2nd Friday Art Night – The Rep features the art of Doris Williamson Mapes

Image may contain: mountain, cloud, sky, text and natureOne of the newer venues participating in 2nd Friday Art Night is the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.  While one thinks of The Rep as a performing arts venue (and it certainly is), the Rep has also long been a promoter of the visual arts.

Drop by The Rep and enjoy paintings by late Arkansas artist, Doris Williamson Mapes. Known for her brilliant use of color, Doris described herself as a mixed media artist, using watercolors, acrylic, pencil, ink, gouache, casein, pastel, crayons, etc.

She studied design and encaustic painting under Townsend Wolfe at the Arkansas Arts Center and advanced painting with Edwin Brewer in the Adrian Brewer Studio. In 1970, Mapes, along with four other artists, founded and incorporated the Mid-Southern Watercolorists (MSW) in Little Rock. Mapes was elected as the organization’s founding president and served until 1972.

Doris was a long-time supporter of The Rep. The collection hangs in her memory.


2016 Mid-Southern Watercolorists Exhibition at Arkansas Arts Center

MSW Gold Award "Lake Lilies" by Judy Wright Walter

MSW Gold Award “Lake Lilies” by Judy Wright Walter

The artists of the Mid-Southern Watercolorists have been exploring the world through luminous color on paper since the group was founded in 1970. The MSW is one of the largest and most active art organizations headquartered in Arkansas. More than 200 members live and create across the Mid-South and beyond. Their works are widely exhibited in venues both regional and national. Each year their finest productions are gathered in a juried exhibition.

The guest juror for this year’s exhibition is nationally recognized watercolorist, Robert Burridge. From 136 entries submitted by 74 artists, he narrowed the exhibition list to thirty works. Burridge is the Honorary President of the International Society of Acrylic Painters (ISAP) and a Signature Member of both the ISIP and the Philadelphia Water Color Society. He is a recipient of their highest and most prestigious award, the Crest Medal for Achievement in the Arts.

The Mid-Southern Watercolorists hold their meetings on the third Wednesday of each month in the Lecture Hall here at the Arkansas Arts Center. They offer workshops where members can learn from locally and nationally recognized watercolorists. To learn more about the organization, or to join, please visit: MidSouthernWatercolorists.com.

2015 In Memoriam – “Miss Polly” Loibner

1515 Loibner

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.

“Miss Polly” Loibner taught Arkansas how to draw!

In the late ’60s, when television in the schools was almost unheard of, the Arkansas Education Television Network sought an art educator to teach elementary-age children across the state via the airwaves, and Frances Pauline “Polly” Loibner took the job.

Using her signature puppets, became THE elementary art teacher for most Arkansans, producing 13 art series for AETN, including “Polly’s Paintbox,” “Everyday Artist,” “Art Parade,” “Sketch Pad,” and “Gazebo.” She did not talk down to kids, but she DID break artistic tasks down into smaller sections to make things easier to do.

Following her 14 years on AETN, Loibner became artist-in-residence for Russellville Public Schools.  Later, she and her husband opened Vango Galleries, billed “a home of fine arts and creative framing,” in Russellville.

Not just a talented teacher, she was also a talented artist. She liked to work in charcoal, pastels, ink and dry brush, acrylics, paints, mixed media and oils.

“I love the drama of nature and I am very happy painting in the open, surrounded by beauty, smells, sounds and feelings,” Loibner to University of the Ozarks when she was a featured artist. “Sometimes the finished painting is an impression of the moment; other times the painting is more abstract. There are times my work shows the struggle; others show the flow of feelings through the brush stroke and the excitement of colors, more real than real. There is no better life on this earth than painting.”

A graduate of University of Central Arkansas, Loibner has won numerous honors and recognition for her work, including Best-In-Show and first place in the contemporary category in the annual Grand Prairie Festival of Arts. Her paintings are in numerous public and private collections throughout Arkansas, as well as in many other states and Mexico.

Loibner was an active member of Mid-Southern Watercolor Society, Southern Watercolor Society, Arkansas League of Artists, National Art Education Association, Arkansas River Valley Art Center, Arkansas Education Association, ART of Russellville, AR Retired Teachers Association and Puppeteers of America.

Arts Abound Tonight at 2nd Friday Art Night

2FAN logo Font sm22nd Friday Art Night proves there is a cure for the Summertime Blues.  It offers visual art, music, food and drink!  You can eat, drink, learn, appreciate, and be merry!

At Historic Arkansas Museum from 5 to 8 pm there will be a free opening reception for two new exhibits: Katherine Rutter & Ginny Sims in the Trinity Gallery for Arkansas Artists and PopUp in the Rock: The Exhibit in the Second Floor Gallery. Enjoy live music by John Willis and the Late Romantics and #ArkansasMade brews from Moody Brews. Delicious appetizers provided by Boulevard Bread.

Down the street, the Old State House Museum will be offering musical performances by traditional folk artists Mockingbird from 5-8 p.m. The Old State House Museum will be open for self-guided tours and Mockingbird will play in the acoustically-rich 1836 Arkansas House of Representatives chamber. The room is one of the most historically significant rooms in the state, and this is a fun way for you and your family to see and experience it.

A few blocks south, Christ Church will be featuring the works of John and Judy Shantz Honey and their exhibit “Reflections on Abstraction.”

  • John Honey is a member of Mid-Southern Watercolorists and Arkansas League of Artists. He has studied the use of water-based mediums and collage under several nationally recognized artists. He is constantly challenged to find a different approach for including the elements of design in his paintings. He favors abstraction over realism as a means of expression. John’s work has been seen in juried exhibitions at the Arkansas Art Center.
  • Judy Shantz Honey enjoyed an interest in art as a child, and this interest continued through her studies at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and in the Museum School at the Arkansas Arts Center. She has also studied with nationally recognized art instructors in art workshops around the United States and in Mexico.  Watercolor, acrylic, and collage are her primary mediums, with work on paper and on canvas. She is a member of Mid-Southern Watercolorists, the Arkansas League of Artists and the Arkansas Arts Council.


It is Spring – Fly a Kite (or see art about it)

Today marks the first day of spring aka the Vernal Equinox.  It is a good day to go kite flying.

Next season the Arkansas Rep will be presenting Mary Poppins with its song about flying a kite.  The original Broadway Mary Poppins, Ashley Brown, will be performing with the Arkansas Symphony as well next season.

But this year, on the Arkansas Arts Center website, you can see art from their collection which features kites.

Alice Andrews - Kite Flying - from collection of Arkansas Arts Center

Alice Andrews – Kite Flying – from collection of Arkansas Arts Center

The first is Alice Andrews’ Kite Flying.  This 1978 watercolor on paper depicts a kite being flown in a field. The perspective is from above the kite looking down on it and the ground below. The artwork measures 21.5 by 29.5 inches.  It was a gift to the Arkansas Arts Center in 1978 by the Mid-Southern Watercolorists.

Alice Andrews lives in an old white farmhouse built in the 1800’s in the Boxley Valley in Newton County, Arkansas. Boxley is full of clear rocky creeks and pastures and is surrounded by mountains. It has the feeling of being back in time about one hundred years, and has more cow residents than people.

Alice works in both oils and pastels. Her subject matter ranges from landscapes and paintings of her home and garden, to paintings of dreams, of allegory and of pure abstraction. Alice has been awarded residency at The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico, and the respected pastel artist Wolf Kahn personally awarded her a residency at the prestigious Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont.

She is a graduate of Henderson State University and the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore.

Lothar Krueger's Day of the Great Kite Race - from collection of Arkansas Arts Center

Lothar Krueger’s Day of the Great Kite Race – from collection of Arkansas Arts Center

Another piece in the Arts Center collection is Lothar Krueger’s Day of the Great Kite Race.  This 1980 drawing is chalk and colored pencil on paper. The art measures 21 7/8  by 34 inches.  It was purchased by the Arkansas Arts Center Foundation after the 13th Annual Prints, Drawings and Crafts Exhibition.

Lothar Krueger, was a native of Two Rivers, WI.  Born in 1909, he became interested in art in Washington High School where he was “considered one of the greatest all-round football players in that school’s history.” He received his B.S. degree in art from Milwaukee State Teachers College in 1942 when he was drafted into the army. After officers training he took part in the World War II.  In the war, he took part in the D-Day invasion of Normandy and received two Purple Hearts, a Silver Star and a Bronze Star.  In 1947, he had one of his first art shows at the Wisconsin Historical Museum in Madison.

Krueger joined the faculty of the University of Arkansas. During his tenure on the art faculty at the university, he established himself as a major artist in Arkansas and in the regional and national art scene by winning numerous awards and honors. He taught Art, Art Education, and Art Criticism from 1953 until 1981, and also served as acting chairman of the art department for a year. After his retirement from the university, he continued to live in Fayetteville.   He died in January 2009 at the age of 89.


Children Flying Kites by Manfred Schwartz – from collection of Arkansas Arts Center

Manfred Schwartz’s Children Flying Kites is also in the Arkansas Arts Center collection. This 1960 oil on canvas measures 42 by 34 inches. It was a gift to the Arkansas Arts Center in 2005 from Janice M. Ireland.

In Manfred Schwartz’s lifetime, he produced a significant and varied oeuvre, and was extolled by art critics and museums. Born in Poland in 1909, he emigrated to New York in 1920 at the age of 11, and was something of a child prodigy. Early in his career he showed side by side with Maurice Vlaminck, Bernard Buffet, Edward Hopper, and Andrew Wyeth.

In 1929 he moved to Paris. There his art gained a new sense of freedom, which he expanded for the next forty years.  Educated at the Sorbonne in Paris, the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris, the Art Students League in New York, and the National Academy of Design in New York. Studied with Charles Hawthorne in Provincetown, John Sloan, and Bridgemen.

Manfred Schwartz created a sensational body of work; oils, pastels, lithographs, and we can see his evolution within three major periods that span fifty years of work.  His earliest paintings were portraits and still-lifes. The colors were deep and muted, he preferred the umbers to the yellows. By 1940 he began to paint in a more abstract manner. His colors intensified and his images seemed ahead of their time.

Schwartz died in New York in 1970.


A LOVEly 2nd Friday Art Night

2nd friday art nightSince Valentine’s Day falls on 2nd Friday Art Night, expect some touches of red and pink along the way at the various sites.

Among the participating locations are Historic Arkansas Museum which will feature live music by Kit & Kaboodle as well as the opening reception for the Mid-Southern Watercolorists 44th Annual Juried Exhibition. Awards will be announced at 6 pm.

This exhibition includes 43 watercolors from members of the Mid-Southern Watercolorists (MSW), a group founded in Little Rock in 1970 with members in more than a dozen states.

MSW was formed to elevate the stature of watercolor and educate the public to the significance of watercolor as an important creative, permanent painting medium. MSW offers workshops, programs and competitive exhibits throughout the year.

The Old State House Museum‘s Second Friday Cinema will feature the film Hallelujah at 6:00pm.

One of the earliest Hollywood feature films shot on location in Arkansas, Hallelujah was innovative in several ways. It was the first talking picture made by popular director King Vidor, one of the first Hollywood movies with an all-black cast, and it introduced an early form of sound dubbing. Scenes of cotton picking and outdoor church revivals were shot in Tennessee and Arkansas, with the movie’s climactic chase scene shot in Ten Mile Bayou near West Memphis.

Ben Fry, General Manager of KLRE/KUAR and coordinator of the film minor at UALR, will introduce the film and lead a discussion after the screening.

At CALS’ Butler Center Galleries, they are promising “Sweet Art for Your Sweetheart.”

The featured artist is Russell Lemond.  He is a contemporary sculptural artist who works primarily with metal. His work is deemed “outside the box” by some, but he feels that in art as in life, there is no box.  The featured musician,Oksana Pavilionis, is a premier concert violinist playing mix of classical and folk tunes. Originally from Russia, Oksana now lives and teaches in Benton, Arkansas.

The current exhibitions are “Reflections in Pastel,” “Arkansas Women to Watch 2013,” “Native Arkansas,” and “Unusual Portraits: New Works by Michael Warrick and David O’Brien.”