Arkansas Arts

Tales From The South

North Little Rock-based Bourbon & Boots, the online retailer featuring Southern artisan merchandise, has entered into an agreement to purchase Tales From The South, a radio show and media company featuring Southern storytelling. Terms of the private transaction were not disclosed.

blog.arkansas.com

Part 1:

The Arkansas Chamber Singers has given its Christmas Concerts recently in the Old State House Museum, a setting not only artistically, but more importantly, acoustically satisfying, so satisfying that it bids fair to becoming a tradition. John Erwin, director of Choral Studies at UCA in Conway, is the artistic director and conductor of the Chamber Singers, and gives details of the program as well as the theme for the 2015-16 season.

Part 2:

A two-percent increase in Little Rock's hotel tax will fund improvements to McArthur Park and two of the city's cultural centers housed in the park, provided voters approve designating the revenue from the tax increase accordingly.

The Little Rock Board of Directors Tuesday night (Dec. 1) approved two separate one-penny hotel tax increases and a Feb. 9, 2016 special election related to the increase.

Sundays With TJ

Nov 20, 2015

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we talk with Janis F. Kearney about her memoir Sundays With TJ: 100 Years of Memories on Varner Road--a journey with her 107 year old father, born in 1906, just 40 years after slavery in the town of Lake Village, Arkansas.  

“I chose this role some 50 years ago on Varner Road. Thomas "TJ" Kearney was the storyteller and I, the rememberer of his words, even his unspoken meanings,” writes Kearney.

Commission OKs Two-Cent Hotel Tax For Arts Center, Moves To Little Rock Board

Nov 18, 2015
Arkansas Arts Center
www.littlerock.com

The Little Rock Advertising and Promotions Commission voted Tuesday to increase the hotel tax in Little Rock by two cents to raise $37.5 million dollars to fund a renovation and expansion of the Arkansas Arts Center and MacArthur Park facilities.

The measure must now go before the city board. If the board approves the tax increase, it will take a vote by Little Rock residents to issue bonds.

Arkansas Arts Center

Little Rock city leaders will hear details Tuesday night of a proposed $60 million improvement plan for the Arkansas Arts Center. The facility, which recently committed to remaining in Little Rock after speculation about a move to North Little Rock, is exploring options for making expansions and improvements.

Mayor Mark Stodola supports the plan being presented to the city’s Advertising and Promotions Commission because he says the Arts Center could lose accreditation without renovations to its theater and the rest of the facilities.

Robinson Center Music Hall
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

While the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra prepares to hold its annual Opus Ball this weekend at the Capital Hotel in Little Rock, plans were announced Thursday for next year’s fundraiser. It will be the inaugural event for a new ballroom that’s part of a nearly $70 million renovation of Robinson Center Music Hall.

Chip and Cindy Murphy were named as chairs of the 2016 Opus Ball. Standing where the ballroom is being constructed on top of the original building, Cindy Murphy said it will be a monumental event.

Arkansas Arts Council / Arkansas Arts Council

Nominations for the 2016 Arkansas Arts Council’s “Living Treasure” award close this Friday. Each year the Arts Council bestows the Living Treasure award on an Arkansas artist “who excels in the creation of a traditional craft and who actively preserves and advances his or her craft”.

“It began in 2002 with Bea Stebbing who was a stained glass artist,” said Robin McClea of the Arts Council. “And it’s included quilters, and fiddlemakers, basketmakers, and a maker of traditional wooden planes, bladesmiths, woodworkers, potters, and last year Lorrie Popow was the recipient.”

Arkansas Poet Takes 'Paths Of Promise' To White House

Oct 19, 2015
David Xiang at KUAR talking about his poem "Duet."
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

An Arkansas high school student recently earned a poetry accolade from the White House. David Xiang of Little Rock Central High School is one of five teens nationwide selected earlier this month to the 2015 class of National Student Poets. KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman talks poetry with Xiang.

Duet

They sit, arranged honeycomb style,

six to a side, every day at five sharp, on humid firefly-flecked Fridays.

The silence is palatable, the voices mute enough to discern

A Few Seconds Of Radiant Filmstrip

Oct 1, 2015

On this episode of Arts & Letters, we talk with Little Rock novelist, short story writer, prodigious list maker, and former 7th grader Kevin Brockmeier. He is the author of several national bestselling books of fiction including, A Brief History of the Dead, The View from the Seventh Layer, and The Illumination

His latest effort recounts a character named Kevin Brockmeier and his present tense misadventures throughout his 7th grade year growing up in Little Rock. 

The Fab Four from Liverpool – who made a trip through Northeast Arkansas more than 50 years ago – were big fans of the music from the region, an author of a new book about The Beatles said Thursday.

Ivor Davis, who wrote the book, “The Beatles and Me on Tour,” will visit Walnut Ridge Friday and Saturday as part of the Beatles at the Ridge Festival.

Organizers for the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, scheduled for October 9-18, announced high profile guests who will be participating.

From a festival press release:

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art recently acquired Maya Angelou’s Quilt of Life, 1989, (acrylic on canvas and painted, dyed and pieced fabrics) by Faith Ringgold, from the art collection of the late author and activist, Maya Angelou. The work hung in Angelou’s home and was commissioned by Oprah Winfrey for Angelou’s 61st birthday.

According to the museum, Ringgold is well-known for her painted story quilts, “which unite a tradition of representational painting with the rich history of quilting in the African-American community.”

Officials with the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announced Wednesday that it has welcomed more than two million visitors since opening on November 11, 2011.

Robinson Center Music Hall Phantom of the opera auditorium
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

When a nearly $70 million renovation of Little Rock’s historic Robinson Center Music Hall is complete late next year, the venue will be able to host any touring Broadway production. And officials announced Monday that for the first time, Andrew Lloyd Webber's renowned Phantom of the Opera will be coming to town in March 2017. 

It's one of the shows that in the past couldn't be staged at Robinson because of its layout and loading limitations. But the extensive renovations underway right now will change that.

David Monteith / KUAR

Revitalizing the downtown Main Street area by making it a hub for arts organizations is a project first conceived by Mayor Mark Stodola in 2007. Eight years in the making, he looks forward to announcing the completion of the first phase.

Arkansas Entertainers Hall Of Fame Honors ‘True Blood’ Author

Sep 8, 2015
Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame
Arkansas.com

Tickets are on sale now for the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. The Class of 2015 will be honored September 29 at Noah’s Event Center in Little Rock. The Hall honors individuals with Arkansas connections who have made significant contributions to the entertainment arts. The exhibits commemorating the members are permanently housed on display in the Pine Bluff Convention Center.

This year’s inductees include:

Frank Lloyd Wright House
Jacqueline Froelich / KUAF News

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art says a home designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright that was moved to northwest Arkansas from New Jersey will open to the public in November.

The Bentonville-based museum says the Bachman-Wilson house will open Nov. 11. The museum acquired the home in 2013 and the entire structure was taken apart and brought to northwest Arkansas. The home was then reassembled on the grounds of Crystal Bridges.

More International Recognition For Little Rock’s Creative Corridor

Jul 22, 2015
Main Street Little Rock creative corridor
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The architecture plan to transform Main Street Little Rock into the Creative Corridor has been recognized again.

The University of Arkansas Community Design Center and Marlon Blackwell Architect’s plan, “The Creative Corridor: A Main Street Revitalization for Little Rock,” won Honorable Mention in Urban Design (Concept) of the International Awards 2015 sponsored by Architecture Podium.

The 48 Hour Film Project

This weekend Arkansas filmmakers will once again step into the international spotlight as part of the annual 48-hour Film Project. Area film professionals and hobbyists will compete against teams as far away as Amsterdam and Shanghai to create the best short movie. Teams have 48 hours to write, film, edit, and score their entries. Those that meet the deadline are screened and judged locally and the Best Picture from each city continues on to be judged against other cities.

Robinson Auditorium
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

On the one year anniversary of Little Rock’s historic Robinson Auditorium closing to begin a nearly $70 million renovation, a topping out ceremony was held Wednesday. The final steel beam that will be put in place on the expanded structure was signed by local officials, members of the design and construction teams and other guests. Work is scheduled to be completed by November 2016.

Robinson Auditorium Center Music Hall
City of Little Rock

As workers begin to rebuild the interior of Little Rock's Robinson Auditorium, a key goal of the nearly $70 million renovation is to greatly improve its acoustics.

There had long been complaints about how live music sounded in the venue, which is the home of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. There were "dead spots" in the hall where the audience couldn’t properly hear the orchestra or all the instruments. That’s why the facility has been gutted and is being rebuilt inside the existing structure as part of the voter-approved project, funded with a two percent tourism tax.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Work is nearing the halfway point on a nearly $70 million project to renovate Little Rock’s historic Robinson Auditorium.

Nearly everything has now been ripped out, including the stage, balcony, interior walls and floors, leaving little more than the outside shell of the building and its support beams.

UALR Announces $20.3 Million Grant For Arts Building

May 11, 2015

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock will build a 71,636-square-foot visual arts and applied design building thanks to a $20.6 million donation Monday from the Siloam Springs-based Windgate Charitable Foundation, the university announced today.

The grant for construction and equipment is the second largest in the university’s history. The university’s chancellor, Dr. Joel Anderson, said the gift is “transformational” for both the UALR Department of Art and the institution.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

It took workers using two excavators a little less than an hour to bring down the old Cinema 150 movie theater in Little Rock. The dome-shaped building at the corner of University and Asher Avenues ran many of the top films of its day.

Built in the late 1960s with a screen that curved at a 150 degree angle, it gave movies a big impact.  The theater was closed in 2003, considered functionally obsolete for having just one screen in an era of multiplexes. But it still had a very special place in the hearts of many who saw films there.

Esse Purse Museum
David Monteith / KUAR News

It’s the only one of its kind in the United States and one of only three in the world. Located on Main Street in Little Rock is the ESSE Purse Museum. Laura Hardy, public relations director, says when people learn about it, “The reaction is usually like, ‘What the heck is a purse museum’ or, ‘Oh my gosh that is so cool.” 

Three coins commemorating the 225th anniversary of the U.S. Marshals Service will go on sale next month.

The Marshals Service says the coins, including a gold $5 coin, a silver dollar coin and a copper-nickel clad half dollar coin, will be available for purchase in limited quantities beginning Jan. 29. The designs for the coins were unveiled in July.

Frank Lloyd Wright House Being Reassembled In NW Arkansas After Move

Dec 23, 2014
Frank Lloyd Wright House
Jacqueline Froelich / KUAF News

Almost a year ago, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville announced it had acquired a house designed by noted American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The building, which was carefully deconstructed at its original site in New Jersey and shipped to Arkansas, is being reassembled on the museum’s grounds.

The president of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville is resigning, although he will remain as a member of the museum's board of directors.

The museum announced Monday that Don Bacigalupi will step down as president on Jan. 14 to accept an appointment as the Founding President for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art that is to be built in Chicago.

Bacigalupi was named executive director of Crystal Bridges in 2009 and helped in the planning, collection development and opening of the museum. He became president in 2013.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has announced six temporary exhibitions that will go on display next year at the facility in Bentonville.

The first exhibit is "Van Gogh to Rothko" and will feature 75 artworks from the collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. Along with work by Vincent Van Gogh and Mark Rothko, the exhibition will also feature pieces by Paul Gauguin, Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, among others.

The exhibition opens Feb. 21 and runs through June 1.

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