Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area

Year of the Sculpted Dog

Today marks the Chinese New Year (sometimes called Lunar New Year).  As part of the twelve year cycle, this is the Year of the Dog.

To mark this occasion, here are four sculptures found in Little Rock which feature dogs.  Two are in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden, one is in the Bill Clark Wetlands, and the other is at the Little Rock Animal Village.

Ken Newman’s FOREVER READY was donated in 2009 by the Sculpture at the River Market.   It is sited in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden.  Mr. Newman is a member of the National Sculptors’ Guild.  One of Mr. Newman’s specialties is animals.  Cast in bronze, Forever Ready depicts a Labrador.  Here is Mr. Newman’s artist statement on the piece.

Forever Ready is based off my 30 years experiences with and my love of the Lab. The sculpture was created during the absence of a lab in my life, this was important, because I wanted to reflect on all the past labs, not a present companion. So, ‘Forever Ready’ is that reflection of the breed (hunter, companion and teacher)…Capturing its intense nature with discipline and loyalty, I have set the lab on edge so intense, that if not given the command to go, it will just fall off. But, it is able to maintain balance – wet and ready to go again. The lab’s shadow is cast in the water below, for a I cannot think of a lab without water.

A few yards from Forever Ready, another dog stands inquisitively.  Commissioned in 2010 and unveiled in 2011, Dan Glanz’s BORIS is a likeness of Boris Kumpuris, the dog and companion of Mary and Dr. Dean Kumpuris.

Glanz captures the friendly and inquisitive nature of Boris in this work, which can be found in the Vogel Schwarz sculpture garden. Most weekends Boris can be seen with Dean as the two walk through Riverfront Park and the River Market. Boris explores and inspects the park along with Dean. Each year during the Sculpture at the River Market show, Boris visits with Dean and meets all the sculptors.

The sculpture was donated by longtime Kumpuris family friend Margaret Clark. She and her late husband Bill were two of the earliest supporters of sculpture along the Arkansas River. They donated another piece in honor of their grandchildren. A sculpture in memory of Bill was unveiled last year and stands in the wetlands park which bears his name.


The Bill Clark Wetlands is actually the location of the third dog.  It is Chloe, Bill Clark’s faithful hunting dog.  She and Bill are part of Clay Enoch’s sculpture STEADY.  Dedicated in 2011, it was a tribute to the man who helped build the Clinton Presidential Library.

This tribute to Clark shows Bill and Chloe in an early morning duck hunt scanning the horizon.  It is also positioned so that Bill is also gazing at the Clinton Presidential Center. His firm was the contractor on that building, and he spent thousands of hours walking in the area looking at the building during the construction.

A portion of the ground he trod during construction has been set aside as the Bill Clark Wetlands, and STEADY is placed in the wetlands as a memorial to Bill.


In 2015, the Little Rock Animal Village unveiled Lorri Acott’s WHO RESCUED WHO.  Located at the entrance to the Little Rock Animal Village, it depicts a person and dog looking at each other. They are sharing a bond of respect, admiration and love.

The human figure has Acott’s trademark extended length legs. These represent the ability to overcome obstacles and rise above adversity.  This is even more apt when considering the role that pets can play in our lives, as well as the role humans play in “adopting” rescued pets.

The sculpture is dedicated to the memory of Jack Adcock. It is given by his family, which includes longtime City Director Joan Adcock, their two children, eleven grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.


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.


#LRSculpture contest in conjunction with 10th Sculpture at the River Market

The Sculpture in the River Market Show will celebrate its 10th year in April. As part of that, they are rolling out a plan 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 Saturday and continue through April 18. The concept is simple: A person finds their favorite sculpture in Little Rock, takes a photo with it, posts it using the hashtag #LRSculpture on either Instagram or Twitter. 

A person must be visible posing with the sculpture in the photo. Photos taken prior to April are eligible as long as they feature a person posing with a Little Rock sculpture and use the hashtag #LRSculpture. Only photos meeting those requirements which are posted between April 1 and April 18, 2017 will be eligible.

Photos showing misuse of the sculpture will not be considered.

Winners will be announced April 20. The grand prize includes tickets to the Sculpture Show Preview Party on April 21 at 6:30 p.m. Three additional prizes will be given.

Guests attending the Preview Party will get to 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 23.


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.





Dale Rogers' RETRO TREES

Dale Rogers’ RETRO TREES



Bryan Massey's THE JAZZ PLAYER

Bryan Massey’s THE JAZZ PLAYER



Denny Haskew's FIRST GLANCE

Denny Haskew’s FIRST GLANCE

Kathleen Caricof's LET THE MUSIC PLAY

Kathleen Caricof’s LET THE MUSIC PLAY





Michael Warrick's GROWN

Michael Warrick’s GROWN

Mark Leichliter's MEME

Mark Leichliter’s MEME





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


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Merry Christmas from the Sculpture Vulture

Some of the sculptures in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden have donned their Santa hats to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!







Arkansas Heritage Month – Dr. Dean Kumpuris

Arts Community Development recipient Dean Kumpuris

Arts Community Development recipient Dean Kumpuris

This week as part of Arkansas Heritage Month’s focus on the arts, we will be looking at seven recipients of the Governor’s Arts Awards from Little Rock.

2016 honoree in Arts Community Development, Dr. Dean Kumpuris has spent the last three decades working to improve the cultural and civic life of Little Rock. In particular, he has focused much of his work on the revitalization of downtown, the development of the River Market, and expansion of Riverfront Park.

Through his vision and efforts to place public art downtown, in less than 10 years, nearly 100 sculptures have been installed in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden, as well as in parks along the Arkansas River and throughout Little Rock. He created the annual fundraiser, Sculpture at the River Market Show and Sale, which attracts thousands of visitors to Little Rock each year and features hundreds of sculptures from internationally recognized artists.

He is a gastroenterologist and has served on the Little Rock City Board of Directors since 1995.


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.