It started with seven – a decade of the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden

The original seven sculptures. Clockwise from top left: Conversation with Myself; Straight and Narrow; Bateleur Eagle; First Glance; Sizzling Sisters; Cascade; and Full of Himself

After nearly a week of rain, the skies dried up and on Friday, October 16, 2009, the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden was dedicated.

Designed and created by the staff of the Little Rock Parks and Recreation Department, the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden started with seven sculptures. These were purchased at the 2007 and 2008 Sculpture at the River Market Show and Sales.

The original seven were: Full of Himself by Jan Woods, Cascade by Chapel, Bateleur Eagle by Pete Zaluzec, Sizzling Sister by Wayne Salge, Conversation With Myself by Lorri Acott, First Glance by Denny Haskew, and Straight and Narrow by Lisa Gordon.

The sculpture garden was named after the Vogel Schwartz Foundation in recognition of its contributions to the project. The garden was dedicated on the afternoon of the preview party for the 2009 Show and Sale.

The Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden did not have seven sculptures for long. New pieces have been added every few months since then.  In 2017, an expansion was dedicated which doubled the size and allowed for larger pieces to be installed.  Today there are over eighty sculptures in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden and more than twenty elsewhere in Riverfront Park.

The 2020 Sculpture at the River Market “A Night in the Garden” party will take place on Friday, April 17, 2020, in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden.

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Looking at five canine sculptures in Little Rock

August 26 is National Dog Day!  To mark this occasion, here are five sculptures found in Little Rock which feature dogs.  Two are in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden, one is in the Bill Clark Wetlands, one is at the Little Rock Animal Village, and the newest one is in the Heights roundabout.

Ken Newman’s FOREVER READY was donated in 2009 by the Sculpture at the River Market.   It is sited in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden.  Mr. Newman is a member of the National Sculptors’ Guild.  One of Mr. Newman’s specialties is animals.  Cast in bronze, Forever Ready depicts a Labrador.  Here is Mr. Newman’s artist statement on the piece.

So, ‘Forever Ready’ is that reflection of the breed (hunter, companion and teacher)…Capturing its intense nature with discipline and loyalty, I have set the lab on edge so intense, that if not given the command to go, it will just fall off. But, it is able to maintain balance – wet and ready to go again. The lab’s shadow is cast in the water below, for a I cannot think of a lab without water.

A few yards from Forever Ready, another dog stands inquisitively.  Commissioned in 2010 and unveiled in 2011, Dan Glanz’s BORIS is a likeness of Boris Kumpuris, the dog and companion of Mary and Dr. Dean Kumpuris.

Glanz captures the friendly and inquisitive nature of Boris in this work, which can be found in the Vogel Schwarz sculpture garden. Most weekends Boris can be seen with Dean as the two walk through Riverfront Park and the River Market. Boris explores and inspects the park along with Dean. Each year during the Sculpture at the River Market show, Boris visits with Dean and meets all the sculptors.

The sculpture was donated by longtime Kumpuris family friend Margaret Clark. She and her late husband Bill were two of the earliest supporters of sculpture along the Arkansas River. They donated another piece in honor of their grandchildren. A sculpture in memory of Bill was stands in the wetlands park which bears his name.

The Bill Clark Wetlands is actually the location of the third dog.  It is Chloe, Bill Clark’s faithful hunting dog.  She stands next to Bill in Clay Enoch’s sculpture STEADY.  Dedicated in 2011, it was a tribute to the man who helped build the Clinton Presidential Library.

This tribute to Clark shows Bill and Chloe in an early morning duck hunt scanning the horizon.  It is also positioned so that Bill is also gazing at the Clinton Presidential Center. His firm was the contractor on that building, and he spent thousands of hours walking in the area looking at the building during the construction.

A portion of the ground he trod during construction has been set aside as the Bill Clark Wetlands, and STEADY is placed in the wetlands as a memorial to Bill.

In 2015, the Little Rock Animal Village unveiled Lorri Acott’s WHO RESCUED WHO.  Located at the entrance to the Little Rock Animal Village, it depicts a person and dog looking at each other. They are sharing a bond of respect, admiration and love.

The human figure has Acott’s trademark extended length legs. These represent the ability to overcome obstacles and rise above adversity.  This is even more apt when considering the role that pets can play in our lives, as well as the role humans play in “adopting” rescued pets.

The sculpture is dedicated to the memory of Jack Adcock. It is given by his family, which includes longtime City Director Joan Adcock, their two children, eleven grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Little Rock’s newest canine sculpture is Ken Newman’s Taking Attendance. It is installed in the new roundabout at Kavanaugh and McKinley.

In discussing the sculpture, Newman says:

The forms, shapes and gestures of my sculptures are expressions of external and internal influences, and influences not necessarily from models or photographs. This sculpture signifies the moments when I have encouraged my dog to walk in front of me unleashed, as it fosters confidence in our relationship.

A Decade of the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden

Wayne Salge’s SIZZLING SISTERS, one of the original sculptures installed in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden

On June 25, 2009, members of the Sculpture at the River Market committee and City leaders broke ground on the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden in Riverfront Park.

The groundbreaking followed an unveiling of the design plans for the new sculpture garden, which will be located east of the Peabody Hotel near the Forever a Rose garden and the Jack Fleischauer Garden.

“As part of the continuing improvements to Riverfront Park, we wanted to put more sculpture into the park to complement the new gardens, Peabody Park, and the upcoming La Petite Roche plaza,” said City Director Dean Kumpuris. “At the 2008 Sculpture at the River Market, six pieces were bought through proceeds from the show and sale to be placed in the park in 2009.”

According to Kumpuris, seven new pieces will join a dozen other sculptures in the park and along President Clinton Avenue that have been installed since 2004.

The sculpture garden features natural terraces and walkways. The design creates a space to host receptions, weddings or other events as well as to allow visitors to enjoy the sculptures in solitude.

The seven pieces which will be installed are “Full of Himself” by Jan Woods, “Cascade” by Chapel, “Bateleur Eagle” by Pete Zaluzec, “Sizzling Sister” by Wayne Salge, “Conversation with Myself” by Lorri Acott,  “First Glance” by Denny Haskew, and “Straight and Narrow” by Lisa Gordon.

“This is only the start,” said Sculpture at the River Market Chair Jane Rogers. “In addition to continuing to place sculpture in Riverfront Park, the committee is discussing ways to place public art throughout the city. In the months to come, we hope to be able to make some more announcements about sculpture and public art in Little Rock.”

The sculpture garden is made possible through the support of the Vogel Schwartz Foundation. Robert Vogel represented the family during the ground-breaking ceremony commending the city of Little Rock on their efforts to support the art community.

Winner of 2019 Sculpture at the River Market public monument competition is Theresa Dyer for LITTLE ROCK

­­­­­ Theresa Dyer was named as the recipient of a $60,000 commission on Sunday at the conclusion of the 2019 Sculpture at the River Market. The name of her sculpture is LITTLE ROCK.

It will be installed in spring 2020 adjacent to Little Rock City Hall, at the northwest corner of Markham Street and Broadway Street.

Dyer’s piece will stand ten feet high, be twelve feet wide, four feet deep, and sit on a concrete base which is eight feet in diameter. It will be made of silicon bronze, stainless steel, and cold-rolled steel.

In submitting the proposal, Dyer said,

“I see this sculpture as a testament to the future of Little Rock. Two children looking up in openness, wonder and hope. They are positioned back to back looking up at the same star. This will provide interest at all viewing angles. One of them points upwards with his arm at an angle of 23.5 degrees, this exact angle being the tilt of the earth. The earth is represented by an arch of stainless steel and an arch of cold rolled steel. They are supported by the 8’ dia. base of poured concrete.

“Along the edge of the base will be inscribed the coordinates of the City of Little Rock. At the top of the circumference is a stainless steel pin fixture that will become illuminated at night adding interest from dusk until dawn. The shaft of light points in two directions, one toward the sky and the other, down on the boys faces. The children are positioned in the center of the implied circle and the boys arm continues the line of the earths tilt. The piece is orientated toward the bridge and provide views from both Broadway and Markham Street. The two figures acknowledge the existing sculpture of the two figures across Broadway in front of Robinson Auditorium, creating a gateway toward Broadway Bridge.

Sculptors who were juried in to participate in the 2019 Show and Sale were invited to submit proposals for the new commission. A committee reviewed the 37 submissions and narrowed them down to seven semi-finalists. The semi-finalist proposals were on display Friday, May 3, during Sculptacular, the preview party. Guests at the party had the opportunity to review the proposals and then to vote. Following that, the three finalists were announced. A panel of judges selected the winner from the three finalists. The other two finalists were Nnamdi Okonkwo and Charles Strain.

Dyer will join eight other sculptors who have been recognized previously with the commissions through the Sculpture at the River Market’s Public Art Monument Sculpture Competition.

  • The 2011 winner was Chapel, whose work The Center was installed near the Junction Bridge.
  • In 2012 the recipient was Bryan Massey, Sr.’s Nautilus. This was installed to the north of the Marriott Hotel near the younger children’s spray fountain.
  • The 2013 winner was Ted Schaal for his piece Open Window which was placed near the La Petite Roche plaza and First Security Amphitheatre.
  • Lorri Acott’s Peace was the 2014 commission winner; it is sited at the southeast corner of Main and 2nd Streets.
  • Michael Warrick’s Mockingbird Tree, the 2015 winner, is installed at the corner of Chenal Parkway and Chenal Valley Drive.
  • Clay Enoch’s United, which won in 2016, was installed at Central High School.
  • Stephen Shachtman’s Arkansas ‘A’, the 2017 winner, sits at the entrance to the Southwest Community Center
  • Carol Gold’s Infinite Dance, was recently installed in Riverfront Park where the Broadway Bridge pedestrian ramp meets the Arkansas River Trail.

3 Finalists for 2019 Sculpture at the River Market public monument competition; winner to be announced this afternoon

The winner of a $60,000 commission to place a sculpture at Little Rock City Hall in 2020 will be announced on Sunday, May 5, 2019, as the 11th Sculpture at the River Market Show and Sale concludes.

The three semifinalists for the 2019 Sculpture at the River Market Public Monument Competition were announced Friday night at the conclusion of Sculptacular, the preview party for the 2019 Sculpture at the River Market Show and Sale. The three finalists are, alphabetical order:

  • Theresa Dyer – LITTLE ROCK
  • Nnamdi Okonkwo – UNITY
  • Charles Strain – THE GATHERING

Sculpture at the River Market invited all artists participating in the 2019 Show & Sale to submit a proposal for its $60,000 Public Monument Competition. This is the ninth such competition.

The proposals of the seven semifinalists were displayed during Sculptacular, the event’s preview party on the evening of May 3, and Preview Party guests voted for their 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice.  All votes were tallied and the top three finalists were announced at the end of the evening.

The top three proposals will be juried on May 4 and 5, and the 2019 winner will be announced at 3PM on Sunday, May 5.  The winning sculpture will be installed at the northwest corner of Markham Street and Broadway Street adjacent to Little Rock City Hall in the spring of 2020.

The other semifinalists were: Clay Enoch, Joe Norman, Ryan T. Schmidt, and Basil Barrington Watson.

Previous Public Monument Competition winners have been:

  • 2011 – Chapel, THE CENTER installed in Riverfront Park near the Junction Bridge
  • 2012 – Bryan Massey, Sr.,  NAUTILUS installed in Riverfront Park next to the Arkansas River near the Margaret Clark Adventure Park.
  • 2013 – Ted Schaal, OPEN WINDOW installed in Riverfront Park between the First Security Amphitheatre and La Petite Roche Plaza.
  • 2014 – Lorri Acott, PEACE installed at 2nd Street and Main Street
  • 2015 – Michael Warrick, MOCKINGBIRD TREE installed at Chenal Parkway and Chenal Valley Drive
  • 2016 – Clay Enoch, UNITED installed at Central High School
  • 2017 – Stephen Shachtman, ARKANSAS “A” installed at the Southwest Community Center
  • 2018 – Carol Gold, INFINITE DANCE installed in Riverfront Park near the Broadway Bridge

More information is available on the web at http://sculptureattherivermarket.com/.

Sculpture at the River Market Show and Sale this weekend!

Little Rock residents and visitors alike will have the opportunity to see and purchase works by leading sculptors when the Sculpture at the River Market Invitational Show and Sale takes place at the River Market pavilions on May 4 & 5

Over 700 sculptures will be on display in the River Market pavilions and in the adjacent area of Riverfront Park on these two days. The works featured will include all types of media, style, subject matter, and size.

The 2019 sculptors include: Lorri Acott, Serena Bates, Terry Bean, Jeff Best, Kelly Borsheim, Craig Campbell, Kathleen Caricof, Leslie Daly, Darrell Davis, Jane DeDecker, Michael Dunton, Theresa Dyer, Clay Enoch, Denny Haskew, Felipe Jimenz, James Keller, Edwad LaBonne, Jackie Mild Lau, and Bryan Massey.

Other participating sculptors are: Darren Miller, Ken Newman, Joe Norman, Nnamdi Okonkwo, Ed Pennebaker, John Powell, Timothy Roundy, Emelene Russell, Wayne Salge, Ryan T. Schmidt, Adam Schultz, Gene Sparling, Charles Strain, Bilhenry Walker, Michael Warrick, Basil Barrington Watson, CT Whitehouse, Russell Whiting, and David Zahn.

Sculpture at the River Market will be open in the River Market pavilions from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday, May 4, and from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Sunday, May 5.

On Saturday, Alex Palmer from the Museum of Discovery will offer activities for children at 12 noon and 2pm adjacent to the River Market pavilions.

On Sunday, two food trucks will be on site with food available for sculpture guests to purchase.  Nach’yo Nachos and Rock-Brick Oven Pizza will both be present from 11am until 2pm.

On Friday, May 5, at 6:30 p.m., a Preview Party will kick off the weekend.  With food provided by Copper Grill, beverages provided by Southern Glazer’s and Stella Artois, it will be a festive atmosphere offering guests the first chance to purchase sculptures as well as visit with the sculptors.

Also that night, guests to the Preview Party will be able to vote for their favorite sculpture in the 2019 Public Monument Competition.  The winner, which will be announced on Sunday, May 5, at 3:00 p.m., will be placed adjacent to City Hall at the corner of Markham Street and Broadway Street in 2020.  The seven semifinalists are: Theresa Dyer, Clay Enoch, Joe Norman, Nnamdi Okonkwo, Ryan T. Schmidt, Charles Strain and Basil Barrington Watson.

Little Rock Look Back: Installation of Lorri Acott’s PEACE Sculpture in 2015

On January 26, 2015, the City of Little Rock and Sculpture at the River Market installed Lorri Acott’s PEACE sculpture at the southeast corner of the intersection of Main Street and Second Street.

Peace was the winner of the 2014 Sculpture at the River Market Show and Sale public monument competition. The 12-feet-tall sculpture is made of bronze. It features a human figure standing with hands outstretched over its head. In between the hands is an arc made up of origami cranes.

The Sculpture at the River Market Committee commissioned the $60,000 sculpture and donated it to the City of Little Rock. “Peace” is made of bronze and features a long silhouette with colorful bronze origami cranes, known as symbols of peace and hope.

The sculpture design has won several accolades, including an “Art to Change the World” award from the American Civil Liberties Union and the 2014 World Citizens Artist Award from an international competition featuring art inspired the theme of peace.