If you have something you want to say to the Arkansas Arts Council, now's your chance. The Arts Council is holding four public hearings across Arkansas to get input from artists and others on programming, arts and the economy and the future of arts in Arkansas. The first public meeting is at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 13, at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. That will be followed by meetings at TRAHC in Texarkana (July 15), the Delta Cultural Center in Helena (July 27) and the Compton Gardens and Conference Center in Bentonville (one that will no doubt talk about the impact that Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will have on that 'burb).
UPDATE: You can take the Arts Council's online survey on what sorts of programs you've gone to, what keeps you from going, what you'd like to see, etc., here.
The economy picture is something the Arts Council has been putting together for several years, with the support of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. Four reports have been put out that take note of arts organizations in Arkansas, their intersection with other disciplines and other feel-good info, studies that will bring about ... what? We'll see.
You can find out more about the "Arkansas Creative Economy Project" on the Arts Council's website.
If you run a non-profit arts agency and want to get some ideas about how to stay afloat — or just talk to other arts agency people — head to the Clinton Center a week from today, on July 8, for an hour and a half symposium with the president of the Kennedy Center.
Michael M. Kaiser, who created the Kennedy Center Arts Management Institute, is on a 50-state tour, "Arts in Crisis: A Kennedy Center Initiave," to assist non-profits in budgeting, marketing and other organizational needs. Arkansas Rep artistic director Bob Hupp will moderate.
The free symposium is from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; register online or call 501-748-0425.
Patter Helmstrom, whose work appears here, is the judge for the 2011 "Small Works on Paper" competition sponsored by the Arkansas Arts Council. The Arts Council is accepting entries for the year-long traveling show until July 23; more information here.
Does a judge select work that resembles his or her own? While some artists may favor work that falls in their particular genre — abstract as opposed to floral watercolors, for example — they might not like work in a manner similar to theirs, that could compete with their work.
Some folks entering won't give a fig. Some may have opinions on why judges choose what they do (perhaps art from here looks fresh to a judge from there?), and it would be interesting to hear from the experts — people who've competed. Comments?
French/American artist Darlyne Chauve will show her work at Heights gallery Boswell-Mourot, Kyle Boswell tells us; he's hanging work by her and 24 other artists, both local and national, for a show that starts July 1. I'll post more about the show when I get more info. Chauve's work is large — the one shown here is 72 by 72 inches — and in mixed media.
E-mail your art news to me at email@example.com.
Go cast your vote for what you think is the best painting in the “19th annual Mid-Southern Watercolorists Open Membership Exhibit” that opens with a reception Sunday from 2-4 p.m. at Cantrell Gallery, 8206 Cantrell Road. The winner will get the People's Choice Award and a gift certificate to the gallery. The gallery said its had 50 to 70 members participate in the exhibit in the past. The show runs through the month.
The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa, opens a $40 million expansion tomorrow. It's major exhibit: An empty tank of water originally intended to exhibit the aquatic life of the Gulf of Mexico.
The decision, to present a devastating image of emptiness rather than the planned exhibit on the gulf's riches, was a gutsy one. From a statement on the museum's website:
The Gulf Coast oil spill is the worst environmental disaster of its kind in our nation’s history. The Museum & Aquarium believes that the most appropriate course is to open a Gulf exhibit recognizing the crisis that is happening on the Gulf Coast. The Museum & Aquarium and its national partners believe this should cause everyone to pause and consider the delicate balance of life in our oceans. The Gulf is just as important as the life it holds, and the Museum & Aquarium is choosing to offer its visitors the opportunity to learn and reflect upon this significant and tragic event. A dramatic depiction of the effects of the oil spill will be presented in the aquarium gallery next to the lifeless aquariums. Educational materials, hands-on activities, multi-media exhibits and information about how to get involved will be presented.
With the exhibit opening approaching and the Gulf now in crisis, the Museum & Aquarium faced a dilemma. The board and staff have decided that opening a Gulf of Mexico exhibit at this time requires a compassionate and factual representation of the Gulf crisis.
The intent of the Gulf of Mexico exhibit is to draw a connection between the Mississippi River and the ocean and to bring to light the devastating effects of the oil spill. The exhibit, without fish, now has the opportunity to make a bold statement related to the oil spill in the Gulf Coast by asking Museum & Aquarium visitors to imagine a lifeless Gulf.
Shannon Rogers, who just finished his first year of graduate art school in New York, is showing more than 50 drawings and paintings at The Arts Scene, now located at 806 W. Markham, from 4-8 p.m. Sunday, June 27. A news release says the work examines the "inherent abstract structure of all painting." Rogers has been studying under British colorist painter Graham Nickson, who is dean of the New York Studio School.
"Libations provided," says the press release.
Nashville photographer Thomas Petillo, who's made a name with his portraits of musicians, is showing his work at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Hot Springs. The show, "Just a Way Out," runs through Aug. 1 and is companion show to an exhibit of work by Ansel Adams. Admission to MOCA (open Thursday through Sunday) is $5.
Max posted on his Arkansas Blog yesterday my report on the Arkansas Arts Center's 2011 budget that will require its board and development team to raise $1 million more than it did last year. Find it here.
A little more fleshing out. One of the Arts Center's fund-raising plans included in the budget is a party and banners to celebrate the Arts Center's 50th anniversary. (It was Sept. 6, 1960, that the City Board passed an ordinance creating the Arts Center, though it had existed previously as the Museum of Fine Art.)
Joseph Lampo, interim director, said he thought celebrating the Arts Center's anniversary would be a way to "change the story" about the Arts Center, to counteract recent publicity about its financial woes. It would move the public's focus to its history and also be a way for the Arts Center to honor its key players.
But board members Lisa Baxter, who is heading up Tabriz, the Arts Center's biggest money-maker, next spring, and Chucki Bradbury thought the budget's forecast of making $80,000 off anniversary events was optimistic. More importantly, they opposed the idea because they thought it would reduce Tabriz income. One board member suggested the anniversary be celebrated next fall instead.
Pastel artist Lois Davis and her daughter, Susan Harris, a painter, have teamed up for "Summer Reflections," currently on exhibit in the gallery at Christ Episcopal Church. (That's Harris' work above.) The gallery, at 509 Scott St., is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and, naturally, from 9 a.m. to noon on Sunday. Next up: The Arkansas Pastel Society Summer Members Show on July 2.
The committee to select the work includes Denham, Henri Linton of UAPB and Brad Cushman of UALR.
That Third Friday ArtWalk in Argenta kicks off at 5 p.m. tonight. Check out "Fireflies" by Matt McLeod at Greg Thompson Fine Art, 429 Main St., while you're out and about.
There’s no exhibit banner out front, the iron gate is tough to work and you’ll be the only one there. But if you want to see some art by and about black Arkansans, head to the Terry Mansion at 7th and Rock Streets.
V.I.T.A.L. — Visual Images That Affect Lives — is an artists’ collective and the show and sale at the mansion is its first. The collective is composed of the experienced, the newly recognized and the emerging, artists finding their voice. The work ranges from primitive to offbeat, and much of it fine.
At the top of their game are Rex DeLoney and Ariston Jacks, sure of hand and skilled with their mediums. The self-taught Melverue Abraham contributes folk art that spills into the abstract at times, illustration at others and is magnetic. LaToya Hobbs, who just graduated from UALR with a degree in studio art, is exhibiting her strong portraits of strong women (see above); Kalari Turner, a fashion designer, borrows from her career to create mixed-media pieces. Micheal Worsham, a graduate student at UALR, is showing his oversized portraits, including the improbably aqua and attention-grabbing “Roshanda.”
All are colorists, especially DeLoney, who though he works figuratively often leaves the palette reservation, creating, for example, “Complements of Harlem,” men on the street rendered entirely in orange and blue. His small watercolor “Botswana Brothers” revels in the ochres, reds and yellows that make up the African face and is rendered in delicate strokes; it is a fine little work. Jacks is exploiting his significant linear talents with small complex cartoons, detailed and symbolic, like an black R Crumb. Abraham’s strongest works are her black acrylic on paper compositions, including the terrific and so-primitive-it’s-modern “Carpenter,” which unfortunately has already sold. Her “A Time to Plant” is reminiscent of woodcut illustration; her “A Rebirthing in Haiti,” is a loose and whimsical painting of a woman with banana frond hair.
There is a drawback to the exhibit space: A musty smell in the building is nearly overpowering until your nose gets used to it. The antebellum Terry Mansion — more properly the Pike-Fletcher-Terry House — has been the red-haired stepchild of the Arkansas Arts Center, which exhibited fine crafts there until 2003. It’s showing neglect, and the Arts Center — or the city, to whom it was deeded for use as a cultural center — needs to either treat it with respect, or find someone who will.
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