Six bronze sculptures purchased for nearly $300,000 will be dedicated Sunday, Nov. 11, at their new homes at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park entrance and along a walk that leads to the River Market.
City Director Dean Kumpuris, who spearheaded the public art project, and the individuals who bought the sculptures for the city will start the ceremony at 2 p.m. at the entrance to the Clinton Center on President Clinton Avenue, where Sandy Scott’s “Eagle of the Rock” will be installed atop native Arkansas stone.
Scott, Jane Dedecker and Carol Gold, all sculptors with the Loveland, Colo., National Sculpture Guild, will be on hand for the dedication of their bronzes, as will guild artist Mark Leichliter, whose steel sculpture “Encircling the Future” was installed at Little Rock National Airport in September.
Guild director John Kinkade, on the phone last week from Colorado, told a reporter that he was trying to figure out a way to hang a sign from the flatbed truck transporting the uncovered sculpture to Arkansas that would broadcast to the world that they were headed for the Clinton library. After installation Nov. 10-11, the sculpture will be covered for the ceremonial unveiling Sunday.
Five sculptures were originally proposed, but a sixth was added at the last minute for the River Market fountain. It is, unsurprisingly, a bronze pig, also by Colorado artist Scott.
Kinkade said placement will follow the “European plan” in which one work will be visible from another, to draw pedestrians along the path.
East of the “River Market Pig” along a path punctuated with elliptical circles will be, in order, “Touch the Sky,” a bronze of children climbing a tree by Jane Dedecker of Colorado; “Anglers” and “Harriet Tubman,” also by Dedecker; “Fiesta,” a sculpture of dancing women by Carol Gold of California; and the eagle. The path runs along the river, behind the buildings on Clinton Avenue and under I-30 and then turns south to the library entrance.
The eagle is the largest, 10 feet wide and 8.5 feet high. The others are between 9 and nearly 6 feet high (except for the pig, though Kinkade said it is a “big pig”). Landscape architects for the Clinton Center have worked with the guild on the siting of the sculptures. “Fiesta” will be placed on a grassy rise east of I-30 so that it will be framed by sky. “Anglers” will be installed so that the figures — a grandfather and granddaughter — are walking toward the river. The view of “Tubman” looking east will include the Clinton Center in the background.
A small plaza has been created on either side of President Clinton Avenue at the library entrance; the eagle will be placed on the south side of the street. Kinkade was to arrive Nov. 9 to oversee installation and give the sculptures a good wash after their dusty trip from Colorado. Installation will start with the eagle, which Kinkade said should be the toughest. Each sculpture will be placed atop artist-designed plinths.
Kumpuris, who ordered the sculptures only in May, had jested with Kinkade that it would take a miracle to get them to Little Rock in time for the library opening. The miracle was pulled off because, Kinkade said, “it’s very prestigious for these artists to be associated with this project,” and city staff gave what he called “heroic” cooperation.
Kinkade said the artists had been “fairly generous” in pricing because of the works’ placement near the Clinton library.
After the dedication Sunday, a public reception will be held with the artists on the third floor of the River Market.
? Marc Hatfield, the Little Rock artist best known for his fisheye portraits of houses, will exhibit his paintings Nov. 12 through Jan. 23 at the Historic Arkansas Museum. A opening-day reception from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. will include music by Parachute Woman.
“Marc Hatfield: Time Warped” will feature 15 wide-view impasto oils of old homes, cars and people in a style he calls “representational expressionism.”
HAM also will open “The Arkansas Traveler,” artifacts that tell the story of the song, the ball team, the state’s certificate of honor and the campaigners for Bill Clinton in his first run for the presidency. Information on that exhibit and others being held to coincide with the opening of the Clinton Presidential Library, including the Arkansas Arts Center’s upcoming “Diana Walker: Photojournalist” and “Art and the White House: Presidential Selections 1960-2000,” can be found in the section of this issue dedicated to the library opening.
Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen ruled today that he had no choice based on a past Arkansas Supreme Court decision but to dismiss a lawsuit by Death Row inmates seeking to challenge the constitutionality of the state's lethal injection process.But the judge did so unhappily with sharp criticism of the Arkansas Supreme Court for failing to address critical points raised in the lawsuit.