Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area


An Easter Parade of Bronze Bunnies

Downtown Little Rock has at least three different sculptures of rabbits.  Since today is Easter Sunday and the Easter Bunny is making his rounds, it seems a good day to highlight these sculptures.

In the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden, Laurel Peterson Gregory’s Bunny Bump has been providing whimsy since 2010.

After she sculpts an animal in wax or oil-based clay, traditional lost-wax casting processes immortalize the design in bronze. One aspect of particular interest to me, and one for which I plan early in the sculpting phase, is the complex and rich patinas that constitute another hallmark of my limited-edition sculptures. Multiple layers of chemicals and oxides are applied to the heated bronze to achieve a range of unique effects, both translucent and opaque, that complement each design.

Two stylized rabbits make for an interesting piece of artwork when they are not only dancing, but also doing the butt bump while dancing. The smooth surface and color of the bronze add to the illusion. This small piece has been placed on a pedestal to elevate more to eye level.

A few yards from the bumping bunnies, James Paulsen’s Lopsided presents a much more laconic rabbit.

Paulsen is a self-taught artist. Alternately studying the wilds of the northern forest, and the open beauty of the American Southwest, he concentrates his work on natural subjects he has grown up with, and is heavily influenced by his family’s artistic background, being raised by an artist-illustrator and an author. In his work, he explores merging the beauty he sees in the natural world with the expressiveness of clay and bronze.

While having most of his work in galleries or private collections across the country, he has recently completed two public commissions

And at the corner of President Clinton Avenue and Sherman Street, Tim Cherry’s Rabbit Reach welcomes visitors to the River Market.

The sculpture is located at the corner of Sherman Street and President Clinton Avenue across from the Museum of Discovery.

The sculpture is a gift from Whitlow Wyatt and the Carey Cox Wyatt Charitable Foundation. It was given in memory of George Wyatt and Frank Kumpuris.  Those two gentlemen were the fathers of Whitlow Wyatt and Dean & Drew Kumpuris.

Cherry’s sculpture was selected for this spot because of its proximity to children at the Museum and in the River Market district.  The design and size of the sculpture encourages children to climb on it and to play around the rabbit.  While some public art is situated so it cannot be touched, this one is situated to be touched as part of the appreciation experience.

There will probably be more bunnies on display this weekend when the 10th Sculpture at the River Market Show and Sale takes place on April 22 & 23.  On April 21, there will be a preview party at 6:30pm.

For more information on the show & sale, visit the the show’s website.

 


Women’s History Month – Gretchen Hall

At the 2017 Downtown Little Rock Partnership annual meeting, Gretchen Hall became the first woman to receive solely receive the Top of the Rock Award.

A hardhat and reflective vest were part of Gretchen‘s work wardrobe almost every day for the past 30 months.  As the President and CEO of the Little Rock Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, she actively oversaw the deconstruction and reconstruction of Robinson Center Performance Hall. Taking a New Deal era assembly hall and making it into a state-of-the-art performance facility was not an easy task. Gretchen and her team have worked with the architects, engineers, designers and consultants to make it happen.

Gretchen joined LRCVB in 2001 and worked her way up through the organization.  In May 2011, she was named to her current position.  Since that time, the LRCVB has undertaken numerous efforts to enhance Little Rock including a new amphitheatre in Riverfront Park, enhanced programming at the River Market, and increased financial support of cultural organizations.  She has worked to improve not only the meeting space available for conventions, but also to enhance the dining and lodging scenes in Little Rock.  In addition, she helped lead the effort to see the additional penny of the hotel tax be dedicated to support the Arkansas Arts Center and MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History.


Creative Class 2016: Jamie Davidson

cc16-davidsonWhen one thinks of the creative economy, the focus is generally on non-profit arts and museums.  However, as Jamie Davidson shows, it is also about the design sector.

As the founder and creative director for Little Rock based Strong Suit Clothing, Davidson is changing perceptions about Little Rock.  While Strong Suit certainly dresses many outstanding Arkansans, it reaches far beyond. The line appears in Nordstrom as well as a variety of specialty stores throughout the US.  Several actors at the 2016 Emmy Awards were wearing Strong Suit tuxedos and have worn Strong Suit clothing in national TV appearances.

Davidson got his start in the fashion world when working at longtime Heights clothier Mr. Wicks.  Previous to Strong Suit, he was a founder of Normandy & Monroe and Tre Vero clothing lines.  This latest venture launched in 2013. Building on his experience, Strong Suit Clothing is growing incrementally and strategically with successful results.  In addition to the line’s growth in stores, his experience with e-commerce has allowed the company to have success in that arena.  The hard work is garnering national attention from the media.

Despite the growth of the company, and the fact it could be easier to operate if it were located elsewhere, Davidson is committed to Little Rock.  His grandfather, Julian Davidson, was an architect who helped build Little Rock in the 20th century.  As a clothier, Jamie is helping to dress Little Rock, and dress the world from Little Rock.


Arkansas Heritage Month – Jim Dailey

cna_commissioner_daileyDuring his years of public service, Little Rock Mayor Jim Dailey was a dedicated supporter of the arts. He has been involved in support of the arts prior to and after leaving office, but he was a 2005 Governor’s Arts Awards recipient in recognition of his work while in office.

Mayor Dailey’s understanding of the importance of the arts was essential to the revitalization of downtown Little Rock and the development of the River Market district. Little Rock’s arts district has become home to several art galleries and the 2nd Friday Night Art Walk and provides venues for local and regional musicians.

Other examples of Mayor Dailey’s leadership in the arts include the City of Little Rock’s support of the expansion and renovation of the Arkansas Arts Center and support of the establishment of the Kramer School Artists Cooperative, which provides residential and studio space for artists.  He was also a key player in the location of the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock.

The City of Little Rock doubled the number of art institutions it helps fund under Mayor Dailey’s tenure and has developed an Arts & Culture Commission to continue to integrate the arts into the daily fabric of city life. Mayor Jim Dailey has demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment to the development of the arts community in Little Rock.

While in office, most Tuesday nights he would be a City Hall presiding over a City Board meeting. But many Monday nights he would be found at the Arkansas Arts Center taking a class a the museum school.

Since leaving office, Mayor Dailey has continued to explore art galleries and museums as he travels throughout the United States.  He also served as one of the three co-chairs for the successful campaign to renovate Robinson Center Music Hall. The building is set to reopen in November 2016.


Sculpture at the River Market Show and Sale this weekend

Wayne Salge Photo: Mel Shockner Benito & Amelia 35x16x16” Bronze

Wayne Salge
Photo: Mel Shockner
Benito & Amelia
35x16x16” Bronze

Little Rock residents and visitors alike will have the opportunity to see and purchase works by leading sculptors when the ninth Sculpture at the River Market Invitational Show and Sale takes place from April 22 to 24.

Over 800 sculptures will be on display in the River Market pavilions and in the adjacent area of Riverfront Park on those three days in April. The works featured will include all types of media, style, subject matter, and size.

Sculpture at the River Market will feature the works of over 50 sculptors.

The 2016 sculptors include: Lorri Acott, Lori Arnold, Terry & Maritza Bean, Hunter Brown, Craig Campbell, Kathleen Caricof, Tim Cherry, Leslie Daly, Darrell Davis, Jane DeDecker, John Deering, Clay Enoch, Kimber Fiebiger, Peter Grimord, Guilloume, Denny Haskew, Bob Heintzelman, Mark Hyde, Greg Johnson, James Keller, Kevin Kresse, Mark Leichliter, Harold Linke, Allison Luedtke, and Bryan Winfred Massey, Sr.

Tod Switch Language is Key 24"H x 46"W x 24"D Powder Coated Steel

Tod Switch
Language is Key
24″H x 46″W x 24″D
Powder Coated Steel

Other participating sculptors are: James G. Moore, Nnamdi Okonkwo, Steven Olszewski, Richard Pankratz, Nathan Pierce, Merle Randolph, Dale Roark, Kevin Robb, Timothy Roundy, Emelene Russell, Wayne Salge, Valerie Jean Schafer, Adam Schultz, Stephen Shachtman, Kim Shaklee, Stephanie & Scott Shangraw, Gene Sparling, Lawrence Starck, Charles Strain, Tod Switch, Michael Warrick, C.T. Whitehouse, Longhua XU, and Michelle Zorich & Katherine Martin.

Sculpture at the River Market will be open in the River Market pavilions from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday, April 23, and from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Sunday, April 24.  In addition to the opportunity to view the sculptures and meet with the sculptors, there are a variety of activities planned throughout the two days.

Stephen Shachtman Helix 20x18x3” Glass/Steel

Stephen Shachtman
Helix
20x18x3” Glass/Steel

Docent led tours of the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden will be available at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 23 and Sunday, April 24.  Andina’s Café & Coffee Roastery will be set up at the sculpture show on Sunday beginning at 9:30 a.m.  From 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Sunday, Southern Salt and Southern Gourmasian food trucks will be set up at the River Market.

On Friday, April 22, at 6:30 p.m., a Preview Party will kick off the weekend.  With food provided by Copper Grill, beverages provided by Glazer’s and Stella Artois, frozen treats by Le Pops, and live jazz music, 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 2016 Public Monument Competition.


Sculpture at the River Market launches #LRSculpture Selfie Contest

Sculpture at the River MarketThe Sculpture in the River Market Show and Sale is ushering in a new feature for its ninth year that encourages the public to explore, appreciate, and share public art offerings in Little Rock through social media.

The selfie with a sculpture contest will begin April 11 and continue through April 21. The concept is simple: A person finds their favorite sculpture in Little Rock, takes a photo with it, and tells why it’s a special sculpture while using the hashtag #LRSculpture on either Instagram or Twitter.

“Sculptures are such wonderful art pieces because of their accessibility. Everyone seems to have one that really resonates with them,” Sculpture at the River Market committee member Scott Whiteley Carter said. “We have over 100 sculptures in public places all around the City in addition to hundreds in private homes and businesses, so we’re excited to see what gets selected and shared.”

Photos showing misuse of a sculpture will not be considered.

Winners will be announced April 21. The grand prize includes tickets to the Sculpture Show Preview Party on April 22 at 6:30 p.m. Three additional prizes will be given.

Guests attending the Preview Party will view and vote on the seven semi-finalist proposals for the next public monument sculpture winner to help select the top three finalists. The winner of that competition will be announced Sunday, April 24.

The ninth Sculpture at the River Market Invitational Show and Sale takes place from April 22 – 24, 2016.

Over 800 sculptures will be on display in the River Market pavilions and in the adjacent area of Riverfront Park on those three days in April. The works featured will include all types of media, style, subject matter, and size.

Sculpture at the River Market will be open in the River Market pavilions from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday, April 23, and from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Sunday, April 24.  In addition to the opportunity to view the sculptures and meet with the sculptors, there are a variety of activities planned throughout the two days.

Docent led tours of the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden will be available at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 23 and Sunday, April 24. Andina’s Café & Coffee Roastery will be set up at the sculpture show Sunday beginning at 10 a.m.  From 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Sunday, Southern Salt and Southern Gourmasian food trucks will be set up at the River Market.

More information is available at sculptureattherivermarket.com/


Happy Easter from the Sculpture Rabbits

Downtown Little Rock has at least three different sculptures of rabbits.  Since today is Easter Sunday and the Easter Bunny is making his rounds, it seems a good day to highlight these sculptures.

In the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden, Laurel Peterson Greg’s Bunny Bump has been providing whimsy since 2010.

Bunny Bump

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few yards from the bumping bunnies, James Paulsen’s Lopsided presents a much more laconic rabbit.

Lopsided

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And at the corner of President Clinton Avenue and Sherman Street, Tim Cherry’s Rabbit Reach welcomes visitors to the River Market.  It was placed in memory of George Wyatt and Frank Kumpuris by Whitlow Wyatt and the Carey Cox Wyatt Charitable Foundation.

Rabbit Reach