Documentary about Arkansas Arts Center’s 60th Delta Show wins award at Fayetteville Film Fest

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DELTA 60, an Arkansas Arts Center original documentary film, was awarded “Best Arkansas Connection” at the 2019 Fayetteville Film Fest.  

The Fayetteville Film Fest, now in its 11th year, champions independent films and filmmakers and works to build relationships between filmmakers and supporters. DELTA 60, which was directed by Arts Center Digital Media Producer Matthew Rowe and co-produced by Rowe and Director of Marketing and Communications Angel Galloway, was screened at the annual film festival in Fayetteville on October 5.

The hour-long documentary explores the innovative work featured in the 60th Annual Delta Exhibition through the eyes of 10 Arkansas artists. Following the artists as they create work that addresses place, identity, representation and history, DELTA 60 proves the power of art to challenge its viewers – and its makers.

While the Delta Exhibition has been an important Arkansas Arts Center tradition for more than 60 years, DELTA 60 is the first documentary film to explore the exhibition in depth.

Every year, the Annual Delta Exhibition – which was founded in 1958 – offers a snapshot of the art being made in the Mississippi River Delta region at that moment. For 61 years, the Annual Delta Exhibition has offered a conversation about its time and place, with artists often reflecting on the landscape, people and history of the region. With DELTA 60, Arts Center producers looked to offer a fresh perspective on the Delta Exhibition.

“When we began capturing individual artist stories during the 60th anniversary Delta Exhibition last year, we realized that these stories were really part of something bigger,” Galloway said. “While we only introduce you to 10 artists in this film, this exhibition has been shining a light on regional artists across the Delta for 61 years. This film is really a celebration of that history, and all those artists who shared their vision and voice with our community.”

DELTA 60 follows both emerging and established artists as they work, joining them in their studios, homes and on the road as they dive into their craft, motivation and vision. The artists featured in the film provide a unique lens through which to view the Delta Exhibition:

Melissa Cowper-Smith uses handmade paper as an active surface for reflections on what is remembered and what is forgotten.

Neal Harrington’s large-scale woodcuts create a sense of mythology and folklore tied to the Ozark region.

Tammy Harrington explores her Chinese heritage through intricately layered prints and cut paper works.

Robyn Horn’s wood sculptures articulate the tensions inherent in the natural world.

Tim Hursley, a photographer for world-famous architects, finds the beauty in the agricultural structures of rural Arkansas.

Lisa Krannichfeld’s female figures demand their space while rejecting easy interpretation.

James Matthews humanizes the overlooked places with quilts made from the things that are left behind. 

Dusty Mitchell uses found objects to challenge the assumed relationship between an object and its viewer.

Aj Smith seeks to provide a window into the souls of his subjects with intimate portraits.

Marjorie Williams-Smith invites her viewer to take a closer look her metalpoint self-portraits – and at themselves.

“These artists are reacting to their environment and, in doing so, challenging the way we see the things we see all the time. Several of the artists profiled are concerned with nature and land. Others still are trying to understand its people and its culture,” Rowe said. “It is my hope that viewers will be able to watch each artist’s story and gain a better understanding of their own world.”

DELTA 60 was produced by Angel Galloway and Matthew Rowe with original music written by Isaac Alexander. DELTA 60 is sponsored by Anne and Merritt Dyke and the Philip R. Jonsson Foundation. In addition, this project is supported in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information, visit arkansasartscenter.org or call 501-372-4000. To view the DELTA 60 trailer, visit youtu.be/Ka0AzI9pT3E.

18 Cultural Events of 2018 – UA Little Rock unveils restored Joe Jones mural from 1930s

As curator Brad Cushman said at the unveiling of the Joe Jones mural, “There is absolutely no reason this mural should still exist.”  But it does.  And now fully restored Jones’s 1935 mural The Struggle in the South is a centerpiece of the new UA Little Rock Downtown Campus in the heart of the River Market.

First painted in the 1935 to be placed at Commonwealth College in Mena, it spent many years lining two closets in a house after it had been taken down from its original location. When that house was being torn down, someone called Bobby Roberts because they thought it might be something worth saving.

Dr. Roberts drove to west Arkansas, picked it up, and brought it back to Little Rock.  For years it sat in storage at UA Little Rock. While that probably stopped its deterioration, it did nothing to restore it.

In 2009, the St. Louis Art Museum restored one panel of it to include in an exhibition on Jones, a native of the Gateway City.  That prompted Cushman to push even harder to have the rest of it restored.  In 2012, the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council provided a grant which made restoration possible.  Additional funding came from the University and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The 29 pieces of the mural were sent to Helen Houp Fine Art Conservation in Dallas.

The mural consists of three sections that brutally but honestly tell tales of the South in the first third of the 20th Century.  The first section depicts coal miners about to go on strike, the middle section shows a lynching of an African American man, and the third shows an African American family in fear inside a wooden shack – both in the shadow of the lynching and an impending tornado set to destroy the land they are working.

It is a difficult piece. It is intended to be disquieting. But UA Little Rock also sought to put the piece in context. They did not do this to explain away or make excuses. But they did it to relate it to events in Little Rock both during that time period and other times in the City’s history.  It is designed to encourage dialogue, scholarship, and collaborations.

The space in which the mural is displayed was designed by architect Steve Rousseau.  Credit goes to the UA Little Rock Board of Visitors, Chancellor Andrew Rogerson, and many other faculty and staff at the campus for making the UA Little Rock Downtown campus a reality and a showcase for this important mural.

The NEH announces grant to CALS for Dialogues on the Experience of War

2016 NEH New grantsThe National Endowment for the Humanities today announced a total of $21.1 Million in grants.  One of those went to the Central Arkansas Library System.

CALS will receive $99,772 for a project focued on dialogues on the experience of war.  Project Director Alex Vernon will lead “Fiction & Fact: A Dialogue with Veterans.”  It will consist of four discussion programs for Arkansas veterans and others on the themes of battlefield and homefront, World War I, Vietnam, and war and witness.

 

2016 Arkansas Literary Festival dates and lineup announced

ALF 2016_textPrestigious award-winners, screenwriters, comedians, an expert witness, artists, and a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet are among the diverse roster of presenters who will be providing sessions at the thirteenth annual Arkansas Literary Festival, April 14-17, 2016. The Central Arkansas Library System’s Main Library campus and many other Little Rock venues are the sites for a stimulating mix of sessions, panels, special events, performances, workshops, presentations, opportunities to meet authors, book sales, and book signings. Most events are free and open to the public.
     The Arkansas Literary Festival, the premier gathering of readers and writers in Arkansas, will include more than 80 presenters including featured authors from approximately 24 different states and guests hailing from Canada, England, Russia, and Singapore. Each year, several of the attending authors have not visited Little Rock, Arkansas, or even the South.
     Presenters come from a wide range of backgrounds including: journalist, documentary filmmaker, economist, editor, microbiologist, national bank examiner, essayist, photographer, sports reporter, psychological examiner, musician, actress, reporter, and professor. One is co-producing Keanu Reeves’ new television show and writing an adaptation of his own book for Warner Bros. and Bradley Cooper.
     Special events for adults during the Festival include a cocktail reception with the authors, a tour of the Governor’s Mansion gardens with a wine and cheese reception, an escape room, and Readers’ Map of Arkansas launch party. Panels and sessions include genres and topics such as literary fiction, barbecue, Monopoly, female rocket scientists, travel, graphic novels, science fiction, classic literature, and a story told in playing cards.
     Children’s special events include a session by Nikki Grimes, activity hour, concert by the Kinders, and the play How the Camel Got His Hump. based on Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories. Festival sessions for children will take place at both the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center, 4800 10th Street, and the Youth Services Department at the Main Library, 100 Rock Street. Special events for teens include North Little Rock High School Readers Theater, a teen poetry competition, and a panel with three authors of books for young adults.
     Through the Writers In The Schools (WITS) initiative, the Festival will provide presentations by several authors for central Arkansas elementary, middle, and senior high schools and area colleges.
     Author! Author!, a cocktail reception with the authors, will be Friday, April 15, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $40 at the door, and go on sale at ArkansasLiteraryFestival.org beginning Monday, March 15.
     This year’s Festival authors have won an impressive number and variety of distinguished awards and fellowships including: Pulitzer Prize, James Beard Award, PEN/Hemingway Award, Hugo Award, Coretta Scott King Award, Will Eisner Comic Industry Award, National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” Honoree, Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, Dashiell Hammett Prize, Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, Fulbright Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, Houghton Mifflen Literary Fellowship, Arkansas Arts Council Fellowship.
     The work of this year’s Festival authors has been featured in notable publications including: New York Times, Details, McSweeney’s Quarterly, Forbes, the Paris Review, theHuffington Post, Women’s Health, Gourmet Magazine, the New Republic, the Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian, the Daily Telegraph UK, VICE, the New Yorker, Harper’s, the Atlantic, Slate, Time, Popular Science, Salon, the Best American Travel Writing, Outside Magazine, Esquire, USA Today, Reader’s Digest, Best American Essays, Best American Short Stories, Penthouse, the Nation, Best American Poetry, the Washington Post, Town & Country, the Economist, the Christian Science Monitor, National Geographic, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Rolling Stone, GQ, Sports Illustrated, and Vogue
     The Literary Festival is presented by the Central Arkansas Library System. Sponsors include Arkansas Humanities Council, Friends of Central Arkansas Library System (FOCAL), Clinton Presidential Center, Fred K. Darragh Jr. Foundation, KUAR FM 89.1, ProSmartPrinting.com, Rebsamen Fund, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Arkansas Times, Gibbs Elementary School, Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Programs in Literature and Language, MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, Museum of Discovery, Otter Creek Elementary School, UALR Department of English, Windstream, Arkansas Library Association, Christ Episcopal Church, East Harding Construction, Hampton Inn, Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center, Henderson State University, Hendrix College Project Pericles Program, University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, Greater Little Rock Council of Garden Clubs, Capital Hotel, City of Little Rock, Et Alia Press, Consulate General of Israel to the Southwest, Literacy Action of Central Arkansas, Mayor Mark Stodola, Mollie Savage Memorial/CALS, North Little Rock High School, Plum Street Publishers, Inc., Pyramid Art Books & Custom Framing/Hearne Fine Art, Sibling Rivalry Press, Stickyz Rock ‘N’ Roll Chicken Shack, UALR Department of Rhetoric and Writing, and Whole Hog. The Arkansas Literary Festival is supported in part by funds from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
     The Festival’s mission is to encourage the development of a more literate populace. A group of dedicated volunteers assists Festival Coordinator Brad Mooy with planning the Festival. Committee chairs include Kevin Brockmeier, Talent Committee; Susan Santa Cruz, Festival Guides; and Amy Bradley-Hole, Moderators.
     Visit the Festival Facebook and Twitter pages to get the latest news about the Festival. For more information about the 2016 Arkansas Literary Festival, visit ArkansasLiteraryFestival.org, or contact Brad Mooy at bmooy@cals.org or 918-3098. For information on volunteering at the Festival, contact Angela Delaney at adelaney@cals.org or 918-3095.

Final day to see OUR AMERICA exhibit at the Arkansas Arts Center

Today is the final day to enjoy the Arkansas Arts Center exhibition Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art.  This major collection of modern and contemporary Latino art from the Smithsonian American Art Museum has been here since October.

The exhibition Our America includes 93 works in all media by 72 artists who participated in various artistic styles and movements, including abstract expressionism; activist, conceptual and performance art and classic American genres such as landscape, portraiture and scenes of everyday life.

Our America presents the rich and varied contributions of Latino artists in the United States since the mid-20th century, when the concept of a collective Latino identity began to emerge. The exhibition is drawn entirely from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s pioneering collection of Latino art.

 

Our America features bilingual labels for each work and a Spanish-language website created by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Select works also feature podcasts with the artist’s commentary. Museum goers can simply call a number, scan a QR code or visit a website for more background on the artist and background on each piece—in English and Spanish.

Artists featured in the exhibition reflect the rich diversity of Latino communities in the United States. Our Americashowcases artists of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban and Dominican descent, as well as other Latin American groups with deep roots in the United States. By presenting works by artists of different generations and regions, the exhibition reveals recurring themes among artists working across the country.

The 72 artists featured in the exhibition are ADÁL, Manuel Acevedo, Elia Alba, Olga Albizu, Carlos Almaraz, Jesse Amado, Asco (Harry Gamboa Jr., Gronk, Willie Herrón and Patssi Valdez), Luis Cruz Azaceta, Myrna Báez, Guillermo Bejarano, Charles “Chaz” Bojórquez, María Brito, Margarita Cabrera, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Melesio “Mel” Casas, Leonard Castellanos, Oscar R. Castillo, José Cervantes, Enrique Chagoya, Roberto Chavez, Carlos A. Cortéz, Marcos Dimas, Ricardo Favela, Christina Fernandez, Teresita Fernández, iliana emilia garcía, Rupert García, Scherezade García, Carmen Lomas Garza, Ignacio Gomez, Ken Gonzales-Day, Hector González, Luis C. “Louie the Foot” González, Muriel Hasbun, Ester Hernandez, Judithe Hernández, Carmen Herrera, Carlos Irizarry, Luis Jiménez, Miguel Luciano, Emanuel Martinez, María Martínez-Cañas, Antonio Martorell, Ana Mendieta, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Franco Mondini-Ruiz, Delilah Montoya, Malaquias Montoya, Abelardo Morell, Jesús Moroles, Raphael Montañez Ortiz, Pepón Osorio, Amado M. Peña Jr., Chuck Ramirez, Paul Henry Ramirez, Sophie Rivera, Arturo Rodríguez, Freddy Rodríguez, Joseph Rodríguez, Frank Romero, Emilio Sánchez, Juan Sánchez, Jorge Soto Sánchez, Rafael Soriano, Ruben Trejo, Jesse Treviño, John M. Valadez, Alberto Valdés and Xavier Viramontes.

The exhibition is organized by E. Carmen Ramos, curator of Latino art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Generous support for the exhibition has been provided by Altria Group, the Honorable Aida M. Alvarez, Judah Best, The James F. Dicke Family Endowment, Sheila Duignan and Mike Wilkins, Tania and Tom Evans, Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino, The Michael A. and the Honorable Marilyn Logsdon Mennello Endowment, Henry R. Muñoz III, Wells Fargo and Zions Bank. Additional significant support was provided by The Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center. Support for “Treasures to Go,” the museum’s traveling exhibition program, comes from The C.F. Foundation, Atlanta.

Our America is sponsored in Arkansas by Donna and Mack McLarty, The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston, Consulate of Mexico in Little Rock and Alan DuBois Contemporary Craft Fund. Media sponsors include ¡Hola! Arkansas and Telemundo Arkansas.

15 Highlights of 2015 – Arkansas Arts Center exhibits “Our America” and “30 Americans”

Since the 1960s, the Arkansas Arts Center has worked to showcase artists from a variety of backgrounds.  This year, Dr. Todd Herman and his staff brought two outstanding exhibits to Little Rock.

From April to June, the Arkansas Arts Center was home to 30 Americans.

30americans30 Americans showcased works by many of the most important African American artists of the last three decades. This provocative exhibition focused on issues of racial, sexual, and historical identity in contemporary culture while exploring the powerful influence of artistic legacy and community across generations.

“This exhibition presents a sweeping survey of artwork by many of the most influential African-American artists of the last four decades,” said Arkansas Arts Center executive director Todd Herman. “For years, I’ve searched for an exhibition of this kind but couldn’t quite find what I was looking for – an exhibition with powerful interpretations of cultural identity and artistic legacy. When I came across 30 Americans, I knew this was exactly what I wanted patrons and visitors of the Arts Center to experience. These themes are universal in nature and speak to the larger human experience.”

30 Americans features work by such early and influential artists as Barkley L. Hendricks, Robert Colescott and Jean-Michel Basquiat, and those of younger and emerging artists, such as Kehinde Wiley, Wangechi Mutu and Shinique Smith. Often provocative and challenging, 30 Americans explores what it means to be a contemporary artist through an African-American point of view – whether addressing issues of race, gender, sexuality, politics or history.

Drawn from the collection of Mera and Don Rubell, 30 Americans contains 41 works in a variety of media – paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations, digital videos and photographs – by 30 of the leading contemporary African American artists. The Rubells began acquiring contemporary art in the late 1960s, often forging close friendships with living artists, particularly young artists.

On display since October and there until January 17, 2016 is Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art.

A major collection of modern and contemporary Latino art from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the exhibition Our America includes 93 works in all media by 72 artists who participated in various artistic styles and movements, including abstract expressionism; activist, conceptual and performance art and classic American genres such as landscape, portraiture and scenes of everyday life.

Our America presents the rich and varied contributions of Latino artists in the United States since the mid-20th century, when the concept of a collective Latino identity began to emerge. The exhibition is drawn entirely from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s pioneering collection of Latino art.

Artists featured in the exhibition reflect the rich diversity of Latino communities in the United States. Our Americashowcases artists of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban and Dominican descent, as well as other Latin American groups with deep roots in the United States. By presenting works by artists of different generations and regions, the exhibition reveals recurring themes among artists working across the country.

The 72 artists featured in the exhibition are ADÁL, Manuel Acevedo, Elia Alba, Olga Albizu, Carlos Almaraz, Jesse Amado, Asco (Harry Gamboa Jr., Gronk, Willie Herrón and Patssi Valdez), Luis Cruz Azaceta, Myrna Báez, Guillermo Bejarano, Charles “Chaz” Bojórquez, María Brito, Margarita Cabrera, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Melesio “Mel” Casas, Leonard Castellanos, Oscar R. Castillo, José Cervantes, Enrique Chagoya, Roberto Chavez, Carlos A. Cortéz, Marcos Dimas, Ricardo Favela, Christina Fernandez, Teresita Fernández, iliana emilia garcía, Rupert García, Scherezade García, Carmen Lomas Garza, Ignacio Gomez, Ken Gonzales-Day, Hector González, Luis C. “Louie the Foot” González, Muriel Hasbun, Ester Hernandez, Judithe Hernández, Carmen Herrera, Carlos Irizarry, Luis Jiménez, Miguel Luciano, Emanuel Martinez, María Martínez-Cañas, Antonio Martorell, Ana Mendieta, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Franco Mondini-Ruiz, Delilah Montoya, Malaquias Montoya, Abelardo Morell, Jesús Moroles, Raphael Montañez Ortiz, Pepón Osorio, Amado M. Peña Jr., Chuck Ramirez, Paul Henry Ramirez, Sophie Rivera, Arturo Rodríguez, Freddy Rodríguez, Joseph Rodríguez, Frank Romero, Emilio Sánchez, Juan Sánchez, Jorge Soto Sánchez, Rafael Soriano, Ruben Trejo, Jesse Treviño, John M. Valadez, Alberto Valdés and Xavier Viramontes.

The exhibition is organized by E. Carmen Ramos, curator of Latino art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Generous support for the exhibition has been provided by Altria Group, the Honorable Aida M. Alvarez, Judah Best, The James F. Dicke Family Endowment, Sheila Duignan and Mike Wilkins, Tania and Tom Evans, Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino, The Michael A. and the Honorable Marilyn Logsdon Mennello Endowment, Henry R. Muñoz III, Wells Fargo and Zions Bank. Additional significant support was provided by The Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center. Support for “Treasures to Go,” the museum’s traveling exhibition program, comes from The C.F. Foundation, Atlanta.

Dr. Susanah Shaw Romney, UALR History Professor, receives NEH fellowship

Susanah Shaw Romney, assistant professor of history at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, received a $50,400 fellowship award from the National Endowment for the Humanities to conduct research on the Dutch empire.

Dr. Susanah Shaw Romney, UALR

Dr. Susanah Shaw Romney, UALR professor and author, lands National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship.

Romney was awarded the maximum amount under the Fellowships for University Teachers category to pursue her project titled “Personal Interactions and Imperial Geographies in Early Modern Dutch Colonies.”

In addition to Romney, the NEH awarded 294 other projects, for a total of $21.8 million in grants. Only two projects from Arkansas received NEH funding.

“NEH provides support for projects across America that preserve our heritage, promote scholarly discoveries, and make the best of America’s humanities ideas available to all Americans,” said NEH Chairman William D. Adams.

Romney, who plans to write a book based on her research, will conduct a comparative study of the early modern Dutch empire in North and South America, southern Africa, and southeast Asia.

“This fellowship lets me do new research on people and places that I haven’t encountered before. It gives me a chance to read records about Munsee Indians in the Hudson Valley, Khoekhoe people of southern Africa, Dutch traders in Guyana, and South Asian slaves on Java,” said Romney.

“I’ll be able to bring that new perspective to students in my classes at UALR and to the scholarly community through the book that I will write,” she added.                                                  

Romney’s previous book on the Dutch empire, “New Netherland Connections: Intimate Networks and Atlantic Ties in Seventeenth-Century America” garnered several awards, including the 2014 Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Book Prize.

Susanah Shaw Romney is originally from California, and did her undergraduate work in history at UC Santa Cruz. She received her Ph.D. from Cornell University, where she worked with Prof. Mary Beth Norton on women in Colonial America. Her research focuses on gender, race, and the fur trade in the seventeenth-century Dutch colony that later became New York. Her book is the winner of the 2014 Berkshire Conference of Women Historians First Book Prize, 2013 Jamestown Prize (given every two years by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture), and the 2013 Hendricks Prize from the New Netherland Institute. She is now at work on a new project looking at gender, settlement, and land claims in the seventeenth-century Dutch empire in North America, Guyana, South Africa, and Java. Her research has taken her from the Huntington Library in California, to the Stadsarchief in Amsterdam, to the Western Cape Archives in South Africa. She offers classes at UALR on the colonial period, slavery, the frontier, pirates, gender, and other topics.

For more information about recently awarded NEH grants, go to www.neh.gov/news.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanitiessupports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at www.neh.gov.