Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area


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Little Rock Look Back: 199 Years of the Quapaw Line

Stones placed in Riverfront Park denote where there Quapaw Line started from La Petite Roche

Stones placed in Riverfront Park denote where there Quapaw Line started from La Petite Roche

On August 24, 1818, the Quapaw Line was drawn.  Starting at La Petite Roche and heading due south, this line formed the boundary between the Quapaw tribe lands and public lands available for settlement.  Though by 1824, the Quapaw were forced to give up all of their lands, the line continued serve as an important marker.  In the ensuing six years, the first permanent settlement of Little Rock took place and streets were planned.It is interesting to note that the 1818 treaty referred to La Petite Roche as the Little Rock.  Some have speculated that this is the first official use of “Little Rock” to designate the outcropping.  When the Post Office was established in March 1820, it was given the name Little Rock.

There is a marker commemorating the beginning of the Quapaw Line located at La Petite Roche in Riverfront Park.  The first segment of the line is also noted in the park.  There are also sunken markers place along the line at various points.  In MacArthur Park, at the corner of 9th and Commerce Streets, there is a marker noting that the line passed through at that location.

A good account of walking the Quapaw Line through downtown Little Rock can be found on this website.

Most of what is now called the Quapaw Quarter was located to the west of the Quapaw Line.  However, it did take its name from the fact that the tribe had once lived in that area and was later sequestered to lands near it.  The name for the area was chosen by a committee composed of David D. Terry, Peg Newton Smith, Mrs. Walter Riddick Sr., Dr. John L. Ferguson, and James Hatcher. They had been appointed to a Significant Structures Technical Advisory Committee to advocate for preservation of important structures as a component of the City of Little Rock’s urban renewal efforts.

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Sculpture, Bridge dedicated today in memory of Cindy Miller

This afternoon at 4pm, a ceremony will take place for the dedication of the Cindy Coates Miller Bridge and an accompanying angel sculpture in the Clinton Presidential Park on the river trail immediately east of the pedestrian bridge.

Miller, who was the Arkansas representative of the Roy and Christine Sturgis Charitable and Educational Trust for over 20 years, died in 2013.

During her Sturgis career, she played a significant role in awarding grants totaling over $60 million including Sturgis Fellowships at the University of Arkansas, her alma mater; Arkansas Children’s Hospital; UA-Little Rock; Hendrix College; Our House; Heifer International and many other organizations. At the time of her death, she was working on a proposal for the bridge that is now completed and bears her name thanks to a gift from the Sturgis Trust in her memory.

The bridge makes it possible for people to visit and explore an island in the Arkansas River in its untouched state. This island will offer a unique natural experience in the heart of an urban setting.  Walking trails and a fishing pier are planned on the eastern part of the island.

The sculpture, entitled Angel, was designed by Clay Enoch of Loveland, Colorado and paid for by friends of Miller.  This three-quarter, life-sized bronze of a seated angel measures three feet from the bottom of its carnation wreath to the top of its wings with an arrow pointing upward. It is placed on a column of pink granite making the base and angel together 6 1/2 feet tall.

Miller’s husband, Pat; Little Rock City Director Dean Kumpuris; Rev. Danny Schieffler, Rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church; and Clinton School Dean Skip Rutherford will participate in the brief dedication ceremony.


Little Rock Look Back: LaHarpe and The Rock

On April 9, 1722, French explorer Jean-Baptiste Bénard de La Harpe rounded the bend of the Arkansas River and saw La Petite Roche and Le Rocher Français.  He had entered the mouth of the Arkansas River on February 27 after traveling up the Mississippi River from New Orleans.

Though La Harpe and his expedition are the first Europeans documented to have seen La Petite Roche, the outcropping of rocks was well-known to the Quapaw Indians in the area.  The outcropping jutted out in the Arkansas River and created a natural harbor which provided a perfect place for boats to land.

The rock outcropping is the first one visible along the banks of the Arkansas River.  It marks the place where the Mississippi Delta meets the Ouachita Mountains.  Geologists now believe that the Little Rock is not the same type of rock as the Ouachita Mountains and more closely matches the composition and age of mountains in the western US.

In 1813, William Lewis became the first European settler to live near La Petite Roche but only stayed a few months.  Speculators and trappers continued to visit the area throughout the 1810s. During that time, the outcropping became known informally as the Little Rock.

La Petite Roche had become a well-known crossing when the Arkansas Territory was established in 1819. The permanent settlement of ‘The Rock’ began in the spring of 1820, and the first building has been described as a cabin, or shanty, and was built on the bank of the river near the ‘Rock.’ In March 1820, a Post Office was established at the ‘Rock’ with the name “Little Rock.”

Over the years, La Petite Roche was altered.  In 1872, Congress authorized the building of a railroad bridge. A pier for the bridge was built at the location of the La Petite Roche which caused the removal of several tons of rock.  The bridge was never built.  When the Junction Bridge was built in 1899, even more rock was removed in the process of erecting part of the bridge on top of the rock.  It was not viewed as being disrespectful of the City’s namesake at the time.  Indeed, it was viewed as a testament to the sturdiness of the rock.

In 2010, La Petite Roche plaza opened in Riverfront Park.  It celebrates the history of La Petite Roche and explores its importance to various aspects of Little Rock’s history and geography.


Happy 2017 from the Sculpture Vulture

Several of the sculptures in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden and Riverfront Park have figures which mimic a “1” and a “7.”

To celebrate the start of 2017, here is a look at Seventeen of them.  And stay tuned for the 10th Sculpture at the River Market Show and Sale on April 21-23, 2017!  Who knows, there could be some sculptures in that show that also have the “1” and “7” features.

Jane DeDecker's THE TIES THAT BIND

Jane DeDecker’s THE TIES THAT BIND

Kevin Box's DANCING PONY

Kevin Box’s DANCING PONY

Dale Rogers' RETRO TREES

Dale Rogers’ RETRO TREES

Kevin Kresse's BREAKING THE CYCLE

Kevin Kresse’s BREAKING THE CYCLE

Bryan Massey's THE JAZZ PLAYER

Bryan Massey’s THE JAZZ PLAYER

Casey Horn's TRANQUILITY

Casey Horn’s TRANQUILITY

Denny Haskew's FIRST GLANCE

Denny Haskew’s FIRST GLANCE

Kathleen Caricof's LET THE MUSIC PLAY

Kathleen Caricof’s LET THE MUSIC PLAY

Bryan Massey's UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT

Bryan Massey’s UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT

ROTARY PLAZA

ROTARY PLAZA

Michael Warrick's GROWN

Michael Warrick’s GROWN

Mark Leichliter's MEME

Mark Leichliter’s MEME

2017-talking

Lorri Acott’s TALKING TO MYSELF

Wayne Salge's SIZZLING SISTERS

Wayne Salge’s SIZZLING SISTERS

Laurel Peterson Gregory's BUNNY BUMP

Laurel Peterson Gregory’s BUNNY BUMP

Merle Randolph's SPACE RACE

Merle Randolph’s SPACE RACE

Jane DeDecker & Alyson Kinkade's IN THE WINGS

Jane DeDecker & Alyson Kinkade’s IN THE WINGS


International Jazz Day – Bryan Massey’s JAZZ PLAYER

Massey JazzApril 30 is International Jazz Day.

In commemoration of that, here is Bryan Massey, Sr.’s Jazz Player.  It is located in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden in Riverfront Park.

Massey, who is an artist and art professor at the University of Central Arkansas, created this piece in honor of Bill Clinton and his love of jazz.  It was sculpted in 2009 in honor of the fifth anniversary of the opening of the Clinton Presidential Center.

The sculpture is placed next to another piece of Massey’s called Uptown Saturday Night which depicts a couple dancing to music.  Together they present a celebration of music, dance, and having fun.


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/


Little Rock Look Back: Rock On!, or the day LaHarpe saw La Petite Roche

IMG_4805On April 9, 1722, French explorer Jean-Baptiste Bénard de La Harpe rounded the bend of the Arkansas River and saw La Petite Roche and Le Rocher Français.  He had entered the mouth of the Arkansas River on February 27 after traveling up the Mississippi River from New Orleans.

Though La Harpe and his expedition are the first Europeans documented to have seen La Petite Roche, the outcropping of rocks was well-known to the Quapaw Indians in the area.  The outcropping jutted out in the Arkansas River and created a natural harbor which provided a perfect place for boats to land.

The rock outcropping is the first one visible along the banks of the Arkansas River.  It marks the place where the Mississippi Delta meets the Ouachita Mountains.  Geologists now believe that the Little Rock is not the same type of rock as the Ouachita Mountains and more closely matches the composition and age of mountains in the western US.

In 1813, William Lewis became the first European settler to live near La Petite Roche but only stayed a few months.  Speculators and trappers continued to visit the area throughout the 1810s. During that time, the outcropping became known informally as the Little Rock.

La Petite Roche had become a well-known crossing when the Arkansas Territory was established in 1819. The permanent settlement of ‘The Rock’ began in the spring of 1820, and the first building has been described as a cabin, or shanty, and was built on the bank of the river near the ‘Rock.’ In March 1820, a Post Office was established at the ‘Rock’ with the name “Little Rock.”

Over the years, La Petite Roche was altered.  In 1872, Congress authorized the building of a railroad bridge. A pier for the bridge was built at the location of the La Petite Roche which caused the removal of several tons of rock.  The bridge was never built.  When the Junction Bridge was built in 1899, even more rock was removed in the process of erecting part of the bridge on top of the rock.  It was not viewed as being disrespectful of the City’s namesake at the time.  Indeed, it was viewed as a testament to the sturdiness of the rock.

In 2010, La Petite Roche plaza opened in Riverfront Park.  It celebrates the history of La Petite Roche and explores its importance to various aspects of Little Rock’s history and geography.