Theatre Season To Open With Fun 'Legally Blonde'

Legally Blonde logo.png

Musical Adaptation of Hit Film Kicks Off 2019-2020 Season with July 26 Opening


Legally Blonde The Musical

Sponsored by Simmons Bank

Performances: July 26 & 27, August 2 & 3, 7:30 p.m.; July 28 & August 4, 2 p.m.

Catherine M. Bellamy Theatre, Arts & Science Center, 701 S. Main St., Pine Bluff

Tickets: $18 for ASC members, $22 for nonmembers, and $15 for students.

Purchase tickets online, in person at ASC, or by calling 870.536.3375. Season tickets are also available to purchase in person or by phone.

Director: Lindsey Collins
Musical Director: Faron Wilson
Choreographer: Bethany Gere

Book by Heather Hach
Music and Lyrics by Lawrence O’Keefe and Nell Bridges
Based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the MGM Motion Picture

By Shannon Frazeur

The Arts & Science Center is kicking off its 2019-2020 theatre season this summer with Legally Blonde The Musical, opening Friday, July 26. The production is the first of four ASC productions of the season.

“It’s a pop-rock ‘n’ roll musical,” the show’s director Lindsey Collins said. “The music is different from any other kind of music from the recent shows in that it’s a super-fun, high-energy, from start-to-finish musical.”

Based on the 2001 movie starring Reese Witherspoon, the musical follows Elle Woods, a pretty, perky young woman from Malibu. When we meet Elle, she is finishing her studies—fashion merchandising, of course—at the University of California in Los Angeles, and living with her Delta Nu sisters and her Chihuahua, Bruiser, in the sorority house.

Elle thinks her college sweetheart, Warner, is going to propose. Instead, he breaks up with her, telling her that he needs less of a “Marilyn” and more of a “Jackie” as his life partner because he wan­ts to be a senator.

Warner is heading across the country to begin studies at Harvard Law School, so in an attempt to follow him and win him back, Elle applies—in her own flashy way—to the prestigious school.

To the surprise of everyone—especially Warner—she is admitted and joins Warner in the classroom. On the first day, Criminal Law 101 Professor Callahan throws naïve and unprepared Elle out of class, insisting that she only return when she is ready to learn.


“At first, she’s very flaky and not into it,” Collins said.

Meanwhile, Warner has already found his “Jackie” in fellow law student and brunette Vivienne. 

Frustrated that both her law studies and efforts to win back Warner are failing, Elle is visited by a Greek chorus—her sorority sisters from Delta Nu. They work to help Elle win Warner back and encourage her to stay positive. Elle also befriends teaching assistant Emmett and hairdresser Paulette.

“Through meeting new people, she finds her way and finds that she’s good at being a lawyer,” Collins explained.

“It’s the story of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover,’ because she’s this pretty blonde package but she’s got a brain.”

Audience members can look forward to lots of dancing and laughs. 

“All the characters in the cast are fun. It’s kind of a parody of how people in college are, versus how things happen later on in the real world. When you’re in college, you are kind of in this bubble of ‘untouchableness,’ ‘I’m not affected by what’s going to happen when I grow up,’ and it leads into, ‘Oh no, I am a grownup now. This is how I need to take the steps to become a better one.’ But audiences can expect a lot of laughs and tapping your toes, dancing-in-your seat hilarity. It’s a really super fun ‘Let’s escape reality for two hours’ with something that’s just fun.”

Cast and Crew

The Legally Blonde cast is a mix of familiar faces and performers new to the ASC stage.

“This cast is veteran performers, which makes my job a lot easier as a director,” Collins said. “It is a lot of fun to do a musical with a ‘green’ cast, because you don’t have any bad habits to break. But with a show of this magnitude—it’s a monster show—everything is bigger than it has been at the Center. And with that, and having had people who’ve done shows before, it makes it a lot easier in the rehearsal process. There’s nothing I have to teach anyone—I can strictly work on their performances and how to help them grow and be a better performer for this specific show.”

Makayla Shipe of Bryant stars as Elle Woods. This is the 16-year-old’s first ASC production, but she is no stranger to the stage. Shipe has performed at Arkansas Repertory Theater and The Studio Theatre in Little Rock, and The Royal Theatre in Benton.

“She’s the whole package,” Collins said. “She has immense talent. I would not be surprised to see her go on to bigger and better things, theatrically. She has that spark, the talent, the drive, and when we had to make the switch from Memphisand we put out the announcement about Legally Blonde, she was one of the first people messaging me about auditions to ensure that she could come audition on a certain day. We were really lucky and blessed to have someone with the caliber of talent that she has.” 

Emmett is played by Ethan Patterson. The 22-year-old is from Little Rock and has also been in several community theater shows in the central Arkansas area.

Travis Mosler of Pine Bluff also makes his ASC debut as Warner. He has performed at The Arkansas Repertory Theater and other theaters in the Little Rock area.

Paulette is played by White Hall’s Tiffany Lowery, a returning ASC performer. “Tiffany has not been in a play production since we did Annieabout eight years ago,” Collins said. “She’s been in a lot of Razzle Dazzles. We’re exciting about having her and bringing her back into the fold.”

Professor Callahan is played by White Hall’s Jonathan Hoover, who is ASC’s 2019 Catherine M. Bellamy Award for Performing Arts winner. “It was almost as if the role was written for him,” Collins said. “It’s got that Billy Flynn from Chicago feel about it, which I think Jonathan will be amazing in.” He’s an ASC veteran as well, with 11 years of shows under his belt including as director (Willy Wonka and Through the Looking Glass).

Tracy Sutherland of Pine Bluff returns after a three-year hiatus from the ASC stage in the role of Vivienne.

The trio of Delta Nus — Emily BurrisKelsey Kerney, and Madison Carson—are also familiar with the ASC stage. Their most recent ASC appearances were in last summer’s musical production of Sister Act.

“Other ensemble members involved have been in countless shows here at the Center, and we have a sprinkling of brand-new ones who we’re really thrilled to have part of the production.

“I think this show we have four or five brand-new, 100 percent never-been-on-a-stage performers, and the rest have either been in a show here or have been in a show in the Little Rock or southeastern Arkansas regions. It consists of people from Little Rock, Bryant, Star City, Woodlawn, Rison, White Hall, and Pine Bluff.

“It’s really showcasing talent from across Arkansas—not just Pine Bluff. It’s a cornucopia of talent from all over the entire southeast Arkansas area. And we’re completely thrilled with everybody who’s in the show.”

Collins’ excitement over the Legally Blonde players extends to the crew.

“I have an amazing production team,” she said. Joel Anderson is back as assistant director, the role he served in for last year’s Sister Act. Bethany Gere is also back as choreographer—she was choreographer for Sister Act. Kayla Lake—last seen as an ensemble nun in Sister Act—is stage manager. 

Longtime ASC musical presence Faron Wilson returns as musical director.

“Faron is one of the best musical directors in the state, if possible, in the United States.” Collins said. “Faron has been doing musicals here since 1986 and he has directed some of the best-selling musicals that we’ve ever done here. To have him on board here is beyond lucky.”

Also lending a vital hand to the production behind the scenes are ASC’s three theatre interns. Allie Alexander (a senior at the University of Oklahoma) and Gage Pipkin (a sophomore at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock) are handling many of the technical aspects. Alicia McCree, a Merchandising, Textiles and Design student at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, is assisting with costumes. 

Pipkin is also part of the Legally Blonde ensemble.

Theatre Camp students also helped make props for the production as part of the camp’s curriculum.

Volunteers interesting in helping with the production are welcome.

“We are ALWAYS in need of crew members,” Collins said. “This show is a monster, set-wise. We have scene change, after scene change, after scene change. And everything is a fluid movement—there’s no blackouts—it fluidly moves to the next scene.

“We always need people to help with anything—set construction, being on the crew.”

The Director

This is the Collins’ second ASC production to helm. She made her directorial debut in July 2018 with Sister Act, which sold out all of its four performances.

Collins, who has been involved at ASC since she was a teenager in 2001, is also leading ASC’s recharged theatre program and theatre education programming. She joined the staff part-time in September 2018 and became a full-time employee in March 2019. 

“When the position became available as part-time, I jumped at it,” Collins said. “When you’re like 15 years old and you’ve found your calling—that’s what I’ve got my bachelor’s degree in, theater education, so when the part-time position became available it was like, ‘Absolutely.’ I’ve been working on this since I was 15.

“I wake up every morning excited to come to work because I love this place. I love what it means to other people, and I’m beyond excited and blessed to have a full-time position here. I hope that I can add something to it to help bring awareness to the Center and revive the theater program here. If I can be a help to continue to be a voice for ASC, I will as long as I can. I’m just super excited to be here every day. I wake up in the morning and I’m like, ‘Time to do what I really want to do!’”

Those interested in volunteering to help with the ASC theatre productions may email Collins at lcollins@asc701.org. More information about volunteering and a volunteer application are available at http://asc701.org/volunteer.

2019 Rosenzweig Exhibition Accepting Entries from Mid-South Artists

Justin Bryant,  All the King's Men , watercolor triptych, 2015. Selected for inclusion in the 2015 Irene Rosenzweig Juried Exhibition, the piece is now in ASC's Permanent Collection.

Justin Bryant, All the King's Men, watercolor triptych, 2015. Selected for inclusion in the 2015 Irene Rosenzweig Juried Exhibition, the piece is now in ASC's Permanent Collection.

ASC’s Biennial Show Open to All Traditional Art forms; Cash Prizes Awarded

By Shannon Frazeur

The Arts & Science Center is accepting entries through August 25 for its biennial 2019 Irene Rosenzweig Juried Exhibition.

The Rosenzweig exhibition is open to artists in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. Artwork in all traditional forms including paintings, original prints, fiber art, ceramics, sculpture, and photography is accepted. (All components must be affixed—no separate parts. ASC cannot accept video, performance, or installation works.)

Carmen Castorena’s mixed media sculpture  One Too Many  was named Best in Show   of the 2017 Irene Rosenzweig Juried Exhibition.

Carmen Castorena’s mixed media sculpture One Too Many was named Best in Show of the 2017 Irene Rosenzweig Juried Exhibition.

The following prizes will be awarded:

  • Best in Show—$1000

  • First Place—$500

  • Second Place—$200

  • Three $100 Merit prizes

  • $2000 available in Purchase Awards.

Entries are accepted via email or mail. The deadline for digital submissions is midnight August 25.

For complete eligibility details, submission guidelines, and entry, visit the Rosenzweig exhibition webpage.

The prestigious exhibition — funded by an endowment by the notable Pine Bluff resident — is an opportunity for established and up-and-coming artist to gain recognition and earn prizes, and for ASC to grow its Permanent Collection.

“The reason why it’s important for us is it brings in artists from surrounding states,” said ASC Curator Dr. Lenore Shoults. “We’re able to find new artists, new approaches to art, and it’s always a very exciting exhibition.”

This year’s juror is Joseph Givens, a faculty member of Louisiana State University’s College of Art & Design.

“An advocate for marginalized artists, Joseph Givens specializes in the scholarly investigation of overlooked and neglected art movements,” according to his faculty bio.

Givens has a Master of Arts degree in art history from LSU.

The exhibition opens Thursday, October 10, with a public reception at 5 p.m. The exhibition will run through January 4, 2020.


 

Irene Rosenzweig’s Legacy

Irene Rosenzweig was born in Pine Bluff on July 26, 1903, to Pauline Sarason-Rosenzweig and William M. Rosenzweig. Her father — an immigrant from Lithuania — opened the Good Luck Store (later Rosenzweig’s Department Store) in Pine Bluff. It was the city’s largest mercantile and farm supply store.

Her family home, a Queen Anne Victorian-style at 717 W. Second Ave—now referred to as the Roth-Rosenzweig-Lambert House—was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Rosenzweig, who graduated from high school first in her class in 1920, earned an undergraduate degree in classical studies from Washington University in St. Louis.

She earned a doctoral degree from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. The American Academy in Rome awarded Rosenzweig the 1930 Prix de Rome Fellowship in Classical Studies and Archaeology. During her time as a fellow in Rome, she advanced research for her dissertation—published in 1937 as Ritual and Cults of Pre-Roman Iguvium: With an Appendix Giving the Text of Iguvine Tablets.

Afterward, Rosenzweig tutored President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s family members during their time in the White House. Rosenzweig also taught Latin at the Madeira school, a private preparatory school for girls, in Virginia.

She was fluent in French, German, Spanish, Latin, and Greek.

Rosenzweig died at age 94 on October 8, 1997, in Pine Bluff. She left a gift to ASC, The Irene Rosenzweig Endowment Fund, Inc., which supports the exhibition in her name and includes purchase awards for the center’s Permanent Collection.

— From the Encyclopedia of Arkansas

 

ASC Presents the Cast of ‘Legally Blonde: The Musical’

Elle Woods  ------------------------------------  Makayla Shipe

Emmett Forrest  -------------------------------  Ethan Patterson

Paulette Buonofuonte  ---------------------  Tiffany Lowery

Warner Huntington III  --------------------  Travis Mosler

Vivienne Kensington  ----------------------  Tracy Sutherland

Professor Callahan  -------------------------  Jonathan Hoover

Brooke Wyndham  --------------------------  Celeste Alexander

Margot  ------------------------------------------  Madison Carson

Serena  ------------------------------------------  Kelsey Kearney

Pilar  ---------------------------------------------  Emily Burris

Enid Hoops  -----------------------------------  Anna Brantley

Aaron Shultz  ---------------------------------  Taylor Oates*

Sundeep Padamadan  ---------------------  David DeRueda*

Elle’s Mom  -------------------------------------  Tonya Lane*

Elle’s Dad  --------------------------------------  Brandon Murphy*

Nikos  --------------------------------------------  Gage Pipkin*

Judge  -------------------------------------------  Angelica Glass*

Kyle  ----------------------------------------------  Kris Jerry*

Harvard Admissions  -----------------------  Chris Carey*

DA Joyce Reilly ------------------------------- Haley Jackson*

Frat Boy ------------------------------------------ Wyatt Carson*

Harvard Student ----------------------------- Madison Betz*

Delta Nu Greek Chorus

Sarah Mitchell*, Fallon Johnson*, Mallory Bell*, McCallie Hall*, Jaelyn Reed*

*Indicates performers who are playing multiple roles.

Our Front Porch Exhibit Promotes Tolerance, Hospitality

Jeannie Stone, Angela Johnson Davis, and Suzannah Schreckhise are three of the artists featured in the Our Front Porch exhibition tour, a project of Traveling Arts Fiesta. The exhibition is on display in the International Paper Gallery through Saturday, July 27. On Saturday, April 27, ASC and the Pine Bluff/Jefferson Co. Public Library will host family-friendly events and activities on in conjunction with  Our Front Porch .

Jeannie Stone, Angela Johnson Davis, and Suzannah Schreckhise are three of the artists featured in the Our Front Porch exhibition tour, a project of Traveling Arts Fiesta. The exhibition is on display in the International Paper Gallery through Saturday, July 27. On Saturday, April 27, ASC and the Pine Bluff/Jefferson Co. Public Library will host family-friendly events and activities on in conjunction with Our Front Porch.

ASC, Pine Bluff Library Host Community Programming April 27

Home, place making, and hospitality are the central themes of a traveling exhibition making its latest stop at the Arts & Science Center.

Our Front Porch aims to encourage community dialogue and promote tolerance and hospitality through a selection of artwork, multimedia installations, and perhaps unexpectedly, rocking chairs.

The exhibition’s creator, Jeannie Fowler Rodriguez-Stone of Russellville, sees a need to make communities more welcoming places through encouraging friendly, civil discussions and sharing personal experiences. Stone — an artist, poet, university instructor, and Ph.D. student — uses the front porch concept to encourage this interaction.

Tim Jacob, Harkrider & Oak, oil on canvas. Jacob will lead a demo of his "puddle painting" style at ASC on Saturday, May 18.

Tim Jacob, Harkrider & Oak, oil on canvas. Jacob will lead a demo of his "puddle painting" style at ASC on Saturday, May 18.

The exhibition is now on display in ASC’s International Paper Gallery through Saturday, July 27.

Artwork is accompanied by a complete front porch setup with rocking chairs, along with video and audio installations. Visitors are encouraged to sit and rock, and chat and listen.

This year’s exhibition features artists Tim Jacob of North Little Rock, Angela Davis Johnson of Elaine, Suzannah Schreckhise of Fayetteville, Lourdes Valverde of Bentonville, and Stone herself. Vidoegraphers Katie Jacques, Meredith Martin Moats, William Wofford, and Stone share stories, anecdotes, and songs from Arkansans.

In addition to the exhibition, ASC and the Pine Bluff/Jefferson Co. Public Library will host family-friendly events and activities on Saturday, April 27, in conjunction with Our Front Porch.

Visitors to ASC can take part in craft and maker activities from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. that will include:

  • Mixed-Media Sculptures and Jewelry Making: Explore ASC’s current exhibitions and then create their own mixed-media sculptures with found objects or jewelry-inspired art.

  • Bouki and Lapin Mask: Craft a mask of Bouki the fox or Lapin the rabbit from the traditional French Louisiana folktales.

  • Shadow Puppets: Create a shadow puppet and engage yourself with shadow puppetry.

  • Stop-Motion Animation: Learn to create an animated-film at one the stop-motion stations.

Artist and Our Front Porch creator Jeannie Fowler Rodriguez-Stone will discuss her painting  Connection Found  on April 27 at the Pine Bluff/Jefferson Co. Public Library.

Artist and Our Front Porch creator Jeannie Fowler Rodriguez-Stone will discuss her painting Connection Found on April 27 at the Pine Bluff/Jefferson Co. Public Library.

The Pine Bluff/Jefferson Co. Public Library activities will be from 12-3 p.m. Highlights include:

  • Arts and crafts

  • Food trucks

  • Fried chicken cook-off, with tasting from 2-3 p.m.

  • 12-12:30 p.m. — Raffle drawing.

  • 12-1:30; 2-2:30 p.m. — Live music from Dave Sadler.

  • 12:20-2:45 p.m. — Kids and teen games (jump rope, Double Dutch competition, jacks, Hula Hoops, scavenger hunt).

  • 12:30-1 p.m. — Writeous Poets, a slam poetry group from Little Rock.

  • 1:30-2 p.m. — Storyteller Rex Nelson will share anecdotes and stories in “Arkansas Conversation.” Nelson is a senior editor and columnist at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. His writings can also be found on his blog, Rex Nelson’s Southern Fried.

  • 1-1:45 p.m. — Discuss the lost art of train travel and hear the story behind Howard Fogg’s watercolor painting The 1947-1948 Freedom Train, which experts once thought to be lost. The train made its 100th stop in Pine Bluff.

  • 1:30-1:50 p.m. — Jeannie Stone will discuss her painting Connection Found.

For more information on the activities at the library, please visit pineblufflibrary.org or call 870-534-4802.

The front porch, video installations, and select art from Our Front Porch will be at the library during Saturday’s event before joining the rest of the exhibition pieces at ASC.

The two most important elements of the program are the front porch and the “conversation circles,” Stone said. Visitors will be welcomed into the portico area of the library where they can sit in rocking chairs and enjoy lemonade.

“We’re going to have an open conversation circle and volunteers will just come and sit with folks,” Stone explained. “We like to start by asking ‘Do you have stories about Pine Bluff or porches?’ So we like to ground it in place, making it neighborly talk. But just like all good front porch conversations, it can go absolutely anywhere. I think that’s the joy of it.”


Four of the Our Front Porch artists will take part in workshops in demos at the Arts & Science Center this summer:

Behind Our Front Porch

The concept of Our Front Porch sprang from Stone’s 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization, Traveling Arts Fiesta. “We would go to communities with art from Arkansas-based Latino artists. Our hope was to help make communities more welcoming places for all of the people who lived there,” she explained. TAF was founded on the belief that many people don’t know or realize that the Latino populations are made up of different groups and cultures, or that there are so many different Latino countries, she said.

Our Front Porch came about with this desire as an Arkansan to bring the different factions together, even for a short while with the hope of planting a seed that it is important to practice the front-porch type of mentality where people are free to express in a civil manner their opinions and their thoughts. But I felt like if we grounded it in a place, that we would have a lot more success.”

Pine Bluff is the exhibition’s fifth stop since the season tour began in September 2018 in Fort Smith. In August, Our Front Porch moves to the Delta Cultural Center in Helena for its final venue of the year.

Programming is tailored to each community; for example, the April 27 programming includes discussions related to trains.


“What I think I makes Our Front Porch be so successful is that I just actively really work with the communities to get a collaborative effort going so each Front Porch event does mimic what that community is and what it’s all about,” she said. “Because even though you think almost everybody knows everybody in Pine Bluff — we need help in being neighborly.”

Our Front Porch is an outreach project of Traveling Arts Fiesta. The project is funded by the Mid-America Arts Allicance, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the state agencies of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas, including the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. Additional funding is provided by Alternate ROOTS and The Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas.

'Heavy Metal' Exhibition Showcases 'Women to Watch'

Robyn Horn,  1190 Layers of Steel , 2007, steel. IMAGE COURTESY Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Robyn Horn, 1190 Layers of Steel, 2007, steel. IMAGE COURTESY Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Statewide Tour Features Arkansas Nominees for National Museum of Women of the Arts Exhibition

The Heavy Metal: Arkansas Women to Watch 2019 exhibition tour begins its southeast Arkansas visit this week as the latest exhibition in the Arts & Science Center’s Kennedy Gallery.

The exhibition at ASC opens with a free public reception on Thursday, April 25, from 5-7 p.m. Artists will be on hand for remarks beginning at 5:30. ASC’s volunteer organization Art Krewe along with MK Distributors are sponsoring the reception.

The state tour is organized and sponsored by the Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts (ACNMWA).

The exhibition features work by Arkansas artists Michele Fox, Amanda Heinbockel, Robyn Horn, and Holly Laws. As the title suggests, all the works include metal as the primary or accent medium. The works range in size and form, and include pieces such as wooden and steel installations and finely detailed silver jewelry.

“The four artists featured in this Women to Watch exhibit have worked with metal in a variety of ways: casting bronze, soldering gold, welding iron and crocheting silver,” said Barbara Satterfield, chair of the ACNMWA Exhibition Committee. “The show is a great mixed-media idea lab for form as well as function.”

The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) in Washington, D.C., developed the Women to Watch exhibit program to increase the visibility of and critical response to promising female artists. The program features artists from the states and countries in which the museum has outreach committees. NMWA curators select the theme, and local arts professionals curate submissions to the national museum.

Holly Laws’ mixed-media installations  Placeholder  (front) and  Three Eastern Bluebird s (right) and were selected for inclusion in the national exhibit at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) in Washington, D.C.

Holly Laws’ mixed-media installations Placeholder (front) and Three Eastern Bluebirds (right) and were selected for inclusion in the national exhibit at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) in Washington, D.C.

ACNMWA is the only affiliate of the national museum to organize statewide tours of work by its nominees to the national competitive. Heavy Metal is the fifth in the biennial series that is seen by an average of 5,000 Arkansans across the state, according to the ACNMWA. The 2019 state tour premiered in February at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville. The exhibition will have traveled to eight venues across the state when the tour wraps in November.

ACNMW’s guest curator Matthew Smith selected the national nominees and the four Arkansas artists featured in the 2019 state tour. “These artists have created new traditions and extended existing boundaries, developing their vision with the use of metal,” Smith wrote in his curatorial essay. “From sculpture to delicate pieces of jewelry, they have informed our understanding of metal’s potential: its conceptual malleability and its dynamic potential.”

Laws’ mixed-media installations Three Eastern Bluebirds and Placeholder were selected for inclusion in the national exhibit, which was held at the NMWA from June 28–September 16, 2018.

The exhibition is on display at ASC through Saturday, June 22. Its next stop is the Arts Center of the Ozarks in Springdale.

The Artists

Michele Fox, She wanted to be beautiful, 2017. copper craft wire, assorted hardware, scrap copper, 14k gold filled wire and chain, glass beads, argentium sterling wire, gray tiger eye beads, and suede. IMAGE COURTESY Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Michele Fox, She wanted to be beautiful, 2017. copper craft wire, assorted hardware, scrap copper, 14k gold filled wire and chain, glass beads, argentium sterling wire, gray tiger eye beads, and suede. IMAGE COURTESY Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Michele Fox of Little Rock began working with metal at the Arkansas Arts Center Museum School. She first exhibited with a series titled “Safety Nets”; the work focused on the primitive need for safety that she experienced while going through a year of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy.

“Every piece of jewelry she creates is a unique, fully functional work of art,” Matthew Smith wrote of Fox’s work in his curatorial essay. “The idea of rigidity in her metal materials completely disappears as the lines of her works intertwine amongst themselves. Fox’s skillful combination of manmade metal wire and nature-made materials results in wearable and fashionable fine art.”

Fox’s fine art jewelry can be found in The Galleries at Library Square, located in the Bobby L. Roberts Library of Arkansas History and Art in Little Rock.

A medical doctor, Fox is a blood banking and transfusion medicine specialist and professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Services at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.

“I am a physician with an alternate life as an artist, who started using fiber techniques to make metal or mixed-media jewelry because the tactile sense of how jewelry feels is as important to me as how it looks,” she wrote in her artist statement.

Amanda Heinbockel, For Mimi, 2017, sterling silver and brass. IMAGE COURTESY Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Amanda Heinbockel, For Mimi, 2017, sterling silver and brass. IMAGE COURTESY Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Amanda Heinbockel of Little Rock is an art teacher at Central High School. She recently exhibited at Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock, and North Little Rock’s Argenta Branch Library and Thea Foundation.

Before joining the Central High faculty, Heinebockel completed an artist residency at Elsewhere: A Living Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in studio art from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Secondary Education degree from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock.

Heinbockel’s pieces in Heavy Metal include jewelry and small, detailed sculptures. Some pieces include symbols from her childhood experiences. She made the brass Reliquary for Cindy Bird in memory of the last pet cockatiel she had growing up. The brooch For Mimi included a silver bloom of her grandmother’s favorite flower (gardenia) and a tomato vine (a staple in her grandmother’s garden). A sterling silver ring (Root Ring) opens to reveal a root design. While several pieces feature plant anatomy, the silver and enameled copper earrings Digestive System focus on human anatomy.

Robyn Horn, #1263 Industrial Series NO. 19 “Star Wheel,” 2017, pine and steel. IMAGE COURTESY Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Robyn Horn, #1263 Industrial Series NO. 19 “Star Wheel,” 2017, pine and steel. IMAGE COURTESY Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Robyn Horn’s work is in museum collections around the country. Among them are the Arts & Science Center, the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Asheville Art Museum, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Detroit Institute of Art, Museum of Arts + Design in New York, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. Her work can also be seen in galleries such as Greg Thompson Fine Art in North Little Rock and Justus Fine Art Gallery in Hot Springs.

In addition to her contributions as an artist, Horn has long been engaged in numerous state and national arts organizations and foundations.

Horn has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Art from Hendrix College in Conway. Horn has worked in other mediums such as painting and photography but she is most known for her abstract, geometrical, textural wood sculptures. She has worked in the medium for more than 30 years, and was awarded the prestigious Arkansas Living Treasure Award in 2008 for her work as a wood sculptor.

Her seven pieces in Heavy Metal reflect her exploration of metal in her recent works.

“I have used steel in different ways, employing it as a material of strength in my Steel Series, and using it as an accent in my Industrial Series to augment my wood sculptures,” Horn wrote in her artist statement. “Lately, I have come to see the conceptual aspect of steel and cast iron in my work as a way of questioning process or function.”

Detail of Holly Law’s placeholder, 2017, cast bronze, found ironing board, and plywood pedestal. IMAGE COURTESY Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Detail of Holly Law’s placeholder, 2017, cast bronze, found ironing board, and plywood pedestal. IMAGE COURTESY Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Holly Laws of Mayflower is a sculptor and also creates multimedia installations. She is an associate professor of art at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway where she teaches three-dimensional design and sculpture. Before joining the UCA faculty, Laws worked with Bread and Puppet Theater in New York City and with several motion picture studios in set dressing, custom fabrication, and prop design.S

She has exhibited in galleries and museums across the country including the Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock; the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.; the Flaten Museum of Art at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota; the David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island; Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts, Muriel Guépin Gallery, and the Spring/Break Art Show, in New York City.

She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Tyler School of Art, Temple University.

Laws’ three large mixed-media sculptures in Heavy Metal were created as part of a larger body of work titled Bellwether, which began in the fall of 2016 “as a response to my sadness over the divisive state of affairs in the American political landscape,” she wrote in her artist statement. “I wanted to explore the horrible disconnect between the citizens of this nation: the miscommunication, the polarization, and the hate. The resurgence of overt misogyny and the backlash against feminism were of particular interest to me.”

Volunteers Recognized at 2019 Awards Night

2019 Good Egg Awards recipients were Charlotte England (from left), Donna Oates, Pam Holcomb, Yunru (Rachel) Shinn and Bill Moss. The five were among those honored during the Arts & Science Center’s Volunteer Night awards and reception on Thursday, April 11. The awards were crafted by glassmaker  James Hayes .­

2019 Good Egg Awards recipients were Charlotte England (from left), Donna Oates, Pam Holcomb, Yunru (Rachel) Shinn and Bill Moss. The five were among those honored during the Arts & Science Center’s Volunteer Night awards and reception on Thursday, April 11. The awards were crafted by glassmaker James Hayes

Troy DeBill, former ASC Board Chair, was honored with the 2019 Margaret Spearman Memorial Volunteer of the Year. The award was crafted by glassmaker James Hayes.­

Troy DeBill, former ASC Board Chair, was honored with the 2019 Margaret Spearman Memorial Volunteer of the Year. The award was crafted by glassmaker James Hayes.­

The Arts & Science Center honored dedicated volunteers with an awards presentation and reception at the 2019 Volunteer Night on Thursday, April 11.

The awards and recipients are:

Jonathan Hoover was honored with the 2019 Catherine M. Bellamy Award for the Performing Arts during the Arts & Science Center’s Volunteer Night awards and reception on Thursday, April 11.

Jonathan Hoover was honored with the 2019 Catherine M. Bellamy Award for the Performing Arts during the Arts & Science Center’s Volunteer Night awards and reception on Thursday, April 11.

  • 2019 Margaret Spearman Memorial Volunteer of the Year: Troy DeBill. “Troy has been an immense help over the years,” said ASC Executive Director Dr. Rachel Miller. “She tends to volunteer herself without even being asked, and her love of ASC is evident through the selfless contributions of her time.”

  • 2019 Catherine M. Bellamy Award for the Performing Arts: Jonathan Hoover. “Jonathan’s service to The Arts & Science Center is without limits,” said ASC Theatre Education Coordinator Lindsey Collins. “Whenever a production or event is in need of any assistance, the one person you know you can always depend on is Jonathan. No job is too big or too small.”

  • 2019 Good Egg Award recipients:

    • Charlotte England, for her work at receptions and special events;

    • Pam Holcomb, for her costume work for several ASC productions;

    • Bill Moss, for his behind-the-scenes volunteerism and unwavering advocacy for ASC;

    • Donna Oates, for her costume work for several ASC productions;

    • Yunru (Rachel) Shen, for her work on Second Saturday Family FunDay and TinkerFest programming.

    • A new award was introduced this year, the tongue-in-cheek “Volun-Tolds” — a special recognition of Scottie Abernathy, Jeff Collins, Rich DeBill, Kenny Fisher, Michael Healy, Mike Kline, and Mike Lake “for their continued patience and willingness to be volunteered by their significant others for countless ASC events, productions, and programming.” The honorees received personalized beer “huggies” from NovelTs.

A compilation of videos submitted by past and present volunteers was shown following the awards presentation. Volunteers — which also included past ASC production cast and crew — were asked to submit short videos of themselves sharing their volunteer contributions to ASC.

Rich DeBill (from left), Michael Healy, Mike Lake, Jeff Collins, Mike Kline, Kenny Fisher and Scottie Abernathy (not pictured) were honored “for their continued patience and willingness to be volunteered by their significant others for countless ASC events, productions, and programming” with awards dubbed “The Volun-Tolds.” The honorees received personalized beer “huggies” from NovelTs.

Rich DeBill (from left), Michael Healy, Mike Lake, Jeff Collins, Mike Kline, Kenny Fisher and Scottie Abernathy (not pictured) were honored “for their continued patience and willingness to be volunteered by their significant others for countless ASC events, productions, and programming” with awards dubbed “The Volun-Tolds.” The honorees received personalized beer “huggies” from NovelTs.

Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel Co. and MK Distributors sponsored the event.

Art Krewe, a volunteer group of community art lovers who have hosted ASC’s receptions for more than 25 years, hosted the reception.

Those interested in volunteering at ASC can find out more on ASC’s volunteer webpage or by calling 870-536-3375. Application forms are available online or can be picked up at ASC’s front desk.

 

Explore 'Sun, Earth, Universe' in Hands-On Exhibition

Design, build, and test your own spacecraft model that has key tools needed to complete a NASA mission at the Design>Build>Test station.

Design, build, and test your own spacecraft model that has key tools needed to complete a NASA mission at the Design>Build>Test station.

One of the stations in the Sun, Earth, Universe exhibitions lets visitors use an infrared camera, an ultraviolet (UV) light, a magnifying glass, and a magnetic field detector to reveal information not visible to human eyes.

One of the stations in the Sun, Earth, Universe exhibitions lets visitors use an infrared camera, an ultraviolet (UV) light, a magnifying glass, and a magnetic field detector to reveal information not visible to human eyes.

Visitors can learn how NASA missions are designed to help answer the big questions about our planet, our solar system and the wider universe in ASC’s latest exhibition, Sun, Earth, Universe.

Kids and adults can engineer their own model spacecraft and test its durability for surviving the forces of a rocket launch. They’ll get experience using tools that help researchers see the invisible aspects of space. And visitors will see how data collected can be presented in different forms to help broaden our understandings of what’s happening in space.

Explore seven hands-on stations:

We Ask Questions About the Sun: Compare images of that show the Sun at periods of high activity, called the solar maximum, and periods of low activity, the solar minimum.

We Ask Questions About the Universe: Are we alone? Spin a tumbler of 10,000 beads, representing all of the stars we can see from Earth to search for the unique one that represents our Sun.

We Ask Questions About the Solar System: What is it like on other planets? Use colored blocks to create a topographic map of elevations on Venus to learn how scientists use color to visualize data.

We Ask Questions About the Earth: How is Earth changing? Compare before and after satellite images of Earth to see how human-caused actions impact our home.

Design>Build>Test engineering activity: Design, build, and test your own spacecraft model that has key tools needed to complete a NASA mission.

Your Mission to Space board game: Put all your space mission-planning knowledge to the test by playing this board game. Will your mission be the first to be completed? What will you discover?

Use Tools to Detect the Invisible: Use an infrared camera, an ultraviolet (UV) light, a magnifying glass, and a magnetic field detector to reveal information not visible to human eyes.

The exhibition was created by the National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE Network) in collaboration with NASA. NISE Network is a community of informal educators and scientists dedicated to supporting learning about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) across the United States. The Arkansas tour of the exhibition is made possible by a NISE grant to the Arkansas Discovery Network, of which the Arts & Science Center is a member.

The exhibition is on display in the Simmons Gallery through Saturday, June 29.

Summer Camps Offer Fun, Learning in Arts, STEAM, Film, Theatre

Engineering & Technology is one of two STEAM camps offered at ASC this summer. Other Camps are Game Design & Development, Art I, Art II, Filmmaking, Theatre, and Theatre Jr.

Engineering & Technology is one of two STEAM camps offered at ASC this summer. Other Camps are Game Design & Development, Art I, Art II, Filmmaking, Theatre, and Theatre Jr.

Limited Number of Scholarships Available

Spring is in its early days, but registration is already underway for the Arts & Science Center’s 2019 summer camps.

Students ages 7-17 can explore topics such as art, engineering, technology, game design and development, filmmaking, and theatre.

Art Camp II 2018June12 lo res-0116.jpg

ART

Art I is a half-day camp (June 10-14) for ages 7-12. Art II is a full-day camp (July 22-26) for ages 13-17.

Both camps include lessons in drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture with exploration of current ASC art exhibitions. Students will create 2D and 3D projects, and focus not only on artistic methods and working with different media, but also appreciating how to create and visualize art through nontraditional means. ASC Public Programs Coordinator Shakeelah Rahmaan will lead the art camps with workshops by guest instructors.

Art I will include a “puddle painting” workshop with guest artist Jeannie Stone. Art II will feature Build Your Own Altar with guest artist Suzannah Schreckhise. Both artists have works featured in the Our Front Porch exhibit, on view at ASC from April 25 through July 27.

Film Camp 2018Jul18-0118 72dpi.jpg

FILMMAKING

In Filmmaking Camp (July 8-12), students ages 7-17 will experience all of the technological, creative and artistic aspects of filmmaking. They will explore storytelling as an art form, by developing a film idea, shooting the video, recording audio and editing their creation.

Eva Belle, mass communication instructor and debate coach at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, leads the camp.

One can see how much fun students had during the 2018 camp by checking out the films they created. (Last year’s camp films will also be shown at the 2019 UAPB Film Festival on April 10.)

Engineering and Tech camp hi-res 2018June-0314.jpg

STEAM

ASC Digital Media Specialist Ashley Smith will lead the two STEAM camps, which are for ages 13-17.

Through hands-on building and experimentation, Engineering & Technology (July 15-19) students will be introduced to electric circuits, LEDs and switches, stop-motion animation, computer coding and apps, conductors and semiconductors, programming motors and app development.

Game Design & Development (July 15-19) students will use virtual development to learn the fundamentals of creating a game through computer programming and animation, creative problem solving, mathematics, storytelling and teamwork.

Students can enroll in both half-day camps for a full day of STEAM learning with a discounted fee.

Junior Production 2018July13 lo res-0784 cropped.jpg

Theatre

Justin A. Pike returns to lead the theatre camps.

Theatre Camp is full-day, month-long (June 3-28) immersive camp for students ages 13-17. They will learn all aspect of theater production: from directing to acting, from scenery construction to light & sound design. Through theater, students will practice creativity and innovation while they improve their skills in performance, collaboration, and technology. The camp will culminate in a junior production.

Theatre Jr. Camp, a half-day, two-week (June 17-28) camp for ages 7-12, will introduce the basic concepts of storytelling, acting technique, and production tech. Students will have fun with lively drama games designed to support the budding thespian in your student. The camp will culminate with a skit performed for family and friends. 

Pike is artistic director of The Studio Theatre in Little Rock, and director of the Young Players Second Stage program at The Royal Theater in Benton. Pike studied theater at the University of Central Arkansas.

SCHOLARSHIPS

A limited number of scholarships are available; eligibility is based on financial need, including household income and household size. The deadline for submitting scholarship applications is 10 days before the first day of the camp begins, but parents are encouraged to submit applications as soon as possible. Scholarship application forms are available online or picked up at ASC’s front desk.

Windgate Foundation, Ben J. Altheimer Foundation, and the June and Edmond Freeman Endowment are among the organizations graciously contributing to ASC’s scholarship fund.

EXTENDED CARE

Extended care is available for parents and guardians who need a little extra time to pick up their children from camp. Extended care lasts until 1 hour past the camps’ designated end time. Cost is $5 per day preregistered, or $8 per day unplanned. 

Advanced registration is required for all camps. Camp registration and more details are available at the summer camp web page. For more information, email ASC Public Programs Coordinator Shakeelah Rahmaan at srahmaan@asc701.org or ASC Theatre Education Coordinator Lindsey Collins at or lcollins@asc701.org, or call 870-536-3375.

ASC to Honor Volunteers with Awards, Reception

Volunteer Night Set for Thursday, April 11

Like many nonprofit organizations, the Arts & Science Center could not serve its community and fulfill its mission without dedicated volunteers.

Five volunteers will receive a Good Egg award — crafted by glassmaker James Hayes — during ASC’s Volunteer Night on Thursday, April 11.

Five volunteers will receive a Good Egg award — crafted by glassmaker James Hayes — during ASC’s Volunteer Night on Thursday, April 11.

ASC’s Volunteer Night, set for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 11, is a celebration of the those who have given their time at the Arts & Science Center over the past year.

The event, sponsored by Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel Co., is free and open to the public. A reception will follow and is hosted by Art Krewe, a volunteer group of community art lovers who have hosted ASC’s receptions for more than 25 years.

“As a small staff museum with a lot to offer, our volunteers are essential to the success of ASC's events, programs, and day-to-day operations,” said ASC Executive Director Dr. Rachel Miller. “These community members' willingness to help wherever help is needed is absolutely invaluable. Their support and love of ASC and what we provide our community keeps us strong and relevant.”

The 2019 recipient of the Catherine M. Bellamy Award for the Performing Arts is Jonathan Hoover.

“Jonathan’s service to the Arts & Science Center is without limits,” said ASC Theater Education Coordinator Lindsey Collins. “Jonathan is, without a doubt, the man you call if you need help in the theatre. Whenever a production needs assistance, you can always depend on Jonathan to show up and help. Whether it’s directing a show or running a spotlight, he’s willing to pitch in anywhere the theatre needs it.”

Hoover regularly works with ASC’s theatrical programs and events such as Potpourri. He is a logistics analyst at the Pine Bluff Arsenal.

The 2019 recipient of the Margaret Spearman Memorial Volunteer of the Year award is Troy DeBill. “Troy has been an immense help over the years,“ Miller said. “She tends to volunteer herself without even being asked, and her love of ASC is evident through the selfless contributions of her time.”

DeBill, who is the past Chair of ASC’s Board of Trustees, regularly leads classes at ASC such as Canvas & Cork and Wood & Wine. She served as co-Chair for ASC’s biennial fundraising gala, Potpourri, in 2018. She is the EAST facilitator at White Hall Middle School.

ASC will also give out Good Egg Awards. “Those are people who also have really gone above and beyond for their volunteer work,” Collins said.

Good Egg Award recipients include Pam Holcomb and Donna Oates for their work on costumes for several ASC productions; Charlotte England for her work at receptions and special events; Bill Moss for his behind-the-scenes volunteerism and unwavering advocacy for ASC; and UAPB Merchandising, Textiles & Design faculty member Yunru (Rachel) Shen, for her volunteer work on Family FunDay and TinkerFest programming.

The Good Egg awards are crafted by glassmaker James Hayes.

The final award category is a bit tongue-in-cheek.

“This year, we’re adding a special recognition of a few men for their continued patience and willingness to be volunteered by their significant others for ASC events, productions, and programming,” Collins said. Those awards will go to Mike Kline, Michael Healey, Rich DeBill, Jeff Collins, Kenny Fisher, Mike Lake, and Scottie Abernathy.

During Volunteer Night, a video will be shown featuring interviews with volunteers who have donated their time over the past 50 years with the Arts & Science Center. Volunteers are asked to submit a video of 5 minutes or less of themselves sharing their volunteer contributions to ASC. The videos may be sent via email to lcollins@asc701.org by Saturday, April 6.

“I can’t stress enough how important volunteers are, especially with the theatre and a lot of the things that go on here at the center. Volunteers are important. We need them,” Collins said.

Vaughns Brings Hollywood Magic to ASC

Byron Vaughns draws  Tiny Toon Adventures  character Buster Bunny at Warner Bros. Studios in the early 1990s. Vaughns, who graduated from UAPB and lives in White Hall, won an Emmy in 1993 when he was director of the cartoon series. PHOTO COURTESY BYRON VAUGHNS, COPYRIGHT WARNER BROS. STUDIOS AND BYRON VAUGHNS

Byron Vaughns draws Tiny Toon Adventures character Buster Bunny at Warner Bros. Studios in the early 1990s. Vaughns, who graduated from UAPB and lives in White Hall, won an Emmy in 1993 when he was director of the cartoon series. PHOTO COURTESY BYRON VAUGHNS, COPYRIGHT WARNER BROS. STUDIOS AND BYRON VAUGHNS

Cartoonist, Director and UAPB Grad Screens The Adventures of Brer Rabbit During Crossroad Festival

Byron Vaughns directed the 2006 Universal Pictures animated film,  The Adventures of Brer Rabbit . ASC will screen the film at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 3, as part of the 2019 Crossroad Festival.

Byron Vaughns directed the 2006 Universal Pictures animated film, The Adventures of Brer Rabbit. ASC will screen the film at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 3, as part of the 2019 Crossroad Festival.

By Shannon Frazeur

If you or your children watched cartoons in the 1980s or ‘90s, it’s likely Byron Vaughns had a hand in one of your favorites.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Alvin & the Chipmunks, The Smurfs, Tiny Toon Adventures, and Animaniacs are just a handful that Vaughns worked on as a storyboard artist or director.

Vaughns, who lives in White Hall and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, is the 2019 Crossroad Festival special guest. The Arts & Science Center will close out the festival with a screening of his 2006 Universal Pictures animated film The Adventures of Brer Rabbit at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 3. Vaughns will take part in a question-and-answer session and a showing of his artwork following the film.

The event is free and open to the public, and no tickets or registration are required.

The screening is a bit of a homecoming celebration for Vaughns; he moved back to Jefferson County in 2015 after more than three decades in Los Angeles, where his longtime love of cartoons and animation, and a desire to work in the industry, took him.

Vaughns was born in Memphis, and raised in West Memphis, Arkansas. Still a teenager, his first paying job was drawing editorial cartoons for The Evening Times newspaper in West Memphis.

“I was always interested in cartoons — whether it was animation or comic books or comic strips,” Vaughns said.

He and his family moved to Pine Bluff in 1972. He enrolled in the Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College (AM&N) — now UAPB — where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in art.

“Pine Bluff Paradise” was a comic Byron Vaughns created in the 1970s that ran in the Pine Bluff Commercial. It followed the adventures of two boys — one black and one white — who went around discovering new things to do in the city. IMAGE COURTESY BYRON VAUGHNS, COPYRIGHT BYRON VAUGHNS

“Pine Bluff Paradise” was a comic Byron Vaughns created in the 1970s that ran in the Pine Bluff Commercial. It followed the adventures of two boys — one black and one white — who went around discovering new things to do in the city. IMAGE COURTESY BYRON VAUGHNS, COPYRIGHT BYRON VAUGHNS

“It was a valuable learning experience in the art department under various instructors, especially Henri Linton,” Vaughns said.

In the mid 1970s, he freelanced as an editorial cartoonist for the Pine Bluff Commercial and ended up creating a comic strip for the paper. “Pine Bluff Paradise” followed the adventures of Jeremy and Berry, two young boys (one white and one black) went around discovering new things to do in the city.

He landed a job as a graphic designer at KATV Channel 7 in Little Rock, creating news and weather graphics. He also animated “Gusty,” KATV’s popular news mascot in the 1970s and ‘80s.

After a couple of years, Vaughns wanted to try something new, so he went to the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock to be an animation director for a film. He went on to other jobs — including as an artist-in-residence in Hope and working at a sign company.

“Eventually I knew that I wanted to do something related more to cartooning than what I was doing,” Vaughns said. “In Arkansas, I found out it was very difficult finding work in the types of things I was interested in.”

His family encouraged him to take a big leap, and he moved to Los Angeles in 1980.

“I was introduced more to the way things worked in Hollywood,” Vaughns said. “You pretty much had to knock on some doors — the right doors.” Through a North Little Rock animator with whom he was acquainted, Vaughns met Art Leonardi, who had worked on the classic Pink Panther cartoons. That meeting led him to the Screen Cartoonists Union.

Byron Vaughns worked at Warner Bros. Studios in the 1990s on such shows as  Tiny Toon Adventures , which featuring a new generation of Warner Bros. characters like Buster Bunny, Babs Bunny, and Plucky Duck. PHOTO COURTESY BYRON VAUGHNS, COPYRIGHT WARNER BROS. STUDIOS AND BYRON VAUGHNS

Byron Vaughns worked at Warner Bros. Studios in the 1990s on such shows as Tiny Toon Adventures, which featuring a new generation of Warner Bros. characters like Buster Bunny, Babs Bunny, and Plucky Duck. PHOTO COURTESY BYRON VAUGHNS, COPYRIGHT WARNER BROS. STUDIOS AND BYRON VAUGHNS

“That place was a good entry to that specific type of work because they taught various things you needed to know, like basic mechanics in animation,” Vaughns said. “You took classes with them and eventually they gave you some real background in the field. There were various divisions of labor and you ended up learning how to be a storyboard artist or a visual development artist, or a timing director — the list is quite long. It was a great way to learn back then.”

Vaughns’ perseverance landed him work as a storyboard artist at Filmation Studios. The first series he worked on was Hero High — a segment of The Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam! show that aired Saturday mornings on NBC — about the adventures of teenage superheroes.

“After that it, I was just jumping into one show after the other after the other,” Vaughns said.

Byron Vaughns won an Emmy in 1993 for directing  Tiny Toon Adventures , which was named Outstanding Animated Program. IMAGE COURTESY BYRON VAUGHNS

Byron Vaughns won an Emmy in 1993 for directing Tiny Toon Adventures, which was named Outstanding Animated Program. IMAGE COURTESY BYRON VAUGHNS

Around that time, Vaughns was taking classes from a former Warner Bros. animator who held free animation classes in his garage. “Ben Washam was a very talented animator who worked on many of the classic Bugs Bunny cartoons and was very generous.”

Other Filmation series Vaughns worked on include Blackstar, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, and Bravo & The Prairie People.

Vaughns stayed there long enough to receive good training doing storyboards, he said. After that, he moved into assistant animation.

“It’s kind of a nomad existence to work around Hollywood on these things. Wherever the work is in Hollywood, that’s where I would go,” Vaughns said.

Other series he worked on as a storyboard artist or story director include The Care Bears Family, Alvin & the Chipmunks, and The Smurfs, with work on shows such as Rainbow Brite, The Berenstain Bears, and the animated Punky Brewster series sprinkled in.

“After doing storyboarding, I ended up being a director in animation and I also became a producer,” Vaughns said. “So, I would just wear different hats.”

It was during his time directing Tiny Toon Adventures — which followed the antics of a new generation of Warner Bros. characters such as Buster Bunny, Babs Bunny, and Plucky Duck — in which he won an Emmy. Tiny Toon Adventures was named Outstanding Animated Program at the 1993 Daytime Emmys.

Vaughns and his wife, Betty Jean, released their film  Buddy T’s Little Theater  in 2001 with their production company, Byron Vaughns Productions Inc. IMAGE COURTESY AND COPYRIGHT BYRON VAUGHNS

Vaughns and his wife, Betty Jean, released their film Buddy T’s Little Theater in 2001 with their production company, Byron Vaughns Productions Inc. IMAGE COURTESY AND COPYRIGHT BYRON VAUGHNS

Vaughns continued throughout the 1990s and 2000s as a director, producer, and storyboard artist on a variety of projects, both long- and short-form. He worked on Animaniacs, The Pink Panther, The Lionhearts, and Clifford the Big Red Dog, and produced the 2000 direct-to-video film Casper's Haunted Christmas.

Two of Vaughns’ favorite projects were animated pilots for Nickelodeon: La-D-Da and the musical short Blotto, which he produced and directed.

In the 1990s, Vaughns and his wife, Betty Jean, launched their own production company, Byron Vaughns Productions Inc. The company released Buddy T’s Little Theater, a film dedicated to African American history, in 2001.

The Vaughns also owned and operated Animation Creations, a cartoon workshop for kids.

Fun Time with Grandmo Evelyn.  Written by Evelyn Elizabeth Hughes-Bass, illustrated by Byron Vaughns.

Fun Time with Grandmo Evelyn. Written by Evelyn Elizabeth Hughes-Bass, illustrated by Byron Vaughns.

Betty Jean was instrumental to his career and in running their businesses. “Betty was extremely helpful and supportive in the many phases of my work. I called her my ‘computer guru.’ I wonder if I would have pursued operating an animation workshop studio for kids without her input. Her background was in art education at UAPB, and she naturally fell into that role when we ran Animation Creations. She was also excellent in handling contractual and legal details.”

“She was quite creative, too. She helped me write lyrics on Blotto and did some voiceover work on both La-D-Da and Buddy T’s Little Theater.”

Vaughns took a break from work when Betty Jean died in 2013. “I pretty much kind of folded the tents for a while.” He did storyboards on two Tom and Jerry movies, but work “slowed to a crawl,” he said.

In 2015, Vaughns moved back Arkansas to help out his family. Although he is now far from Hollywood, he hasn’t retired from cartooning and continues to seek projects. Since his return to in Arkansas, he has done some work for DC Comics and drawn caricatures.

He’s also extending his talents to new concepts, illustrating the children’s book Fun Time with Grandmo Evelyn by Evelyn Elizabeth Hughes-Bass.

The Adventures of Brer Rabbit

In the mid 2000s, Universal Studios was developing a direct-to-video movie featuring the folk stories of Brer Rabbit — and they were interested in bringing on Vaughns as director.

The movie was to be based on Dr. Julius Lester’s 1999 update of the Uncle Remus tales, which followed the antics of a mischievous rabbit, narrated by an African American. The original version of the Uncle Remus stories, written by Joel Chandler Harris in the late 1800s, has been steeped in controversy over the years in part because of a white writer using what many considered to be stereotypical African American dialects. Disney adapted Harris’ stories for its 1946 film Song of the South. The movie experienced some popularity but has never been released to the home video market in the United States.

Lester retained the essence of the stories but dropped Harris’ heavy dialect in favor of contemporary language and references. “I think he did an excellent job making them much more palatable to kids today,” Vaughns said.

The actors who leant their voices to The Adventures of Brer Rabbit included Nick Cannon (Brer Rabbit), D.L. Hughley (Brer Fox), Wayne Brady (Brer Wolf), Danny Glover (Brer Turtle), and Wanda Sykes (Sister Moon).


What does the director of an animated movie do?

“Directors of animated films wear many different hats at the same time. Duties vary from studio to studio, but generally speaking, they need to have a background in animation, storyboarding, and timing, know how to spot music and sound effects, and give direction to voice-over actors,” Vaughns explained. “Because animation directors have to supervise the backgrounds and color, they have to think like art directors too.”

“It was a lot of fun to work on with exceptionally talented people,” Vaughns said. “Out of all those people, D.L. Hughley was really funny. And I’d never heard of him. I thought, ‘This guy’s got a lot of talent,’ and that’s why he’s still a top performer. Danny Glover was really good. He gave it a lot of credibility. Wanda Sykes was very entertaining.”

“All these people were just so professional. These actors really knew their stuff. Universal found some great people to do the voiceover work.”

The Adventures of Brer Rabbit was nominated for an Annie Award, the highest award in animation.

Vaughns hopes viewers will seek out the written works.

“Once you get into it, you can see there’s some genuine entertainment in the stories. And when you look further, you’ll see that there’s a story behind the story. These are humor tales originally from slaves. That’s a simplistic way of looking at it. These are like hand-me-down stories from people who believed in entertaining themselves even then — during all kinds of challenges.”

ASC’s screening of The Adventures of Brer Rabbit is 1 p.m. Sunday, March 3, followed by a question-and-answer session and artwork showing with Vaughns. The event is free and open to the public. No tickets or registration required.

The Adventures of Brer Rabbit is available for purchase or rent via Amazon, iTunes, and other retail outlets.


Dr. Julius Lester’s 1999 book,  Uncle Remus: The Complete Tales , was a retelling of folktales made popular in the late 1800s by Joel Chandler Harris.

Dr. Julius Lester’s 1999 book, Uncle Remus: The Complete Tales, was a retelling of folktales made popular in the late 1800s by Joel Chandler Harris.

A Brief Look at Brer Rabbit and Uncle Remus

Variants of the tales involving a trickster rabbit and other animals, passed on through the oral tradition, are found throughout the world in regions including Europe, the Philippines, India, Africa, Corsica, Colombia and Brazil, and among several American Indian tribes.

For instance, the characters of Bouki (a fox) and Lapin (a rabbit) appear in traditional French Creole stories similar to the Brer Rabbit tales. Scholar Dr. Elista Istre will share these stories during the Folktales Family Fun session of the Crossroad Festival, at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 2.

In the United States, the most popular version comes from Joel Chandler Harris’ Uncle Remus collections published in the late 1800s.

Harris (1848-1908), who was white, worked at a newspaper from 1862 to 1866 that was published on a Georgia plantation. There he heard the tales told by slaves working on the plantation.

After he joined the Atlanta Constitution in 1876, he began publishing “Uncle Remus” stories — tales he said were told to him by slaves on the plantation. The stories were popular, and three Remus books followed: Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings­ (1880), Nights with Uncle Remus (1883), and Uncle Remus and His Friends (1892). Numerous other volumes of the tales were published during his lifetime and posthumously.

Harris’ Uncle Remus tales have been the source of controversy for decades, considered by some to be unfavorable if not racist to African Americans. For one, the characters speak with heavy African American dialects. Harris has also been seen as stealing these tales from slaves, while others believe that his writings have preserved an important part of African American cultural heritage.

These stories were the basis of Disney’s 1946 film Song of the South. The movie was notable at the time of its release for its combination of live action and animation. James Baskett, the actor who portrayed Uncle Remus during the live action segments, was even awarded a special Oscar for his performance.

Dr. Julius Lester

Dr. Julius Lester

Like its source material, Song of the South has been viewed less than favorably. (Even shortly after its premiere, The New York Times reported December 14, 1946, a picket line outside a Manhattan theater.) The movie enjoyed enough popularity to be re-released in theaters several times over the next four decades, lastly in 1986 for its 40th anniversary. It has never been released on videocassette or DVD in the United States.

Despite its lack of circulation in the last three decades, aspects of the film are present in current culture. Disney’s theme park ride Splash Mountain features the movie’s Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Fox characters, with “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” as the ride’s main song.

Author, folklorist, and activist Dr. Julius Lester (1939-2018) retold the stories with his 1999 book Uncle Remus: The Complete Tales. Lester, who was African American, refreshed the tales by using contemporary language and references and dropping the heavy dialect.

That version was the basis of the 2006 Universal Pictures animated film The Adventures of Brer Rabbit, which ASC will screen at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 3, with the film’s director, Byron Vaughns.

Lester’s reinterpreted animal stories are also a part of the Crossroad Festival’s “Tricksters, Tales, and Blues Notes” program at 7 p.m. Friday, March 1. Lester had a local connection — he grew up spending summers in Pine Bluff with his grandmother.

Crossroad Festival­ Explores Southeast Arkansas’s Cultural Heritage

Family-Friendly Programming Highlights African American, French, and CHinese Communities’ Contributions through Story, Music, Food and Film

Crossroad Festival logo.png

By Shannon Frazeur

The Arts & Science Center invites the community to learn more about the area’s cultural heritage during the 2019 Crossroad Festival, ASC’s three-day, family-friendly cultural celebration. This multi-program event explores Jefferson County and Southeast Arkansas’s cultural heritage through the interpretive lens of story, music, foodways, and film.

All festival events are free and open to the public with no tickets or reservations required. Families are encouraged to attend.

Attendees of Folktales Family Fun, 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 2, will be invited to make masks of the French Creole folktale characters Bouki (left) and Lapin. (PHOTO COURTESY DR. ELISTA ISTRE)

Attendees of Folktales Family Fun, 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 2, will be invited to make masks of the French Creole folktale characters Bouki (left) and Lapin. (PHOTO COURTESY DR. ELISTA ISTRE)

Each year, the festival highlights different cultural groups that have made a lasting impact on the history, culture, and traditions of Southeast Arkansas. This year’s event features programming on the African American, French and Chinese communities’ regional cultural heritage.

“It’s not a festival in the contemporary sense with food and product vendors,” said ASC Executive Director Dr. Rachel Miller. “Instead, it’s a celebration.”

The festival kicks off Friday, March 1, at 7 p.m. with a program incorporating African American folktales and slave narratives into an interpretative performance involving musicians and actors from the community. Saturday, March 2, features two family programs featuring folklore and food, with hands-on activities. The event caps off Sunday afternoon, March 3, with a screening of the 2006 animated film The Adventures of Brer Rabbit, with director and Pine Bluff native Byron Vaughns.

The 2019 Crossroad Festival is supported in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and sponsorships by the Pine Bluff Advertising & Promotion Commission and Simmons Bank.

This is the second year for the Crossroad Festival. Last year’s festival focused on the region’s Quapaw Indian, French, and African American cultural heritage.

The Crossroad Festival was inspired by ASC’s Heritage Detectives project. A historian and artist were placed in Pine Bluff, Dumas, McGehee, and Lake Village classrooms to work with students on uncovering and depicting the diverse cultural influences of Southeast Arkansas through pictorial histories.

The festival idea percolated after ASC staff attended cultural programs at other institutes.

“The event was first initially conceptualized after staff attended the FUSION: Arts & Humanities Arkansas festival hosted by the Clinton Presidential Center in February 2017,” explained ASC Executive Director Dr. Rachel Miller. “In discussion with members of the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma Cultural Committee, it was determined that there would be an audience for a similar event, but specifically focusing on the Quapaw’s history and legacy in Jefferson County.”

ASC will host a screening of the animated film  The Adventures of Brer Rabbit  on Sunday, March 3, at 1 p.m. during the Crossroad Festival.

ASC will host a screening of the animated film The Adventures of Brer Rabbit on Sunday, March 3, at 1 p.m. during the Crossroad Festival.

Shortly thereafter, ASC staff attended a screening of the documentary film First Cousins: Cajun and Creole Music in South Louisiana documentary, and met with the film’s producer and scholar Dr. Elista Istre about influences of Cajun and Creole culture in Delta regional music. 

“All agreed that Pine Bluff, a city originally settled by Joseph Bonne, who was half French and half Quapaw Indian, would be ideal central location to host a cultural event that explores the county's French and Quapaw roots through primary sources,” Miller said.

In June 2017, ASC hosted a free screening of the AETN documentary, Dream Land: Little Rock’s West 9th Street. “We received an overwhelming response from the audience to host more similar events that focus on the area's African American heritage,” Miller said. Subsequently, ASC reached out to Jimmy Cunningham Jr., executive director of the Delta Rhythm & Blues Bayous Alliance, about organizing an event exploring Jefferson County’s African American history through music.

2019 Programming

Friday, March 1, 7-9 p.m. — Tricksters, Tall Tales, and Blues Notes

Jimmy Cunningham

Jimmy Cunningham

This year’s festival kicks off with a night of lore, music and interpretation with the program Tricksters, Tall Tales, and Blues Notes. The event will combine living history, folklore, and musical performance in exploring African American experiences in Southeast Arkansas. Jimmy Cunningham Jr., with whom ASC collaborated during last year’s festival, writes and directs this program featuring regional actors and musicians.

The program is presented in four parts, and will explore four themes: folk heroes, prison folk music, animal folktales, and urban folklore.

Saturday, March 2, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. — Folktales & Foodways Family Fun

The festival’s second day will comprise two family-friendly programs, with lunch available for purchase.

In the morning session, Heritage Studies and Living History Interpretation scholar Dr. Elista Istre will lead Folktales Family Fun — a family storytelling, hands-on program. She will share traditional French Creole stories of the characters of Bouki (a fox) and Lapin (a rabbit), which are similar to the “Brer Rabbit” tales. She will also explore the links between West Africa, the Caribbean, and the American South. The program will include a craft workshop in which the children can make a mask of Bouki or Lapin to take home with them.

Dr. Elista Istre

Dr. Elista Istre

Ilstre is the founder of Belle Heritage, offering consulting, programming, and tours that inspire individuals and organizations to celebrate the beauty of heritage. Last year, University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press published her book Creoles of South Louisiana: Three Centuries Strong, which began as a dissertation during her time in Arkansas State University’s Heritage Studies program. She will have her books available for purchase at the festival.

She was also involved with the 2018 Crossroad Festival. She and her sister, Dr. Moriah Istre, screened their documentary film, First Cousins: Cajun and Creole Music in South Louisiana, and sat on a panel that discussed the French connections within Louisiana and Arkansas. She lives in Lafayette, La.

For the afternoon program, Istre will join Food Studies and Material Culture scholar Kevin Kim to expand the festival theme of cultural diffusion and adaption with Foodways & Tales. The program will provide a historical context for the foodways of South Louisiana’s Creole people, and Southeast Arkansas’s Cantonese communities, and address how both cultures have negotiated the fine lines between assimilation and isolation within the larger mainstream American culture.

Kevin Kim

Kevin Kim

Both scholars will share family stories and recipes. In a cooking demonstration, children from the Jefferson County 4-H Club will cook greens the Creole way to compare and contrast with how the Cantonese prepare greens as demonstrated by Kim.

Kim is a doctoral student in the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he also teaches courses on material culture and popular culture. His research interests focus on the cultural politics of food in American life, with a special emphasis on Asian American foodways. His work has been featured on National Public Radio (NPR). He has held curatorial internships at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and has worked with the Southern Foodways Alliance. He was born in South Korea and has lived in Los Angeles and Little Rock.

Pop’s Place food truck will be at ASC from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. so visitors can enjoy lunch between the programs­.

Byron Vaughns

Byron Vaughns

Sunday, March 3, 1-3 p.m.The Adventures of Brer Rabbit Screening and Q&A with Director/Animator Byron Vaughns

Continuing the exploration of African American folktales, ASC will close the 2019 festival with a screening of the 2006 animated Universal Pictures film The Adventures of Brer Rabbit. A question-and-answer session will follow with the film’s director, Byron Vaughns.

A Pine Bluff native and a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Vaughns has worked on many classic animated television shows including Alvin & the Chipmunks, The Smurfs, Animaniacs, and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. He won an Emmy in 1993 for directing Tiny Toon Adventures, which was selected for best animated daytime series. Vaughns lives in White Hall after residing in the Los Angeles area for more than three decades.



'Scenes' Offer Glimpse Along Delta Highway

David Trulock,  Wishbone at KVSA AM 1220 , 2018

David Trulock, Wishbone at KVSA AM 1220, 2018

Photo Exhibitions Take Viewers Through Southeast Arkansas, Past and Present

Nancy Abernathy,  Cotton’s Ready , 2010

Nancy Abernathy, Cotton’s Ready, 2010

Visitors can view images from the Delta past and present in the Arts & Science Center’s latest exhibitions, Scenes Along the Delta Rhythm & Bayous Highway and Women of the Arkansas Delta.

The exhibitions open with a free, public reception and awards presentation Thursday, Feb. 7, 5-7 p.m.

The Pine Bluff Advertising & Promotion Commission and Barbara House sponsor Scenes Along The Delta.

The Scenes exhibition captures the natural beauty and human experience of the Delta. Photographs of the landscape, people, artisans, musicians, wildlife, buildings and transportation give viewers a glimpse into the Delta Rhythm & Bayous Highway, which runs from Pine Bluff to Lake Village along U.S. 65, and into Greenville and Leland, Mississippi, along U.S. 82.

ASC invited amateur and professional photographers in fall 2018 to submit images for the juried exhibition. Photos were required to be taken within 1 mile of the highway.

The artists whose images were selected are:

  • Melissa Abernathy

  • Nancy Abernathy

  • Tim Davis

  • Frank Ferguson

  • Rita Henry

  • Ken Lamber

  • Jennifer Price

  • Kim Reese

  • Glenda Reeves

  • David Trulock

  • Anita Walden

  • Vickie Young

“I found in these photographs a powerful, nostalgic, mysterious, simplistic and haunting chapter of the story that is the Delta,” juror Lisa Burton Tarver of El Dorado said in her juror statement. She chose 27 pieces for the exhibition and the awards for Best in Show ($500), First Prize ($250), Second Prize ($150) and Third Prize ($100). Tarver will be on hand during the reception to award the prizes.

(Tarver, a photographer for more than 30 years, will have her own photo exhibition, titled “Southern Elegance,” March 9-30 at the South Arkansas Arts Center in El Dorado.)

“The criteria for this exhibition included composition, photographic skill, and use of light and went a step further to include exceptional interpretation and je ne sais quoi—that indefinable ‘something’ that speaks to the viewer,” explained ASC Curator Dr. Lenore Shoults.

The Delta Rhythm & Bayous Highway has officially been recognized in both Arkansas and Mississippi. In 2017, Act 451 designated the Arkansas Delta portion of U.S. 65 to be the Delta Rhythm & Bayous Highway. Mississippi followed in 2018, designated their portion of U.S. 82 that runs through the cities of Greenville and Leland.

The Delta Rhythm & Bayous Alliance sought this designation as part of a broader plan for tourism-based economic development in the region. The alliance is a cultural heritage tourism initiative highlighting music, arts, and bayou history along the route on U.S. 65 and U.S. 82.

“The ‘key’ to the Delta Rhythm & Bayous Highway is unbelievably hard to define in words, but immensely easy to understand in spirit for the residents who live in its bucolic wonder,” wrote Jimmy Cunningham for the Scenes Along the Delta exhibition catalog. Cunningham is executive director of the Delta Rhythm & Bayous Alliance and co-author of the book Delta Music & Film: Jefferson County and The Lowlands.

“May the photographic images of this exhibition reveal the ‘key’ to our beloved Delta Rhythm & Bayous Highway in myriad illustrious iterations,” he added.

Anne R. Zachary of Marvell

Anne R. Zachary of Marvell

Women of the Arkansas Delta

In a companion exhibition, visitors will also have a chance to view photos from a 1976 book of the same name, Women of the Arkansas Delta. The Pine Bluff Women’s Center, through a grant by the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission in 1970s, sought to “gather, preserve, and publish information about women of the delta, their history and lives.” They documented social justice activists, farmers and small business owners—African American and white.

Among the women documented:

  • Annie R. Zachary of Marvell. Appointed in 1969 by Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller, she was the first African American named to a governor’s board.

  • Mildred Laureles of Snow Lake. She has been postmistress of the small Desha County community near the Mississippi River since 1947.

  • Ora Brown of of Pine Bluff. She owned a beauty shop and several rental properties in the city. The 1976 book included a recipe for her chocolate pound cake.

The book, photographs, and original negatives are now in ASC’s Permanent Collection.

ASC Curator Dr. Lenore Shoults, in a letter that appears in the exhibition catalog, thanks the women documented in the collection:“You could not have known that over forty years later a woman would stumble upon your stories and be inspired to curate an exhibition based on your lives.”

“My favorite line is from Geneva Byrd, of Tucker, ‘I’m independent. I work for what I get. (My husband), he’s working. Let me work for mine. I can buy what I want … if you’re working, you can go and get what you want. Like that little blue car sitting there.’”

Scenes Along the Delta & Bayous Highway and Women of the Arkansas Delta are on view in the International Paper Gallery through Saturday, April 20, 2019.

Bork 'Shapes' Up for Solo Exhibition

Dustyn Bork during a 2018 Vermont Studio Residency, featuring two works in his solo exhibition  Complex Shapes and Empty Space.  The exhibition is at the Arts & Science Center though Saturday, April 13. Photo by H Romero, courtesy of Dustyn Bork.

Dustyn Bork during a 2018 Vermont Studio Residency, featuring two works in his solo exhibition Complex Shapes and Empty Space. The exhibition is at the Arts & Science Center though Saturday, April 13. Photo by H Romero, courtesy of Dustyn Bork.

Lyon College Professor Explores Architectural Structures, Color in ASC Show

By Shannon Frazeur

Printmaker, painter, and professor Dustyn Bork brings his colorful, abstract and geometric work to the Arts & Science Center with a solo exhibition Dustyn Bork: Complex Shapes and Empty Space.

The exhibition is now open, and ASC is hosting a free, public recept­ion 5-7 p.m. Thursday, January 24.

The 21 pieces in the exhibition — acrylic on shaped panels and framed seriographs — are inspired by architectural forms.

“The theme for the exhibition is formally about shape and color,” Born explained. “Conceptually, the work is all inspired by the built environment. I am interested in how architecture shapes our daily experience.”

ASC Bork Exhibition - Complex Shapes - 72dpi.jpg

The title of the show comes from a line in a book on Japanese aesthetics called In Praise of Shadows by Jun'Ichiro Tanizaki. “It is a brief but beautifully written first-hand account on what makes Japanese architecture unique based on space, lighting, and an appreciation for age.”

“I am interested in the contrast between old and new structures. I want viewers of my work to make connections between the textures, colors, shapes, and lines in my work with the world around them.”

The exhibition is an excellent fit for not only ASC’s gallery space but for Pine Bluff.

“The dimensionality and vibrant colors of Dustyn Bork’s bold shapes catapult off the gallery walls and one cannot help but smile when entering the space,” ASC Curator Dr. Lenore Shoults said. “Bork’s exploration of the constructed environment, upon which this series is built, and Pine Bluff’s current moment of architectural decay and renewal is particularly poignant. Again, art guides us and, during this exhibition for sure, keeps us joyful and optimistic about the outcome.”

Bork explored the structures and design aesthetics of the 1970s for his solo exhibition at the East Arkansas Community College Gallery last fall. Split Level included a series of paintings in which traditional rectangle compositions were cut into shaped panels to more accurately reflect architectural forms in split-level. 

For another 2018 exhibition, Bork teamed up with his wife, artist Carly Dahl, for Going Unnoticed at the Historical Arkansas Museum in Little Rock.

“She is one of the most talented, smart, and creative people I have ever known,” Bork said. “She is always making things; if not art, then textile weaving, knitting, or crafts. She has a great eye and lends her critical attention to work in the studio — a big help.”

“We have been together for 10 years and enjoy traveling, attending art exhibitions.”

He is originally from Monroe, Mich., about an hour south of Detroit and part of the heavily automotive-centered region. (Monroe is also home to a nuclear plant and a large equestrian monument dedicated to former resident Gen. George Custer.)

Bork taught for seven years in Ohio at the University of Toledo: Center for the Visual Arts before moving to Arkansas in 2010. He is an associate professor of art at Lyon College, a small private liberal arts college in Batesville.

“I have since received tenure and have really enjoyed the academic and artist community here. It is a great gig, a beautiful place to live in the foothills of the Ozarks, talented students to work with, and a wonderful community to live, work, and play in.

“Lyon is amazing place to teach. The students are great, and I enjoy the impact I can have in a nurturing environment working with small class sizes. It is a great campus.”

Bork has even called the Lyon campus home the last few years. “Carly and I live on campus and serve as resident mentors. It has been an amazing and rewarding experience working with all of the students and watching them grow.”

The couple is a fixture in Batesville’s art community. He serves on the board of the Ozark Foothills FilmFest and volunteers for the Batesville Area Arts Council, where Dahl is executive director.

Dustyn Bork and his Lyon College mural class students with one of the murals they created in Batesville. Bork and North Carolina- based artist Grace Engel designed the mural, and the students painted it. Photo by Carly Dahl, courtesy of Dustyn Bork.

Dustyn Bork and his Lyon College mural class students with one of the murals they created in Batesville. Bork and North Carolina- based artist Grace Engel designed the mural, and the students painted it. Photo by Carly Dahl, courtesy of Dustyn Bork.

Last fall, Bork and six students — along with artists Steve Adair of Rogers and Grace Engel of Asheville, N.C. — designed and executed four murals in Batesville.

The students created one mural — from concept to paint — completely on their own. Protect explores the local emergency services and was commissioned by the Independence County Judge. 

Greetings from Batesville — created for Main Street Batesville — is in the style of a retro postcard. Each letter includes landmark buildings in the city.

“It was a great experiential learning opportunity for students on show to work with stakeholders, think through the design process, and learn a few different mural techniques,” Bork said. “It's been awesome to see the community response — a lot of selfies and sharing on social media. It's awesome to see your impact in the community. Batesville is experiencing a bit of a Renaissance downtown and it’s been awesome to play a small part in that.”

More information about Bork can be found at his website, dustynbork.com. He can also be followed on Instagram.

Bork will be back at ASC for the next Second Saturday Family FunDay on February 9, to demonstrate screen printing and to help visitors screen print a T-shirt they can take home.

Dustyn Bork: Complex Shapes and Empty Space is on display in ASC’s William H. Kennedy Jr. Gallery through Saturday, April 13, 2019. Simmons Bank and the Arkansas Arts Council are the exhibition’s sponsors.


MORE ABOUT DUSTYN BORK

  • Bork earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in printmaking in 2002 from Indiana University in Bloomington and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in printmaking in 1999 from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

  • His work has been included in a number of juried exhibitions, including the 2016 Annual Delta Exhibition at the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock, the Delta National Small Prints Exhibition at the Bradbury Art Museum in Jonesboro, and the Print Exhibition at the Hunterdon Museum of Art, Clinton, N.J. He has also had more than 20 solo and two-person exhibitions with Dahl.

  • In 2016, Bork won one of three Arkansas Arts Council individual fellowships in Visual Arts painting, the largest individual artist fellowship the council awards.

  • Bork has taken his talents internationally, with an artist residency at the Franz Masereel Centre in Kasterlee, Belgium, and the Martignano International Residency for Artists in Martignano, Italy. He was also part of a juried exhibition at the International Printmaking Biennial of Douro Alijó, Portugal.

  • Bork has two sons. Eddie is also an artist, working in graphic design, printmaking, and new media. He graduated from Lyon College with a degree in art. Aiden, his youngest son, is a high school senior and interested in counseling. He too plans to attend Lyon next year.

  • Bork’s work can also be seen at Justus Fine Art Gallery in downtown Hot Springs.

  • Bork and Dahl both contributed works to ASC’s 2018 Potpourri art exhibition.

  • Music is another one of Bork’s loves. “I recently started DJing for KILT, the Lyon College radio station, and I'm hooked.”


Artist Statement for Complex Shapes and Empty Space

shaped no. 10  by Dustyn Bork, acrylic on shaped panel

shaped no. 10 by Dustyn Bork, acrylic on shaped panel

“Certainly, some architectural forms are favored over others, a hierarchy exists for preserving and restoring styles of architecture based on their historical or cultural significance. I am interested in the contrast between old and new structures. It is a curious fate for the life of a building. Some go through many visual iterations and renovations while others will not stand the test of time. I want viewers to make connections between the colors, lines, textures, and forms in my artwork and those to be found in their daily interactions with the constructed environment.

“Certain architectural forms find their way in my work. My paintings and prints focus on the built landscape from my observable surroundings. I have experimented with abstracting forms and structures lifting them from their original context. The current series of paintings are reminiscent of building facades and remove the compositions from the more traditional rectangle and are cut into shaped pieces to more accurately reflect forms pulled from various sources. I want the works to take on an object-oriented feel. Will the new designs and forms constructed today soon collapse, be replaced, or last a lifetime? Each composition is meant to represent the beauty implicit in everyday surfaces and structures in various levels of decay and renewal.” — Dustyn Bork

Small Works on Paper Tour Kicks Off At ASC

Ladies Night , a pencil, pen, watercolor piece by Richard Davies of White Hall, is one of 39 works on display in ASC’s International Paper Gallery as part of the 2019 Small Works on Paper touring exhibition.

Ladies Night, a pencil, pen, watercolor piece by Richard Davies of White Hall, is one of 39 works on display in ASC’s International Paper Gallery as part of the 2019 Small Works on Paper touring exhibition.

Pine Bluff Artist Markeith Woods Awarded Best in Show

Annual touring show Small Works on Paper — often dubbed simply “SWOP” — is kicking off its 32nd year with a two-week exhibition at the Arts & Science Center. The show officially opens with a free public reception Saturday, January 12, 1-3 p.m. Ten participating artists will be on hand to speak during the reception.

Small Works on Paper is a program of and sponsored by the Arkansas Arts Council, a division of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

The juried visual art exhibition showcases two-dimensional artwork no larger than 18 x 24 inches by Arkansas artists.

The artists must be members of the Arkansas Artist Registry, an online gallery that is free and open to all Arkansas residents. The artists are invited to submit their work each summer — entry fees are $10 for one entry, $20 for two entries, or $25 for three entries. An out-of-state juror selects a maximum of 40 pieces to tour with the exhibition. Cash prizes totaling $1,000 are awarded each year.

The exhibition travels to up to 10 locations in each yearlong show, offering Arkansas artists an opportunity to have their work viewed by patrons all over the state. Many of the works are available for sale to the public, and commissions are not taken on the sales.

“Small Works on Paper provides Arkansas artists with a wonderful opportunity to have their artwork displayed at multiple locations around the state,” said Stacy Hurst, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. “Likewise, patrons and students statewide have the opportunity to see Arkansas’s established and up-and-coming contemporary artists. For more than 30 years, the touring exhibition has showcased a variety of subject matter, styles and techniques. That holds true for this year’s exhibition. You’re sure to find something that captures your interest!”

This year, 39 works by 37 artists were selected, including Richard Davies of White Hall and Markeith Woods of Pine Bluff.

Do You Remember What I Worked For? , a mixed media piece by Pine Bluff’s Markeith Woods, was named Best in Show.

Do You Remember What I Worked For?, a mixed media piece by Pine Bluff’s Markeith Woods, was named Best in Show.

Woods received Best of Show ($500 Award) for the mixed media piece Do You Remember What I Worked For?

Other recipients were Juror’s Choice ($300 award) winner Daniella Napolitano of Little Rock for the linocut Curia Regis, and Merit Award ($200 award) winner J.P. Bell of Fayetteville for his digital photograph Repair of No. 2.

Daniella Napolitano of Little Rock earned the Juror’s Choice award for the linocut  Curia Regis .

Daniella Napolitano of Little Rock earned the Juror’s Choice award for the linocut Curia Regis.

 The 37 artists in the 2019 show are:

1. Kathy Attwood, Eureka Springs

2. J.P. Bell of Fayetteville

3. Maria Botti Villegas of El Dorado

4. Hillary Brooks of Jonesboro

5. Susan Chambers of Little Rock

6. Harrison Cole of Rogers

7. Leslie Coston of Fayetteville

8. Norwood Creech of Lepanto

9. Richard Davies of White Hall

10. Rex R. DeLoney of Little Rock

11. B. Duncan of Van Buren

12. L.S. Eldridge of Rogers

13. Carol Flori of Texarkana

14. Terra Fondriest of St. Joe

15. Ike Garlington of Little Rock

Repair of No. 2 , a digital photograph by J.P. Bell of Fayetteville. received the Merit Award.

Repair of No. 2, a digital photograph by J.P. Bell of Fayetteville. received the Merit Award.

16. Diane Harper of Little Rock

17. Neal Harrington of Russellville

18. Jeri Hillis of Hot Springs

19. Jeff Horton of Little Rock

20. Cary Jenkins of Little Rock

21. Matt Kaye of Camden

22. Evan Lindquist of Jonesboro

23. Dennis McCann of Maumelle

24. Glenda L. McCune of Little Rock

25. Dewana McIntosh of Smithville

26. David McRoberts of Sherwood

27. Mike Means of El Dorado

28. Jessica Medeiros of Van Buren

29. Jessica Mongeon of Ozark

30. Daniella Napolitano of Little Rock

31. Cary Smith of Little Rock

32. Stacy Spangler of Fayetteville

33. Richard Stephens of Hot Springs

34. Shirley Tipton of Hot Springs

35. Melissa Wilkinson of West Memphis

36. Markeith Woods of Pine Bluff

37. Anna Zusman of Magnolia

Robin Dru Germany, professor of photography and interim director of the School of Art at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, served as this year’s juror.

“In selecting the exhibition, I looked for works that highlight the artist’s engagement with the process of making art,” she explained in her juror's statement. “I am drawn to works that I feel are authentic, genuine and personal. Uniqueness is less important than evidence that the artist is continually exploring, perhaps seeking the answer to a question. Sometimes the question may begin as a technical query, or as a conceptual one, but I seek work that seems to be part of a process of figuring something out. I use the word ‘process’ because I value artworks that defy an ending and instead propose a beginning, opening the door to a larger consideration of the subject or concept. I perceive artmaking as a continuum, where selected pieces represent the best of a particular moment. Consequently, my choices are not based on medium (though as a photographer, I could have picked only photographs), nor are they based on subject or approach. Rather, they are grounded in a sense of the artist’s commitment to learning through their work, and allowing the activity of artmaking to reveal to them fundamental truths about their lives. 

“I feel strongly that every work in this exhibition demonstrates an indelible connection to the complex communication that is art.”

Small Works on Paper originated in 1986 with a temporary exhibition at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. It launched as a touring exhibition in 1988. The exhibition was coordinated by the Arkansas Artist Registry at UALR until the registry became a program of the Arkansas Arts Council in 1995.

The Arts & Science Center first hosted Small Works on Paper in 1995, with 2019 marking the exhibition’s 17th stop at ASC.

Small Works on Paper is on display in the International Paper Gallery until Saturday, January 26. After that, it moves on to the University of Arkansas at Monticello’s Taylor Library. See the touring schedule for a complete list of 2019 venues and dates.


ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Markeith Woods

Markeith Woods

Markeith Woods

How would you describe your work and style?
My work describes my personal narrative of my life experiences. I’ve created mixed media works of art that describes the difficulties of living a purpose driven life and the importance of using one’s influence for a greater cause. I create leaders that made an impact in their communities. However, growing up in Pine Bluff, I had an uneven start and made several bad choices. I didn’t have a visual example of who I could become so when I met my UAPB art instructor, they gave me hope of a better future besides living in poverty also was willing to show me the process.

My style is mixed media expressionism.

“What Do You Believe In"?” by Markeith Woods of Pine Bluff, mixed media

“What Do You Believe In"?” by Markeith Woods of Pine Bluff, mixed media

What was the inspiration behind the two pieces selected for Small Works on paper — Do You Remember What I Worked For? and What Do You Believe In?
The lady wearing the crown in Do You Remember What I Worked For? is Alice Paul, and the man wearing the crown in What Do You Believe In? is W.E.B Du Bois. The inspiration for the Alice Paul piece is her values, beliefs, and principals. Because of the work she did as a women's rights activist, her efforts helped to pass the 19th amendment [which granted women the right to vote]. As an African American, I feel there are several bills that need to be created for the betterment of blacks living in poverty.

The inspiration for the W.E.B Du Bois piece is he that was the first African American to earn a doctorate degree from Harvard University. I’m the first out of my family to pursue a career in art, and when you are the first in striving for a goal, one must work harder to achieve it. Also, people won’t understand the choices/steps that must be planned in order to make the vision a reality.

Where do you currently live? Where did you grow up?
I live in Pine Bluff, and grew up here most of my life.

What's your educational background?
I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Visual Arts from the University of Pine Bluff in 2014. I also have 33 hours towards my Master of Fine Arts degree from Memphis College of Art.

What is your “day job”?
I am an art teacher at James Matthews Elementary School in Pine Bluff.

When did you first become interested in making art?
I first became interested in making fine art when my mother bought me a tracing desk in the third grade. But what gave me the confidence to take classes in high school was when I won my first award in art in a citywide art contest in the seventh grade that my grandmother pressured me to enter. Finally, after she was able to convince me to use my gift, I built up enough confidence to take a chance with a new experience. After I entered, I won a free trip with the other winners to Memphis.


ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Richard Davies

Richard Davies

Richard Davies

How would you describe your work and style?
Very Eclectic … a new world every day. I have painted violins, Barbie dolls, rocks (not what you are thinking), mailboxes, canvas, paper, acetate, wood and people. Mostly all mediums except oil. I have gotten into digital art — what a blast!

What was the inspiration behind Ladies Night?
After browsing some art pieces, I got into a discussion with an individual about the style and technique of some of the pieces — which, of course, I liked. I thought I would try my version of the style and pictured women at a book or card club in my mind. I find humor in the fact there is always someone disgruntled and got their feelings hurt in these social gatherings. It is just a fun, simple little watercolor.

Where do you currently live? Where did you grow up?
I live just north of White Hall and have been here over 35 years. I grew up on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, and in Waco and Dallas.

What's your educational background?
No formal degree but have accumulated numerous credit hours. I’m a graduate of Northwestern University’s School of Police—Staff and Command. I have completed over 4,000 hours of Law Enforcement Training and have a Senior Law Enforcement Certificate.

What is your “day job”?
I’m a crisis negotiator, gang specialist, public and community relations officer. I currently work as a part-time One Officer at the White Hall Police Department where I serve as an school resource officer at Moody Elementary School. I also conduct contracted trainings all over the state for law enforcement agencies and schools. I'm a retired law enforcement training sergeant, and one of the positions I held as a full-time officer was as a school resource officer, where I designed presentations that involved art, music, and magic to illustrate important life, responsibility, and communication and conflict resolution skills to our young people. I’ve presented to more than 80,000 kids in Arkansas.

When did you first become interested in making art?
I have been “doodling” all my life. I usually draw from my mind’s eye — that’s where the “Mind of D” comes from. I love all kinds of art. All styles and change as often as the months that pass. I see art in everything.

Diverse Art Exhibitions Lined Up for 2019

Dustyn Bork: Complex Shapes and Empty Space  , on display in the William H. Kennedy Jr. Gallery, opens with a reception Thursday, January 24.

Dustyn Bork: Complex Shapes and Empty Space , on display in the William H. Kennedy Jr. Gallery, opens with a reception Thursday, January 24.

“Small Works,” “Era of Activism,” and “Complex Shapes” Kick off New Year

After a noteworthy 2018 — in which the Arts & Science Center marked its 50th anniversary with sculptural installations, the biennial Potpourri exhibition, and a UAPB-ASC collaborative exhibition — 2019 is shaping up to be another stellar year with a diverse lineup of exhibitions.

“The 2019 exhibitions hit every area of the Arts & Science Center's collecting and exhibition focus: Arkansas artists, art of the Delta, and works by African American artists,” said ASC Curator Dr. Lenore Shoults.

“Arkansas artists are represented by Dustyn Bork's shape series, and we are delighted to be the opening venue for the Arkansas Arts Council's Small Works on Paper tour. Heavy Metal comes to us from the Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts and features the work of Michele Fox, Amanda Heinbockel, Robyn Horn, and Holly Laws. The Scenes Along the Delta Rhythm & Bayous Highway exhibition partners with a treasure from our archive, Women of the Arkansas Delta, a series of photographs from 1976. James Matthews pushes the envelope with his Eviction Quilt series and Chrystal Seawood explores our society's scrutiny of young black men.”

The following is a rundown of ASC’s art exhibitions scheduled for 2019. Keep up with all of ASC’s current and upcoming exhibitions on our website.


Do You Remember What I Worked For? ,  Markeith Woods  of Pine Bluff, mixed media. Selected by the 2019 Small Works on Paper juror for the Best in Show Award.

Do You Remember What I Worked For?, Markeith Woods of Pine Bluff, mixed media. Selected by the 2019 Small Works on Paper juror for the Best in Show Award.

2019 Small Works on Paper

On exhibit: January 5-26, in the International Paper Gallery

Opening reception: Saturday, January 12, 1-3 p.m., featuring speeches from approximately 10 participating artists. The reception is free and open to the public.

Small Works on Paper — often dubbed simply “SWOP” — is an annual juried visual art exhibition that showcases artwork no larger than 18 x 24 inches by Arkansas artists who are members of the Arkansas Artist Registry. The exhibition travels throughout the state, and ASC is the first stop for the 2019 tour. The exhibition is already installed, but officially opens with a free public reception Saturday, January 12. Ten participating artists are scheduled to speak.

Thirty-seven artists are included in this year’s exhibition, including Richard Davies of White Hall and Markeith Woods of Pine Bluff.

Woods received Best of Show ($500 Award) for the mixed media piece Do You Remember What I Worked For?

Other recipients were Juror’s Choice ($300 award) winner Daniella Napolitano of Little Rock for the linocut Curia Regis, and Merit Award ($200 award) winner J.P. Bell of Fayetteville for his digital photograph Repair of No. 2.

This year’s entries were juried by Robin Dru Germany, professor of photography and associate director at the School of Art at Texas Tech University.

This exhibition is sponsored by the Arkansas Arts Council.


shaped1  by Dustyn Bork is one of the works featured in Bork’s solo show, now on display in the Kennedy Gallery.

shaped1 by Dustyn Bork is one of the works featured in Bork’s solo show, now on display in the Kennedy Gallery.

Dustyn Bork: Complex Shapes and Empty Space     

On exhibit: January 8 — April 13, in the William H. Kennedy Jr. Gallery

Opening reception: Thursday, January 24, 5-7 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public.

Printmaker/painter Dustyn Bork often works in mixed media, and incorporates cultural notions of pattern, color, and design. He is an associate professor of art at Lyon College in Batesville. Bork earned his Master of Fine Arts in printmaking from Indiana University in 2002, and his Bachelor of Fine Arts in printmaking from the University of Michigan in 1999.

Bork’s work has been selected for and won awards in numerous juried printmaking exhibitions including the Delta National Small Prints Exhibition in Jonesboro, The International Printmaking Biennial of Douro Alijó, Portugal, and the Print Exhibition at the Hunterdon Museum of Art in Clinton, New Jersey. 

Exhibition sponsors are Simmons Bank and the Arkansas Arts Council.


The We In You Is The Nation Calling , Nelson Stevens, Poster, ASC82.001.078

The We In You Is The Nation Calling, Nelson Stevens, Poster, ASC82.001.078

Era of Activism

On exhibit: January 12 — August 31, in the Ben J. Altheimer Gallery

“Era of Activism explores 1960s and 1970s posters and prints from our Permanent Collection — a time when artists, and society at large, were tackling issues of social justice and challenging the status quo,” Shoults explained. “AfriCOBRA stood for social justice in the ‘60s and continues today. A special thanks to Garbo Hearne and Kevin Cole for making this mini exhibition possible.”

Some work is more radical as shown in the AfriCOBRA pieces and some is more playful such as Claes Oldenburg’s print from Once Cent Life. Whether Black Power, the Irish Republican Army, or Feminism, these artists are a testament to the impact of activism through art.

This exhibition is sponsored by Simmons Bank.


Mississippi Bridge, 2018  by Ken Lambert is part of the  Scenes Along the Delta Rhythm & Bayous Highway  Exhibition, opening February 7.

Mississippi Bridge, 2018 by Ken Lambert is part of the Scenes Along the Delta Rhythm & Bayous Highway Exhibition, opening February 7.

Scenes Along the Delta Rhythm & Bayous Highway and Women of the Arkansas Delta

On exhibit: February 7 — April 20

Opening reception: Thursday, February 7, 5-7 p.m. with artists’ remarks at 5:30. The reception is free and open to the public.

Amateur and professional photographers capture the natural beauty and human experience of the Delta in this juried photography exhibition. Photographs of the landscape, people, artisans, musicians, wildlife, buildings and transportation give viewers a glimpse into the Delta Rhythm & Bayous Highway, which runs through the Delta from Pine Bluff to Lake Village along U.S. 65, and into Greenville and Leland, Mississippi, along U.S. 82.

Scenes Along the Delta is sponsored by Pine Bluff Advertising & Promotion Commission and Barbara House.

In a companion exhibition, visitors will also have a chance to view photos from a 1976 book by The Pine Bluff Women’s Center, Women of the Arkansas Delta.


1109 Layers of Steel , Robyn Horn, steel, 2007, is one of the pieces in Heavy Metal: Arkansas Women to Watch 2019.

1109 Layers of Steel, Robyn Horn, steel, 2007, is one of the pieces in Heavy Metal: Arkansas Women to Watch 2019.

Heavy Metal: Arkansas Women to Watch 2019

On exhibit: April 20 — June 22

Opening reception: Thursday, April 25, 5-7 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public.

Heavy Metal: Arkansas Women to Watch 2019 features work by Arkansas artists Michele Fox, Amanda Heinbockel, Robyn Horn, and Holly Laws.

The Women to Watch exhibit program was developed by the National Museum of Women in the Arts to feature underrepresented and emerging women artists from the states and countries in which the museum has outreach committees. NMWA curators select the theme, and local arts professionals curate submissions to the national museum.

This theme explores the medium of metal: from the ornamental to the functional, regardless of outmoded distinctions or traditional definitions of what constitutes fine art or design and craft. The exhibit will show a broad range of women artists’ expressions in metal to demonstrate that contemporary artists carry on a vibrant legacy in the medium: sculpture, objects of adornment, conceptual applications, home furnishings, and vessels.  

ACNMWA guest curator Matthew Smith of the Arkansas Arts Center selected the national nominees and the four Arkansas artists featured in the 2019 state tour.

This exhibit is sponsored by the Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.


Wail  by Angela Davis Johnson, from Our Front Porch exhibition.

Wail by Angela Davis Johnson, from Our Front Porch exhibition.

Our Front Porch

On exhibit: April 29 — May 11

Traveling Arts Fiesta, an Arkansas-based nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing cultures together and celebrating Hispanic art, is launching a year-long outreach project called “Our Front Porch.” The traveling art exhibit itself is a multi-sensory experience touching on the themes of home, connectedness, rootedness, landscape — a place where we unpack the word “neighbor.” Video and audio installations share stories, anecdotes and songs from the people who inhabit Arkansas.

This exhibition is sponsored by Traveling Arts Fiesta.                                 


Ashia Shelton and her painting “Man Holding Water” were part of the 2018 Annual Pine Bluff High School Art Exhibition at ASC.

Ashia Shelton and her painting “Man Holding Water” were part of the 2018 Annual Pine Bluff High School Art Exhibition at ASC.

2019 Annual Pine Bluff High School Exhibition

On exhibit: May 2 — July 6

Opening reception: Thursday, May 2, 5-7 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public.

This annual exhibition showcases the best of Pine Bluff High School's art classes from the 2018-19 school year, and is curated by PBHS art teacher Shalisha Thomas.





Full Moon , James Matthews

Full Moon, James Matthews

Eviction Quilts by James Matthews

On exhibit: June 27 — September 28, 2019

Opening reception: Thursday, June 27, 5-7 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public.

The quilts in this series by James Matthews are all made from clothes and bedding left curbside after local evictions — each quilt representing a single eviction in Little Rock. The found material was washed, pieced, and sewn into quilt tops, which were then backed and hand-tied with cotton yarn. The quilts serve as a sort of material archive, documenting the personal and physical loss of the eviction, while also transforming the fragments into something that speaks to function and comfort.

Matthews is a documentary artist with a bias toward the human-made landscape, manual processes, and the physical object. In addition to his Eviction Quilts series, he continues documenting Little Rock's places of worship, and exploring disparities of race, wealth, education, and especially violence in Little Rock, work he began in 2006. He holds a Certificate in Documentary Arts from Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies and has also studied folklore in graduate school at UNC and pottery at the Arkansas Arts Center. He lives in Little Rock with his family.

Exhibition sponsors are Relyance Bank and the Arkansas Arts Council.


2019 Annual Pine Bluff Art League Exhibition

On exhibit: August 8 — October 9

Opening reception: Thursday, August 8 12, 5-7 p.m., with juror remarks and prizes awarded at 5:30 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public.

Twenty-five works from members of the Pine Bluff Art League will be on display in this annual exhibition. In addition to selecting the top 25 pieces, an outside juror determines prizes for Best in Show; First, Second, and Third Place; and Honorable Mention.


New Work from Chrystal Seawood

On exhibit: September 12 — November 16

Opening reception: Thursday, September 12, 5-7 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public.

This exhibition is sponsored by Simmons Bank.


2019 Irene Rosenzweig Biennial Juried Exhibition

On exhibit: October 10, 2019 — January 4, 2020

Opening reception: Thursday, October 10, 5-7 p.m., with juror remarks at 5:30 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public.

The Rosenzweig juried show has a long history with the Arts & Science Center, beginning with a gift from the Irene Rosenzweig Foundation in 1992. Irene Rosenzweig was born July 26, 1903, in Pine Bluff and graduated first in her class in 1920 from Pine Bluff High School. She received a Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and was awarded the Prix De Rome fellowship from the American Academy in Rome. Fluent in French, German, Spanish, Latin and Greek, she served as tutor to the Franklin D. Roosevelt family in the White House. Rosenzweig died in Pine Bluff in 1997.

The Rosenzweig Exhibition includes entries in most media from Arkansas artists and artists from surrounding states.

ASC Awarded $2.2 Million Grant for Community Engagement Initiative The ARTSpace

A $2.2 million grant from the Windgate Foundation will help fund renovations to convert a building owned by the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas Endowment Fund into a multi-use space to support The ARTSpace for Creative Thinking & Entrepreneurship. Renovations of the historic commercial building at 623 S. Main St. in downtown Pine Bluff are targeted to begin in June 2019, with the goal of opening by the end of 2019.

A $2.2 million grant from the Windgate Foundation will help fund renovations to convert a building owned by the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas Endowment Fund into a multi-use space to support The ARTSpace for Creative Thinking & Entrepreneurship. Renovations of the historic commercial building at 623 S. Main St. in downtown Pine Bluff are targeted to begin in June 2019, with the goal of opening by the end of 2019.

Windgate Foundation Grant to Help Fund Renovations of ‘The Annex’ for The ARTSpace for Creative Thinking & Entrepreneurship

ASC Executive Director Dr. Rachel Miller announces during the Dec. 1 Potpourri Gala that the Arts & Science Center has received a $2.2 Windgate Foundation grant to renovate "The Annex” in support of The ArtSpace for Creative Thinking & Entrepreneurship.

ASC Executive Director Dr. Rachel Miller announces during the Dec. 1 Potpourri Gala that the Arts & Science Center has received a $2.2 Windgate Foundation grant to renovate "The Annex” in support of The ArtSpace for Creative Thinking & Entrepreneurship.

The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas has received a $2.2 million grant from the Windgate Foundation in support of ASC’s expanded community engagement initiative, The ARTSpace for Creative Thinking & Entrepreneurship.

ASC Executive Director Dr. Rachel Miller made the announcement Saturday, Dec. 1, during the Potpourri Gala fundraising event held at ASC.

The grant will make it possible for the Arts & Science Center to renovate and utilize the building known as “The Annex” as a multi-use space to support The ARTSpace project. The ASC Endowment Fund owns the historic two-story commercial building at 623 S. Main St. near the Arts & Science Center.

“We are immensely grateful to the Windgate Foundation for their long-time support and investment in the Arts & Science Center’s public arts education programming,” Miller said.

The Windgate Foundation is a private grant-making foundation with primary funding interests including projects that promote visual art and crafts in the United States.

New programming in the updated space will be funded by grants, designated donations and supported by in-kind partnerships.

Windgate Foundation logo.png

The renovation will provide designated office and studio spaces for an arts education community support partner and extended teaching artist residences; more classrooms to simultaneously accommodate multiple school groups, support theatre youth workshops, and art entrepreneurial-themed workshop series; a public gallery space for University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff art students, area school youth and regional artists; and a community gathering space to host ASC’s arts-integrated healthy living initiative and monthly art night events.

Future programming will be in partnership with the UAPB’s Economic Research and Development Center (also known as The Incubator), area schools, and The Delta Consortium for Arts and Innovation.

For 50 years, ASC has provided neighborhood stabilization. The institution’s current location has served as a cultural anchor for downtown Pine Bluff for almost 25 years, Miller said.

The ARTSpace will contribute to the revitalization of downtown and serve as an already established entry point for the planned development of an arts and entertainment corridor.  

The target date for renovations to begin is June 2019, with the goal of opening The ARTSpace by the end of 2019, Miller said.

Painter Kushmaul Lends Brush to Art Auction

“White Hall Looking East” is one of 20 paintings by Little Rock’s John Kushmaul in the Potpourri 2018 art auction and Exhibition. Kushmaul, who is from White Hall, is the featured artist of the event.

“White Hall Looking East” is one of 20 paintings by Little Rock’s John Kushmaul in the Potpourri 2018 art auction and Exhibition. Kushmaul, who is from White Hall, is the featured artist of the event.

White Hall Native is Potpourri 2018’s Featured Artist in auction, exhibition

Kushmaul gallery 1Nov2018 72dpi-0025.jpg

By Shannon Frazeur

Known often for cityscapes and architectural landmarks of Little Rock, painter John Kushmaul has been a part of the central Arkansas art scene for more than 20 years. In Pine Bluff, he’s lending his eye for capturing scenes and structures as the featured artist for the Arts & Science Center’s Potpourri 2018 Exhibition and Art Auction.

John Kushmaul captured The Arts & science Center’s roof replacement over the summer in “roofers,” one of the artworks in the Potpourri 2018 Art Auction and Exhibition.

John Kushmaul captured The Arts & science Center’s roof replacement over the summer in “roofers,” one of the artworks in the Potpourri 2018 Art Auction and Exhibition.

Kushmaul, who grew up in White Hall, served as juror for the 2018 Pine Bluff Art League Annual Juried Exhibition, held at ASC in September.

His 20 pieces in the ASC auction include recognizable buildings from Pine Bluff and Jefferson County — such as downtown landmarks the Saenger Theatre and the Hotel Pines, and the Mammoth Orange burger stand in Redfield. He also explored less traveled or identifiable spots in the county. Train tracks and other roadways feature prominently in several other paintings.

Kushmaul’s years in Jefferson County are reflected in his art, particularly the outdoors. His pieces often involve “trying to capture the temperature of the place,” he said. “It always seemed like when we moved to Pine Bluff it had a very specific temperature in the summertime.”

“Since I work with photography a lot, I try to focus in on moments like that and part of the moment is just the climate. And there’s a bit of culture to that too. So yeah, it’s still an influence, stretching back three decades and a half.”

His paintings have a dream-like quality but are mostly representational, based on photos he often takes himself.

“I try to keep it open for experimenting around,” he says.

Kushmaul works out of a small studio above the venerable Vino’s Brew Pub in downtown Little Rock; he’s had the space for 20 years. He also lives nearby, so scenes from the capital city’s downtown are naturally seen in many of his works.

Architecture is a favorite subject of his pieces. He likes varieties including buildings from the late 19th century to mid 20th century, buildings in decay, and buildings under construction.

“I did a bunch on the construction of the Broadway bridge down by the river; it kind of combines nature and architecture. I do a lot of people at work, but without the people, for the most part. I do sometimes paint pictures of people but they tend to not be commercially what I do.”

He was born in Selma, Ala.; his father was in the Air Force. His parents were both from Arkansas, and he had grandparents in White Hall. His family lived in Fayetteville, Ark., Louisiana, and Waldron, Ark., before then settling near White Hall when Kushmaul was in middle school. He graduated from White Hall High School in 1990.

Right after graduating from the University of Central Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and a minor in art, he “lucked into” a job in broadcast news. After four years, he quit to paint full time for about 14 years. He returned to TV seven years ago, and currently works at KARK-TV as an assignment editor.

Kushmaul has been showing at Gallery 26 in Little Rock’s Hillcrest neighborhood for the last 20 years; he had a show there last summer and was part of the gallery’s recent holiday show. Other Little Rock locations where his works can be seen include the CALS Butler Center Galleries in the River Market, Stephano's Fine Art Gallery, and Boulevard Bread Company’s Main Street location.

Keep up with Kushmaul’s work via his Instagram page.

ASC’s biennial fundraising event takes place Friday and Saturday, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, and proceeds from Saturday’s auction help support the Center’s free arts and STEAM programming.

Potpourri caps off ASC’s 50th Anniversary

Biennial Fundraiser Features Fine Dining and Casual Fun, Auctions Nov. 30-Dec. 1

Two-Night Event Raises Funds for Programming, New Community Endeavor ‘The ARTSpace’

Potpourri 2018 Co-Chairs Heather Stone (clockwise from bottom left), Amber Robinson and Troy DeBill, and ASC Executive Director Rachel Miller hold a maquette of Kevin Cole’s “A Tale of Two Blessings: Passion vs Purpose.” The piece is one of the items up for auction for Potpourri, the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas’ biennial fundraising event, set for Friday, Nov. 30, and Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018.

Potpourri 2018 Co-Chairs Heather Stone (clockwise from bottom left), Amber Robinson and Troy DeBill, and ASC Executive Director Rachel Miller hold a maquette of Kevin Cole’s “A Tale of Two Blessings: Passion vs Purpose.” The piece is one of the items up for auction for Potpourri, the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas’ biennial fundraising event, set for Friday, Nov. 30, and Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018.

ASC 50 logo Potpourri with gold bubble.png

By Shannon Frazeur

Supporters will be the stars of Potpourri 2018, the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas’ biennial fundraising event.

The two-night event kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, with Beers & Cheers, a casual evening with microbrews, tapas, a “Boat of Beer” raffle, a wine pull, and dancing to music by Big Phil & The Chills.

The party transitions to a formal affair with the Potpourri Gala at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. The evening includes dinner by Chef Jamie McAfee of the Pine Bluff Country Club, a 50th anniversary-themed cocktail, a silent auction, and a live auction with Master of Ceremonies Matt Soto.

ASC Executive Director Dr. Rachel Miller says, “Proceeds from Potpourri support our free community cultural arts and STEAM educational programming, and ‘The ARTSpace, ASC’s new community arts-integrated engagement endeavor.”

Potpourri 2018 is the feature event of ASC’s 50th anniversary celebration. The center recently marked its half-century mark with a reception and unveiling of two sculpture installations by Kevin Cole and James Hayes in its atrium on Oct. 18.

ASC thanks its Potpourri 2018 sponsors: Simmons Bank, Relyance Bank, JRMC, MK Distributors, Sissy’s Log Cabin, Little Brown Jug and Moon Distributors.

Troy DeBill, Heather Stone and Amber Robinson are co-chairs of the 2018 event.

“Potpourri raises much-needed funds for ASC,” DeBill said. “Beers & Cheers is a casual Friday night with a raffle where partygoers can win a kayak of beer! On Saturday, we will feature amazing artwork from all over the U.S., along with items and services from local businesses. There will be wine and spirits of all kinds for the silent auction as well.”

“You are guaranteed to have a great time and help a worthy cause in the process. There is something for everyone!” DeBill said.

The silent auction includes more than 50 works from artists such as Justin Bryant, Melissa Cowper-Smith, Norwood Creech, Virmarie DePoyster, Sofia V. Gonzalez, Tim Jacob and Barbara Satterfield.

"We appreciate the generosity of the artists who are participating in the Potpourri art auction,” said ASC Curator Dr. Lenore Shoults. “ASC's art programs are free and this helps make art accessible to everyone."

“Main Street 2018” by John Kushmaul of Little Rock. Kushmaul is the featured artist for Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas’ Potpourri fundraising event.

“Main Street 2018” by John Kushmaul of Little Rock. Kushmaul is the featured artist for Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas’ Potpourri fundraising event.

This event’s featured artist is painter John Kushmaul of Little Rock, who has 20 pieces in the auction. Kushmaul, who grew up in White Hall, has works depicting landmarks and landscapes from Jefferson County. All of Kushmaul’s pieces are available to buy now.

The artworks are on display at ASC in the International Paper and William H. Kennedy Jr. galleries, and available to preview online.

Other silent auction items include fresh flowers once a month for a year from Shepherd Tipton & Hurst, “Soup of the Month” for one year from Chef Jamie McAfee, and unlimited passes to CrossFit 1210.

Items to be featured in the live auction are a maquette of Kevin Cole’s “A Tale of Two Blessings: Passion vs Purpose,” the aluminum and mixed-media sculpture in ASC’s atrium; a James Hayes glass-blowing experience/party; and holiday lighting from Carrington Electric.

The silent auction will use online bid-management software, and bidders will use their phones or other mobile devices during the event to place bids. Attendees are asked to set up profiles at BiddingOwl.com before the event. Silent auction bidding takes place during the Potpourri Gala on Saturday, Dec. 1; the silent auction opens at 7 p.m. and closes at 8:30 p.m.

Tickets are $175 for a combo ticket for the Friday and Saturday events. Tickets may also be purchased separately for each night. Tickets may be purchased online, by calling ASC at 870-536-3375, or in person at ASC.

Those who cannot attend may make a contribution to support ASC.

Photographers Invited to Share 'Scenes Along The Delta' in Juried Exhibition

Entries due Nov. 1 that capture Delta Rhythm & Bayous Highway in Arkansas, Mississippi

Scenes from Delta - Hwys 65 and 82.png

The Arts & Science Center invites amateur and professional photographers to capture the natural beauty and human experience of the Delta with a juried photography exhibition, Scenes Along the Delta Rhythm & Bayous Highway.

Digital entries are due by Nov. 1, 2018. The entry fee is $10 per entry. Read the complete entry information, rules, guidelines and registration.

Photographs of the landscape, people, artisans, musicians, wildlife, buildings and transportation will give the viewer a glimpse into the Delta Rhythm & Bayous Highway, which runs through the Delta from Pine Bluff to Lake Village along U.S. 65, and into Greenville and Leland, Mississippi, along U.S. 82. Submitted photos must be taken within 1 mile of the highway.

“The intention of this photo exhibition is to raise the dialogue, reinterpret the Delta, and move beyond the photography of poverty,” explained ASC Curator Lenore Shoults, Ph.D. “We are more than a financial indicator on a census sheet and we aim to tell a new story with these images. We chose the Rhythm & Bayous Highway to support Jimmy Cunningham’s work with the Rhythm & Bayous Alliance which tells the rich history of this region’s music and cultural heritage. U.S. 65 through the Arkansas Delta and U.S. 82 from Greenville to Leland in Mississippi recognizes the contributions of musicians who came from this region and influenced music around the world. This ribbon of road is the glue which binds and we intend to put it on the map as a destination.”

The chosen photos will be on exhibition at ASC from February to April 2019. Cash prizes will be awarded for Best in Show ($500), First Prize ($250), Second Prize ($150) and Third Prize ($100).

The exhibition is supported in part by a sponsorship by Barbara House, and a grant from the Pine Bluff Advertising & Promotion Commission.

Colorful Sculptures Help Mark ASC's 50th Year

Artist James Hayes installs his blown glass sculpture, titled “Celebration Chandelier,” on Sept. 20, in the atrium of the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff. A public reception for the unveiling of sculptures by Hayes and fellow Pine Bluff-born artist Kevin Cole is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, at the Arts & Science Center.

Artist James Hayes installs his blown glass sculpture, titled “Celebration Chandelier,” on Sept. 20, in the atrium of the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff. A public reception for the unveiling of sculptures by Hayes and fellow Pine Bluff-born artist Kevin Cole is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, at the Arts & Science Center.

Cole, Hayes works To Be Unveiled During Oct. 18 Reception

By Shannon Frazeur

The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas will celebrate the installations of works by internationally acclaimed artists Kevin Cole and James Hayes, with a public reception 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18.

ASC Executive Director Dr. Rachel Miller and ASC Curator Dr. Lenore Shoults will speak at 5:30 p.m.

The pieces were custom designed for the ASC atrium: Cole’s aluminum and mixed-media, wall-mounted sculpture “A Tale of Two Blessings: Passion vs Purpose,” and Hayes’ blown glass “Celebration Chandelier,” which is suspended from the rotunda. 

The works of art were commissioned to commemorate the Arts & Science Center’s 50th anniversary.

“A 50-year anniversary is a great time to thank those who had the vision for the Arts & Science Center and who, over the decades, built it into an accredited museum,” Shoults said. “I can think of no better way to celebrate this milestone than with great art that will be enjoyed for the next 50 years.”

Shoults, who has been at ASC since 2011, has looked forward to these colorful additions to the atrium for years.

James hayes and his wife, meg, work on lifts to assemble hayes’ hand-blown chandelier in the ASC atrium. The chandelier is suspended from the atrium’s rotunda.

James hayes and his wife, meg, work on lifts to assemble hayes’ hand-blown chandelier in the ASC atrium. The chandelier is suspended from the atrium’s rotunda.

"Seeing these stunning works of art in place is a dream come true. Kevin's sculpture and James' chandelier represent Pine Bluff's creative genius, and will provide beauty and inspiration for the thousands of people who pass through these doors."

Cole and Hayes both grew up in Pine Bluff.

Cole works in a variety of media such as metal, wood, paper, and other materials. His works are known for their often colorful and rhythmic shapes, textures and lines.

He is a member of the esteemed AfriCOBRA artist collective. Several of his works can be seen at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock in its newest exhibit, “RESPECT: Celebrating 50 Years of AfriCOBRA.”

Cole earned a Bachelor of Science degree in art education from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in 1982. He went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in art education from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Ill., and a Master of Fine Arts degree in drawing from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Cole lives in the Atlanta area and regularly visits Pine Bluff.

Hayes owns and operates the James Hayes Art Glass Company in Pine Bluff. His studio in south Pine Bluff is open to the public. A range of bright, contrasting bowls, stemware and ornaments can be found there and in showrooms and gift stores across the country. He is also known for his custom chandeliers, much like the one he created for ASC.

After earning an art degree from Hendrix College in Conway in 1988, Hayes discovered glassblowing at the Arkansas Art Center Museum School. He has studied in Murano, Italy; Columbus, Ohio; and the Pilchuck Glass School near Seattle, Wash.