With President Obama's second inauguration fresh in our minds, now is a good time to think on the country's first inauguration, that of George Washington. The Historic Arkansas Museum (200 E. Third St.) helps that along with a two-day exhibition of the first president's inaugural Bible and a Washington family Bible Friday and Saturday. The Bibles can be seen at the museum 5-8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, during the 2nd Friday Art Night trolley gallery tour, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
The Bibles are part of the museum's exhibit "Treasures of Arkansas Freemasons, 1838-2013" in the Study Gallery through July 12, coinciding with the 175th anniversary of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Arkansas.
The inaugural Bible is from St. John's Lodge No. 1 in New York, which loaned it to Washington to use at his first swearing-in, on April 30, 1789. Other presidents who've use the Bible in their swearing-in are Warren G. Harding, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush. The family Bible is on loan from the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Va., and includes notes in Washington's hand and his signature.
HAM will also open a contemporary art exhibit on Friday, "Phenomena of Change: Lee Cowan, Mary Ann Stafford and Maria Botti Villegas," sculpture and painting by Arkansas artists.
Continuing with the inaugural theme is the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, which is showing "The Inauguration of Hope," sculpture by Ed Dwight, and will be open for 2nd Friday Art Night. Other 2nd Friday openings: The Arkansas Society of Printmakers holds its "first annual" exhibition at the Butler Center's Mezzanine Gallery in the Arkansas Studies Institute (401 President Clinton Ave.). Artists with work in the show include Robert Bean, Win Bruhl, Warren Criswell, Brad Cushman, Sarah Fendley, Melissa Gill, Jorey May Greene, Diane Page Harper, Neal Harrington, Tammy Harrington, Evan Lindquist, Lloyd Litsey, Jesse Perrin, Dominique Simmons, Tom Sullivan, Tod Switch, David Warren and Jane Watson. "One-man band" Paul Morphis will play guitar, harmonica, kazoo, drum and tambourine. Gallery 221 (2nd and Center) will feature work by Jennifer "EMILE" Freeman as well as other gallery artists and StudioMain (1423 S. Main) will celebrate its first anniversary. The ArtGroup Maumelle will have work at the Courtyard at the Marriott.
The Old State House Museum will feature live music by Dana Falconberry, chocolates and valentine-making.
The Arkansas Arts Center has opened "Wendy Maruyama: Tag Project/Executive Order 9066," work inspired by the mass internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, including at Rowher and Jerome in Arkansas. For the tag project, Maruyama, head of the furniture design program at San Diego State University, replicated 120,000 individual ID tags worn by internees. "Executive Order" uses footlockers, suitcases and steamer trunks to express the forced relocation of American citizens in 1942. Maruyama will give a talk about the exhibit at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, in the Arts Center lecture hall.
The exhibit is paired with "Edward Weston: Leaves of Grass," photographs made in the spring of 1941 for an edition of Walt Whitman's poem. There will be a poetry reading in the gallery March 1.
On Sunday at the Arts Center, painter William Dunlap will give a talk, "William Dunlap's Confessions of an Itinerant Painter," a Fine Arts Club program, at 6 p.m. Tickets are $35 or $50 per couple and include dinner afterward. Call 412-3768 for reservations. That event follows Saturday's "Beer, BBQ and Billy Dunlap," 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Greg Thompson Fine Art (429 Main St., NLR); RSVP at 664-2787.
The Sequoyah National Research Center opens an exhibit of work by contemporary Osage artists on Friday. The paintings, prints and drawings are from the collection of retired UALR professor J.W. Wiggins. The show runs through March 29 at the center, in University Plaza, suite 500.