Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area


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Central to Creativity – Rex DeLoney

Rex DeLoney’s colorful, vibrant artwork conveys the messages of hope, faith, and the everyday joys and struggles of life. His work is reflective of his life, past and present, a life that has been enriched with the love and desire to create art that tells a story and evokes memories for anyone that views his work.

After graduating from Northeast High School in 1983, DeLoney attended the University of Central Arkansas, where he received a B.A. degree in Commercial Art in 1988. It was during his time at UCA, that Deloney set forth a plan to enter into the sports illustration field as a free-lance illustrator.

In 1989 DeLoney moved to the Pacific Northwest and Yakima, Washington, to pursue a career as a free-lance sports illustrator. The move yielded many opportunities for the young artist to display his skills in various venues. As DeLoney evolved as an artist, he began to do more genre work centered on the African American way of life. DeLoney progressed from creating exciting sports imagery and portraiture to the current genre works created from spiritual themes and meaningful, thought-provoking expressions of humanity as it relates the African American’s experience.

Today, Rex DeLoney is an art instructor and Chairman of the Fine Arts Department at Little Rock Central High School, guiding a new generation of creative minds as they seek to tell their own stories through imagery.

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Central to Creativity – Dee Brown

Dee BrownDorris Alexander (Dee) Brown was born in 1908 in Louisiana.  After spending time in Stephens, Arkansas, his family relocated to Little Rock.

He lived more than half his life in Arkansas and, beginning as a teenager, wrote continuously for publication.  An admiration for a Native American baseball player in Arkansas helped influence Brown’s attitude toward Native Americans.  After graduating from high school in 1927, Brown got a job as a printer for the Harrison Daily Times in Boone County.

In 1928, Brown went to Arkansas State Teachers College (ASTC), now the University of Central Arkansas, graduating in 1931 with a Bachelor of Arts and Education degree with a major in history. Brown met his future wife, Sally Stroud of when they were both students there.

In the 1930s, Brown worked in Washington DC for the U.S. Department of Agriculture library. While there, he earned a Bachelor of Library Science degree in 1935 from George Washington University. During World War II, he served in the Army.

His first book was 1942’s Wave High the Banner, which was based on stories Brown had heard his grandmother tell.  In the 1950s, Brown received his Master of Library Science degree at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.  He worked there as a librarian until 1972 and wrote several books during that time.

 

 

In the late 1960s, Brown began writing his groundbreaking book, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.  After his return to Little Rock, Brown spent 27 years as a writer.  Brown died on December 12, 2002, at the age of ninety-four at his home in Little Rock. A branch library in


Black History Month – Kristin Lewis & Christin-Marie Hill with Arkansas Symphony at Robinson Center

aso-mahler-soloTonight at Robinson Center, soprano Kristin Lewis and mezz-soprano Christin-Marie Hill will be soloists as the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra presents Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony.  The concert will be repeated tomorrow.  Under the baton of Music Director Philip Mann, these two ladies and the ASO will be joined by combined choirs from UA Little Rock, UCA, Lyon College, Hendrix College and the Arkansas Chamber Singers.  Yesterday the two soloists hosted a Brown Bag Lunch at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center as a way for the community to meet them.

Kristin Lewis is a native of Little Rock.  A lyrico-spinto soprano lauded for her interpretations of Verdi heroines, she began her vocal studies at the University of Central Arkansas under the guidance of Dr. Martha Antolik. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree, she continued with her Master of Music studies at the University of Tennessee with Ms. Kay Paschal and Mr. Andrew Wentzel. Her postgraduate instruction was led by Dr. Jonathan Retzlaff. She currently lives in Vienna, Austria, and is a student of Carol Byers.

A recipient of many honors, Ms. Lewis was recently awarded the 2015 College of Arts and Sciences Divisional Achievement Award for the Visual and Performing Arts from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She was awarded the Orazio Tosi Prize 2012, given by the Club Lirica Parma, at the birthplace of Giuseppe Verdi. Ms. Lewis was named the 2010 recipient of the Artist of the Year Award by the Savonlinna Opera Festival. In addition, she was voted a 2010 recipient of the coveted “Oscars of the Opera” by the Foundation of Verona for the Arena. She is a two-time National Finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Competition. She has also been a finalist of the “XLVI Concours International de Chant de la Ville de Toulouse”, a winner of the “Internationalen Gesangswettbewerb Ferruccio Tagliavini” and a winner of the “Concorso Internazionale Di Musica Gian Battista Viotti”. Ms. Lewis also won the Opera Prize and the Audience Award in the “Concorso Internationale di Canto Debutto A Meran.  In 2015, she made her Carnegie Hall debut as a soloist with Mahler’s Second Symphony.

Christin-Marie Hill previously sang with the ASO in Verdi’s Messa de Requieum and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.  Career highlights  include singing with the Minnesota Opera, Oper Frankfurt, Carnegie Hall, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Kansas Opera Theater, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Tanglewood Festival, and as a soloist with the Mark Morris Dance Company.  An avid concert and oratorio soloist, Ms. Hill’s extensive list of concert credits include appearances with the Memphis Symphony, Richmond Symphony, Utah Festival Opera Orchestra, and Atlanta Symphony.

A native of Evanston, Illinois, her distinctions include a fellowship in voice from the University of Illinois as well as career grants from the San Francisco Opera, the Rislov Foundation, the Kaplan Foundation, and the 2005 Elardo International Opera Competition. Ms. Hill holds bachelor’s degrees in French literature and sociology, and a master’s degree in vocal performance from the University of Illinois.


Turkey Day Football in LR – Beating a Variety of Opponents from 1914 to 1933

Turkey Day 1921From the first Thanksgiving football game for Little Rock High School in 1914 until 1933, the Tigers played a variety of opponents.  They faced off against other Arkansas high schools, out of state high schools, a college and a team of soldiers.  Their record in these twenty games was 18 wins and 2 losses.  While the opponent may have varied, each year the Tiger eleven lined up against their foes at home in Little Rock. The team had enough of a reputation that they could invite opponents and never had to travel.

Playing games on Thanksgiving had become a tradition by the time Little Rock joined in the fray in 1914. Their first Thanksgiving Day opponent was Texarkana High School.  The Tigers won by a score of 20 to 0. The crowd of 1,500 at West End Park (now the site of Quigley Stadium) not only witnessed the high school game, but also saw Arkansas College (now Lyon College) defeat Little Rock College (no association with UALR) by a score of 40 to 0.  With their win, Little Rock captured the state championship – their fourth since 1907.

By the next Thanksgiving Day, the field at West End Park was known as Kavanaugh Field. It would have that name until it was replaced by Quigley Stadium in 1936.  From 1915 until 1933, Little Rock would defeat three Arkansas high schools Van Buren, Benton and Hot Springs as well as high schools from Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Kansas, Illinois and Missouri.  Three of their out of state opponents returned for a second time, so even though these schools were generally overwhelmed by Little Rock High, it was obviously viewed as a positive experience.  Playing out of state teams garnered other benefits. In 1920, they played Tupelo Military Institute, which held the Mississippi-Alabama championship. By defeating them, Little Rock High School claimed the state championship of four states: Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi.

In 1917, they beat the college team of Arkansas State Normal School (now UCA) by a score of 45 to 0. (The Tigers so overpowered State Normal that the Gazette mused that the extremely muddy field was all that kept LR from scoring more than 45 points.)

The Tigers’ only two defeats came in 1918 and 1924.  The first Thanksgiving Day defeat came in 1918 when Little Rock played a team of soldiers from Camp Pike. The soldiers were an average of 20 pounds heavier than the Tigers. They used that weight to their advantage to defeat the high schoolers by a score of 42 to 0.  This was at the height of the US involvement in The Great War. So this game was certainly part of Little Rock’s war effort as the City worked to extend hospitality to soldiers. The Tigers’ 1924 defeat was at the hands of Atlanta Tech High School by a score of 35 to 7.

While the Thanksgiving games were serious business for the Tigers and their fans, they also provided for moments of entertainment.  In 1923, the Gazette reported that the Tigers had hosted a dance at the Capital Hotel for the visiting Ensley High football team from Birmingham, Alabama.  One wonders if there were a motive to their hospitality considering that the next day the Tigers won by a score of 20-7. Perhaps distracting the opposing players the night before the game was all part of Coach Earl Quigley’s strategy.  On Thanksgiving 1929, Little Rock hosted previously undefeated Soldan High from Saint Louis. At halftime of the game (which would end with LR scoring 26 to their opponent’s 6), there was a performance by the Little Rock High School band as well as a group of girls called Quigley’s Quackers.

Based on their reputation as a powerhouse, Little Rock would continue to play teams from other states. But after 1933, Little Rock would play a close rival: first North Little Rock (1934-1957) and then Hall High (1958-1982).  During the two decades of playing various teams, the Little Rock Tigers achieved ten shutouts and suffered one shut out.  The Tigers scored 492 points and gave up 133 points.

1914 Little Rock 20 Texarkana 12
1915 Little Rock 40 Muskogee Central High 0
1916 Little Rock 46 Van Buren 0
1917 Little Rock 45 Arkansas State Normal 0
1918 Little Rock 0 Camp Pike 42
1919 Little Rock 52 Benton 0
1920 Little Rock 6 Tupelo Military Institute 3
1921 Little Rock 21 New Orleans Warren Easton High 3
1922 Little Rock 7 Bryan (TX) High 0
1923 Little Rock 20 Birmingham Ensley High 7
1924 Little Rock 7 Atlanta Technical High 35
1925 Little Rock 6 New Orleans Warren Easton High 0
1926 Little Rock 18 Birmingham Ensley High 6
1927 Little Rock 37 Wichita Central High 0
1928 Little Rock 18 Chicago Lindblom High 0
1929 Little Rock 26 Saint Louis Soldan High 6
1930 Little Rock 33 Chicago Lindblom High 13
1931 Little Rock 31 Dallas Woodrow Wilson High 0
1932 Little Rock 6 Saint Louis Cleveland High 0
1933 Little Rock 13 Hot Springs 6
  • Muskogee Central High has been known as Muskogee High since the 1970 integration of the formerly all-white school with an African American high school.
  • Tupelo Military Institute existed from 1913 to 1937.
  • Warren Easton High is Louisiana’s oldest high school. After Hurricane Katrina it is now a charter high school.
  • Bryan High School was replaced by Stephen F. Austin High School, which was replaced by a new Bryan High School.
  • Ensley High in Birmingham closed in 2006.
  • Atlanta Technical High closed in 1947. A charter school with the same name operated from 2004 to 2012.
  • Wichita Central High has been known as Wichita East High since 1929. It is the largest high school in Kansas.
  • Chicago Lindblom High now educates under the name Lindblom Math and Science Academy.
  • Saint Louis Soldan High now educates as Soldan International Studies High School
  • Woodrow Wilson High School continues to operate in the Lakewood neighborhood of East Dallas.
  • Saint Louis Cleveland High now educates as Cleveland Junior Naval Academy and is no longer in the longtime Grover Cleveland High School building.


Creative Class 2016: Phillip Rex Huddleston

cc16-huddlestonRenaissance Man is probably the best way to describe Phillip Rex Huddleston.  He is a writer, a musician, a composer, an artist, a teacher, an arts promoter, and so many other things.

By day, he is the Visual Art Specialist for eStem Middle School.  There, he teaches his students a variety of styles of art.  His own visual art style varies from realistic sketches, to caricatures, to comic strips and witty distillations of epic literature into a few frames.

As a guitarist and pianist he can often be found performing with his many talented friends throughout Little Rock’s live music scene in formal settings and on front porches.  As a composer, he has contributed compositions and performances to a variety of films made in Arkansas. His most recent effort was in Mark Thiedeman’s White Nights, which premiered in August.

A graduate of the University of Central Arkansas with a BA in Philosophy and an MA in English Literature, he was an Adjunct Instructor at UCA in the English Department before beginning his stint at eStem.  While at UCA, he also worked with the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre.

For several years, he and friends and roommates would host regular Garland House Shows, named for the street on which their house was located. These combined visual art exhibits with live music in celebrations of the art they created and the friends who created and appreciated it.


Creative Class 2016: Hunter Brown

cc16-brownHunter Brown was born and raised in Little Rock. His mother was always painting and his father was always working with his hands building and creating. While he did not originally envision himself as an artist, he discovered sculpture as a student of the University of Central Arkansas. After graduating Hunter gradually built a design and sculpture studio, where he would continue to explore with sculptural forms. Today Hunter is the owner and operator of Innovative Sculpture Design Studio where he creates fine art full time, traveling throughout the country to fine art shows and festivals.

His work moves between the figurative and the abstract, modern and contemporary styles. While many sculptors fabricate their forms with flawless craftsmanship and machine-like precision, he chooses to exploit the natural characteristics of materials and the fabrication process. By experimenting with finishes, grind patterns, tool markings, welding techniques, and even slag from the torch, Hunter has developed a style that captures his process and leaves his imprint in the work.

Having installations throughout the U.S., Hunter was one of the artists in the 2016 Sculpture at the River Market show.  Year round his work can be found at the Matt McLeod Gallery.


Creative Class 2016: Chad Bradford

cc16-bradfordActor and director Chad Bradford started appearing on Little Rock stages while he was still a student at Hall High School.  Since then, he has appeared Off Broadway, in national tours, and in numerous regional theatres throughout the U.S.  While often appearing in Shakespeare or other classical plays, he is equally at home in farce, musicals, and drawing room comedies.  In 2015, he played the title character in the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre production of Puss in Boots. In other words, he is a versatile actor.

Earlier this year, he directed Twelfth Night for Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre (while also appearing in their productions of West Side Story and A Midsummer Night’s Dream).  Twelfth Night was later remounted at Shake on the Lake Shakespeare in New York and returned to Conway for another appearance.  (This is not his first show to originate in Little Rock and be performed throughout the US. In 2013, he helmed David Sedaris’ The Santaland Diaries here before it played elsewhere.)  In 2015, National Arts Strategies named him a Creative Community Fellows recipient.

He is currently in rehearsals directing David Ives’s The Liar on the UCA Mainstage.  It plays October 20-22, and 27 & 28.