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AT UALR: Kara Walker's work on display.
  • AT UALR: Kara Walker's work on display.

With artists like Kara Walker, Robert Colescott, Faith Ringgold and Whitfield Lovell among the bunch, the lineup for an exhibit to open Aug. 15 at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock guarantees a blockbuster show.

“Taking Possession” opens next week as part of UALR'S commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the integration of Central High School. The show, conceived two years ago by UALR curator Brad Cushman, will feature two- and three-dimensional work by 27 nationally-known African-American artists and will fill the three galleries in the Fine Arts Center.

The creations are not directly related to the crisis at Central, but are the visual voices of African Americans today, voices influenced by history and often referring to the past, but in the artistic vernacular of the present.

Kara Walker, who is featured in the PBS series “Art:21,” is known for her cut-paper and projected silhouettes, a process traditionally used to create sweet images but which Walker uses ironically to create antebellum scenes of slavery.

Colescott has exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum and at the Arkansas Arts Center, which loaned Colescott's “Standing Desmoiselles,” a charcoal triptych, to the “Take Possession” show.

Illustrator Faith Ringgold is represented by two canvases that are the original art for her book, “Tar Beach,” and tableau artist Whitfield Lovell's “Coin VII,” a charcoal in the permanent collection of the Arts Center, is in the exhibit.

Among the three-dimensional pieces are Keith Wallace Smith's “Gunpoint,” a large ceramic work in which two men emerge from brick walls with guns pointing at each other.

Coming up next month: A panel discussion will be held from 3:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. in Stella Boyle Concert Hall on Sept. 6, and a reception in the gallery will follow. At 7 p.m. the film, “Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin,” will be shown.

Sculptor Smith will give a lecture and workshop on Oct. 11 (call 569-3182 for details).

Nathan Larson collaborated with Cushman on “Taking Possession” and a 12-page catalog that accompanies the show was designed by gallery assistant Alex Moomey. The exhibit runs through Oct. 10.

In another nod to the Central High anniversary, the Arts Center opens on Friday, Aug. 10, “Documenting a Not So Distant Past,” photographs by Ernest Withers, Will Counts and Marion Palfri documenting racial segregation, efforts to integrate the schools and the Civil Rights movement. The show runs through Nov. 4.

Also Friday: Joe Lampo, the curator of “Selections from the Inter-American Development Bank Art Collection” exhibit at the Arkansas Arts Center, will give a talk at 6:30 p.m. for 2nd Friday Art Night downtown. The event runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and trolleys provide transportation. The Historic Arkansas Museum will have live music by Brian Nahlen and Nick Devlin and put the night's focus on its “Spectacular Spectacles” exhibit from the Museum of Vision. Also opening at HAM that evening: “Media Gratification,” works by Don Marr, Barbara Cade and Fran Otten. Hearne Fine Art is showing “The Folk Art Perspective,” outsider art, and will follow Friday night's event with a discussion at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11. “Notes from the Underclass: The Carnival Series” by Mitchell Crisp and Joseph Santori will be at the Cox Creative Center, and “Gone to Pieces: The Segmented Woodturnings of Mick Hutchison” will open at River Market ArtSpace. Ten Thousand Villages shop will also be open. At 8 p.m., the movie “Lust for Life,” about Vincent Van Gogh, will show in the Darragh Center of the Main Library.

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