Prince, and followed the story of survivors for more than a year.

Cole

19 – Sericia Cole, who had been serving as interim director of Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, was named the permanent director in November.  Before joining the museum, Cole served as director of minority affairs for Gov. Mike Beebe’s office for two years. Prior to that, she was director of public relations at Philander Smith College.  She has extensive experience in public relations and non-profit work. Since joining the museum in March, she has introduced several new programs and secured a major grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in Washington, D.C.

Worthen

20 – In November, Bill Worthen celebrated 40 years as Director of Historic Arkansas Museum.  When he started at the institution, it was known as the Arkansas Territorial Restoration and took up roughly half a city block.  Under his leadership, the museum has expanded into permanent galleries as well as increased its historic structures and demostrations.  HAM now takes up one whole city block and two partial blocks.  He is the longest serving musem director in Little Rock history.

Matthews

21 – Also in November, Cathie Matthews announced her upcoming retirement from the Department of Arkansas Heritage.  She has led that state agency for fifteen years and is the longest-serving director.  A Little Rock native (and daughter of former LR Mayor Pratt C. Remmel), she has led the department through the opening of two new museums, the renovation of two existing museums and the creation of new programs in the other agencies. Matthews oversees the Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Delta Cultural Center, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, and Old State House Museum.

Belew

22 – Late in November, Arkansan Cody Belew was eliminated from the TV show “The Voice.”  Born and raised on back country roads, Cody Belew grew up singing in rodeo arenas and gospel church houses. Pulling influence from his southern roots, Cody’s voice is a mix of southern rock, R&B, gospel, soul, and a little mountain twang. He’s been on enough stages, and in front of enough county fair crowds to understand what it takes to entertain an audience.  Before moving to Nashville in 2011, he was a fixture on the Little Rock music scene; he still comes back to perform from time to time. His most recent appearance was at Robinson Center Music Hall last weekend.

Stodola

23 – In December, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola together with the Downtown Little Rock Partnership hosted a meeting to discuss plans for “The Creative Corridor – A Main Stree Revitalization.”  The plan was developed by the University of Arkansas Community Design Center working with Marlon Blackwell Architect for Little Rock.  It was a fulfillment of a National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant.

photo (7)24 – Plans for upgrading and renovating Robinson Center Music Hall are moving forward.  Following presentations by four firms in November, the Advertising and Promotion Commission narrowed it down to Ennead Architects of New York, partnered with Polk Stanley Wilcox of Little Rock and Witsell Evans Rasco of Little Rock, partnered with LMN of Seattle.  The concept, which was first unveiled in June, could cost around $65 million.  Presentations by the final two firms will be made in January.  Once completed, the renovated Robinson Center will benefit numerous organizations including the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Arkansas, Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau and Celebrity Attractions.  In related performance space news, First Security Bank made a contribution toward the renovation and reconstruction of the amphitheatre in Riverfront Park.

New Director of Mosaic Templars Cultural Center

ColeSericia Cole, who had been serving as interim director of the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, was recently named as permanent director of this museum.  Her appointment was announced by Cathie Matthews, the director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.  Mosaic Templars is a program of Matthews’ department.

Cole, has an extensive background in the arts and public relations.  (She and I actually worked together in the 1990s at Wildwood Park for the Arts.)  Prior to joining Mosaic Templars, she served on the staff of Governor Mike Beebe.

Under Cole’s leadership, Mosaic Templars has already has been awarded $97,636 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in Washington, D.C., in the form of a Museum Grant for African American History and Culture, a national, federal program that awards financial contributions to museums whose primary purpose is African American art, culture and history.

“This is a terrific achievement for the staff of the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, who worked really hard toward this funding opportunity,” said Cole. “We’re thrilled that the award will allow us to hire additional museum program staff and, as a result, be able to enhance our museum collections and better serve students and educators across Arkansas.”

MTCC is one of 14 such museums from across the country to have been selected to receive an award from this competitive annual grant program.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Through grant making, policy development, and research, IMLS helps communities and individuals thrive through broad public access to knowledge, cultural heritage, and lifelong learning.

The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is dedicated to telling the history of African Americans in Arkansas from 1870 to the present especially in the areas of politics, business and the arts. For more information about MTCC, visit http://www.Mosaic TemplarsCenter.com. Other agencies of the Department of Arkansas Heritage include Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Historic Preservation, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Delta Cultural Center, Historic Arkansas Museum and Old State House Museum.

CALS is a Library Star!

The Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) has been listed as a Star Library in the Library Journal Index of Public Library Service. The index measures the service levels of the nation’s 7,153 public libraries, based on circulation, visits, Internet use, and program attendance. CALS, with a total score of 773, was one of only twenty Southern libraries to receive the Star recognition.

Rankings were based on 2009 data released by the Institute of Museum and Library Services in July, 2011. CALS is listed twenty-fifth out of 107 libraries that fall within an expenditure range of $10 million to $29.9 million. In 2009 CALS’s budget was $13,750,000.

Since opening as the Little Rock Public Library in 1910, CALS has added branches and services, evolving to meet the needs of patrons and becoming one of the largest systems in the mid-South. Innovations such as the bookmobile service that began in 1938 gave way to branch libraries, interlibrary loan, and online access to information.  Though many libraries are seeing reduction in funding, circulation and attendance, CALS has had twelve years of increases in circulation and attendance, and because funding sources are tied to property taxes, has not had to reduce service or staff.

Director Bobby Roberts states, “It is an honor to have our work acknowledged by such a prestigious magazine as Library Journal. I believe CALS is the best library system in the South because the taxpayers have approved the funds to allow us to provide excellent service and resources that our patrons want and need.”

The Main Library campus offers an extensive Reference department, computer lab, specialized Arkansas research resources, art galleries, a used book store, two cafés, and a new area specially designed to accommodate the needs and interests of teens.

 

CALS libraries in Little Rock include:

  • Main Library, 100 Rock Street
  • Dee Brown Library, 6325 Baseline Road
  • Fletcher Library, 823 North Buchanan Street
  • Oley E. Rooker Library, 11 Otter Creek Court
  • Terry Library, 2015 Napa Valley Drive
  • Thompson Library, 38 Rahling Circle
  • Williams Library, 1800 Chester Street
  • McMath Library, 2100 John Barrow Road.
  • CALS also has branches in Jacksonville, Maumelle, Perryville and Sherwood.