A venture to this state park is on the must-do list for many, the park being the only spot in North America where you can dig for diamonds and other gemstones and keep your finds.
An exhibit of blown glass by Dale Chihuly brought a record crowd to the Arkansas Arts Center in 2000. People are likely to pour in for the three-part “HOT COLOR cool glass” show that opens Friday, May 9, in the Wolfe and Rockefeller galleries as well, especially those familiar with the work of glass artist Sonja Blomdahl. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students and $8 for children.
Blomdahl's work is less flashy and fantasy than Chihuly's, but it is rich in color and structure. She makes luminous vessels in the incalmo style (which involves fusing tubes of glass to create stripes and swirls) and architectural pieces — such as large windows — employing geometrical and organic designs. Like Chihuly, Blomdahl works out of the heart of glass art, Seattle.
The 120 objects in the show will include work by Chihuly as well, in the accompanying “The Glass Century” survey of art glass that starts with Tiffany. “Beyond Blown Glass” will feature work by emerging glass artists.
Friday evening, the Mobile Hot Shop of the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Wash., will give demonstrations in glass blowing as part of 2nd Friday Art Night (5-8 p.m.). The hot shop will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through May 18.
At 6 p.m. Sunday, May 18, Blomdahl will be the featured speaker for the Friends of Contemporary Craft “Conversations” series in the lecture hall. Tickets are $15 for FOCC members and $20 for non-members and include a light dinner. Call 396-0357 to reserve. On Monday, May 19, Blomdahl will give another talk about her work to the Fine Arts Club of Arkansas. The program will begin at 9:45 a.m. with coffee and a tour of the show. Blomdahl will talk at 11 a.m. and luncheon will follow. Tickets to the coffee and talk are $10 for non-members; luncheon tickets are $35. Call 396-0351; deadline for lunch reservations is May 15.
Special events continue with a panel discussion at 6:30 p.m. May 21 and a lecture by Toledo Museum of Art curator Jutta Page on the history of glass art at 6:30 p.m. May 22. All events are at the Arts Center.
The show will run through July 27.
Prize winners in the 38th annual Mid-Southern Watercolorists Exhibition at the Historic Arkansas Museum will be announced during 2nd Friday Art Night. The Cox Creative Center's 2nd Friday Night event includes a reception for David Arnold, featured artist in the Cox Creative Gallery. The Showcase Arkansas Gallery at the Cox also has a new exhibit: “Arkansas Politics, Patriotism and Pride,” historical objects from the David Edwin Gifford collection. A reception for that show will be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, May 10.
River Market ArtSpace, Hearne Fine Art Gallery and Ten Thousand Villages will also be open for 2nd Friday Art Night.
Gallery 26 will hold a reception for Katherine Strause and Brad Cushman from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 10, to celebrate an exhibit of their paintings, “Famous Last Words.” Cushman, gallery director and curator at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, is showing work inspired by an album he found in an estate sale containing photos of Sonny and Cher shot from the television screen. Strause's work is based on found photographs that suggest a shared personal narrative between subject and viewer. Strause is an assistant art professor at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia.
Pop artist Stephano will unveil his portrait of Arkansas Repertory Theatre founder Cliff Baker at his gallery on Thursday, May 8. The event starts at 5:30 p.m.; the unveiling will be at 6:30 p.m. The Rep is seeking donations to help purchase the piece for display in the theater's lobby. Tickets to the Rep fund-raiser ArtWorks XXI, set for May 17, and to Rep productions will be for sale at the gallery, at 5501 Kavanaugh Blvd.
A recent mention in this column about the revival of the Friday Night Art Parties, now every second Friday night at Market Street Cinema, referred to their former locale as Arts Space. It was, of course, the Arts Scene that previously hosted the painting parties. ArtsSpace is not only on the other side of the river from the Arts Scene, it is only one word.