LR Women Making History – June Freeman

June Biber Freeman, born and reared in New Jersey, came to Pine Bluff from the University of Chicago, where she had met and married her husband, Edmond Freeman, a Pine Bluff native.

Long interested in the arts, she was instrumental in establishing the Little Firehouse Community Arts Center. Serving as its unpaid director until, with her continued vision and help, it morphed into the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas (ASC).  In 1973, she conceived and organized the  Women and the Arts: A Conference on Creativity,  the first of its kind in the region. Governor Dale Bumpers appointed her to the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women.  In 1975,  Freeman was  hired by  Townsend Wolfe as the Arkansas Arts Center’s Director of State Services, a job  she held for the next five years.

In 1982, she was instrumental in establishing Pine Bluff Sister Cities.   She has served on the Little Rock Arts+Culture Commission as well as the boards of the Arkansas Arts Center, the Mid-American Arts Alliance and the Arkansas Arts Council. (In view of her background in psychology, she has served as a longstanding member of the UAMS Advisory Board of the Psychiatric Research Institute.)

Freeman is the founding director of the non-profit Architecture and Design Network (ADN) which got underway in 2003. Securing the support of the Arkansas Arts Center, the UA Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design (FJSAD) and the central section of the Arkansas chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Freeman launched a series of free public lectures by distinguished architects.  Retiring as director at the end of 2016, she continues to serve as a board member. She was named an honorary member of the FJSAD Dean’s Circle and, in 2013, was given an Award of Merit by the state Chapter of the AIA at its annual meeting. In 2016 the ADN board named the lecture series for her.

In 2017, she was inducted into the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame.  In 1995, she received the Governor’s Arts Award for Outstanding Patron.  In 2018, she became a rare two-time award recipient of a Governor’s Arts Award as she received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Freeman and her husband, who retired as publisher of the Pine Bluff Commercial, moved to Little Rock in 1995. The couple has four children and six grandchildren.

LR Cultural Touchstone: Garbo Hearne

garboGarbo Watson Hearne has moved from nurturing patients as a nurse to nurturing artists and art collectors.  As the Director of Pyramid Art, Books & Custom Framing and Hearne Fine Art, she has been cultivating artists and collectors for over 25 years.

In 1988, Garbo left her nursing career to establish Pyramid Gallery.  Over the years, the business has expanded its focus and changed locations.  Since 2010, she has been located in the historic Dunbar neighborhood.   Over the years, she has championed local, regional and national African American artists and authors. She has introduced many emerging artists to established collectors.  Having her as a champion has allowed some artists to be able to take risks and to move into different mediums or styles.

The 2010 move to Dunbar positioned Garbo’s businesses (as well as the medical practice of her physician husband) to be anchors in the newly designated Dunbar Historic Neighborhood.  That neighborhood seeks to maintain its historic structures and return to its roots as a mix of residential and office space.  In 2008, she and her husband, Dr. Archie Hearne, published Collaborations, Two Decades of African American Art: Hearne Fine Art 1988 – 2008.

Hearne has served on the board of directors of the Mid-America Arts Alliance, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, the Arkansas Arts Council (including a term as Chair) and the board of the Arkansas Humanities Council.