Historical entertainment planned for joint celebration of three Southwest Arkansas milestone anniversaries
With 3/4-inch plate steel and a good sense of humor, the Argenta Downtown Council's first public art project — “Me and My Dog,” by Elena Petroukhina and Rhonda Reeves — will put the dog back in Dogtown.
“We're going to embrace it,” Don Chambers, general manager for the ADC, said last week about the erstwhile derogatory name for North Little Rock. “We're going to hug it and hold it and pet the dog.”
“Me and My Dog” — actually three 4-by-8-foot steel sculptures — was announced last week as the first selection of the ADC's art committee. So far, the ADC — which commits 2 percent of its income to public art — has raised $3,500 in private contributions to commission the sculpture. The value of the work has been estimated at about $10,000; the artists will receive $5,000 and the ADC will take on fabrication costs, art committee chair Larry Pennington said. The committee is hoping to get the steel donated; Union Pacific Railroad has agreed to cut the steel gratis at its shop.
ADC, a relatively new non-profit, is existing on income from festivals — it sponsored the recent Foodie Fest — and “the kindness of strangers,” Chambers said. Banker Donna Hardcastle will take over as executive director Aug. 3.
“Me and My Dog” was one of five designs selected by the committee for eventual installation downtown. The sites have not yet been settled upon.
The art committee put out a request for proposals to artists in the state and region and received 16 or proposals, Pennington said. Petroukhina and Reeves' work will be “a wonderful signature piece” for the project, he said.
Other artists whose work will eventually appear include Jennefer Hodges of Little Rock, who will craft a firehouse dog in concrete; Becky Christensen of Bentonville, whose design is of a ceramic dog juggling balls that look like cats; Kandy Jones of Argenta, whose dog sculpture will be embedded with watch faces (possibly donated by Timex); and Christine Slocomb, who has created a dog mosaic that would be installed in a sidewalk or on a wall.
Models of the sculptures are at Pennington's studio, Clay Time at 417 Main St. Pennington, who just opened the Satori School for Creative Art at the studio, said the Argenta Development Council will likely put out a brochure about the sculptures after they are installed.