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Youth work at LR Airport, Springdale's Jones Center.

UP AND AWAY: McSwain with painting at airport.
  • UP AND AWAY: McSwain with painting at airport.
When Debra Murray, art teacher at Parkview Arts and Science Magnet High School, was asked to submit student art to be hung at Little Rock National Airport, she didn’t pick her high-flying seniors. Her Drawing I class, instead, got the chance to take wing and stretch their picture-making talents to include the aviation realm. Now, five paintings and drawings transferred to large canvas hangings by students Holly Dailey, Jessica Dunklin, Ashley Lowell, Ryan McSwain and Cyrene Quiamco are suspended above the baggage claim area, along with a separate banner about the project, “Flights of Fancy.” They’ll hang for at least six months, until work by other students will take their place. The two-sided canvases include a silhouette of a plane against a fiery sunset (Dunklin’s), a colored pencil composition of a plane whose cockpit is the pilot’s head (Quiamco), a view of Little Rock’s downtown from a plane (McSwain), a Warhol-like composition of repeated plane images in different colors (Dailey), and a little boy admiring a plane (Lowell). Larger cities have been setting aside funds for public art in airports for several years, and some cities guarantee a percentage for art in all public projects. Little Rock is not one of those cities, but it has been able to set aside funds from new construction budgets to buy the large mobile that hangs over the ticket counters and the sculpture and landscaping in front. St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center also helped the airport construct in the passenger area a gallery that showcases pieces from the city’s museums. Airport spokesman Phil Launius said if the city builds a new airport terminal (discussion of that has just begun to bubble up), he’d like to see a significant set-aside for art. “We’d love to have 2 percent,” as many cities have, but he’d take less. n Northwest Arkansas teen-agers have also toiled to create another public art project, a work with a higher purpose than even the airport’s: Students from Springdale and Fayetteville high schools created an 8-foot-long, 6-foot-tall mixed-media mural with a message of harmony and acceptance. The piece hangs in the Jones Center for Families in Springdale. The project, “Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges,” sponsored by the Springdale non-profit art program YouthCAN! and the National Conference on Community and Justice, brought the teens together to talk about their own experiences with bullying and prejudice and to use their new awareness in the artwork. The students painted images of discrimination and hate on tiles and then broke them, rearranging the pieces into a mosaic bridge linking two hands. YouthCAN and NCCJ hope to take the mural project to other groups in northwest Arkansas. Contributing students were Fayetteville students Melvina Farris, Annie Nevin and Deja Sigears and Springdale students Pamela Acosta, Rose Adams, Charles Flaig, Jordan Hutchinson, Bernice McMillan and Eric Price. Friday night is art night on both the north and south sides of the river: Argenta Public Arts will hold its July Art Walk and six downtown Little Rock galleries will hold 2nd Friday Art Night. This month’s 2nd Friday Art Night edition, 5-8 p.m. July 8, features a benefit for the Pulaski County Juvenile Detention Center’s Art Outreach program at River Market Artspace, 301 President Clinton Ave. A portion of sales will go to the program, and gallery owner Debra Woods has asked her artists to donate art supplies as well. Free trolleys will take gallery-goers from spot to spot. The shows, in order of the trolley schedule: Works by Ms. Otis of Farmer’s Market fame, who’ll paint during the evening, at the Historic Arkansas Museum, 200 E. Third St.; “Mixing It Up,” mixed media works by artists from five states, at Oval Gallery, 201 W. Capitol Ave.; work by Steve Griffith at Amy Howard Richmond Fine Art, 201 E. Markham; work in all media at River Market Artspace; work by TAFA and a reception with the artist at Hearne Fine Art, 500 President Clinton Ave.; and paintings by Arlette Miller at the Cox Creative Gallery in the Cox Creative Center at 120 Commerce St. (The Clinton Museum Store will not participate July 8.) Artist Erin Lorenzen will show mixed media paintings and ceramics at A.M. Architecture, 401 Main St., in North Little Rock. Paintings, photography, sculpture and music will also be on tap for the 5-9 p.m. event at The Hive Studio, Arkansas Art Gallery, Galaxy Furniture and Interiors, Claytime and Pennington Studios, all downtown on Main.
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