Townsend Wolfe, 1935-2017 | Rock Candy

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Townsend Wolfe, 1935-2017

Posted By on Sat, Jan 14, 2017 at 12:34 PM

Townsend Wolfe, director of the Arkansas Arts Center for 34 years.
  • Townsend Wolfe, director of the Arkansas Arts Center for 34 years.

Max has posted on the Arkansas Blog the news of Townsend Wolfe's death. The photo Max chose of the longtime director of the Arkansas Arts Center is a great one, but I also wanted to put up this one of Wolfe with his trademark brown cigarette. A More cigarette? A Tiparillo? I don't remember, but I do remember that Wolfe was seldom seen without one. The last time I interviewed him, after the ill-fated "World of the Pharaohs" exhibit that spelled the end for his successor, he had quit smoking, but out of long habit patted his shirt pocket, where he'd always kept his cigarettes, from time to time thinking he'd find a pack there before remembering he'd given them up.
click to enlarge The February 1977 "starving artist" cover of the Arkansas Times: Wolfe and nude model hoisting champagne, artist Dan Morris eating out of a can.
  • The February 1977 "starving artist" cover of the Arkansas Times: Wolfe and nude model hoisting champagne, artist Dan Morris eating out of a can.

I had several funny interviews with Wolfe, including one years ago about censorship. Wolfe had hung a show that included a photograph of a woman's nude derriere being tickled by a feather. The outcry! Wolfe was greatly amused by the demands it be taken down.

Wolfe will be remembered for the inclusivity he brought to the Arts Center in a time that was not the most salubrious for race relations in Arkansas. He  was a Southern gentleman and he could be as snobby as the best of them, but not when it came to Arts Center attendance. He was a hard act to follow for his successor Nan Plummer, who, unlike Wolfe, did not realize she had to know everything that was going on and was trusting of folk who didn't deserve her trust.

He also understood better, perhaps, that the leadership today the public nature of the Arts Center. When an Arts Center employee declined to provide information on the results of the Tabriz fundraiser to the Times — she said she'd provided the same information to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette because they'd been a sponsor and thus had a right to name the auction items and buyers that we did not have — Wolfe read her the riot act and the information was quickly forthcoming.

The Arts Center and Wolfe were synonymous for many years; he kept it going, made it the fine institution it became, and will always be a hard act to follow. An excellent history of the Arts Center and Wolfe's tenure there can be read here.

Tags: , ,


Favorite

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • Windgate gifts to Arts Center endow curatorial positions, support future: UPDATE

    Arkansas Arts Center Interim Director Laine Harber announced today that the Windgate Charitable Foundation had made an "exciting gift" to endow the Arts Center's curatorial positions. John Brown, the senior adviser to the foundation, confirmed this afternoon that the curatorial endowment is part of a $5 million operating endowment granted the Arts Center at the end of 2017.
    • Aug 20, 2018
  • UA professor wins $3.4 million grant

    A University of Arkansas professor and his team will develop a device to link solar power arrays to the national power grid thanks to a $3.4 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy.
    • Aug 20, 2018
  • Kaleidoscope Film Festival continues

    And much more.
    • Aug 16, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Coming Monday: Little Rock Black Restaurant Week

    MoTown Monday is Ceci's Chicken and Waffles. Tasty Tuesday is Sims BBQ and Brewster's Soul Food Cafe. Wing Wednesday is Chicken King and Chicken Wangs. Soul Food Thursday is Lindsey's BBQ and Hospitality House and Food Truck Festival Friday is @station801. It's the first Black Restaurant Week.
    • Mar 8, 2017
  • New music from Isaac Alexander

    New music from Isaac Alexander.
    • Jul 14, 2017
  • No Small Talk Ep. 8: Katy Henriksen, Springs Arts preview

    A packed episode this week of "No Small Talk": a chat with Katy Henriksen, from Of Note on KUAF; Stephanie Smittle breaks down the Spring Arts issue; and we finish up with just a tiny bit of Oscar chatter.
    • Mar 9, 2018

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation