Free Oct. 17 Piano Concert Spotlights Pioneering Composers Price, Still

Free Oct. 17 Piano Concert Spotlights Pioneering Composers Price, Still

The Arts & Science Center will host a free concert and presentation by Dr. Linda Holzer on Thursday, Oct. 17, 6:30 p.m. ”Two Creative Voices from Arkansas: Florence Price & William Grant Still” will include a presentation on the two pioneering composers and a performance of selected works by the composers.

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Rosenzweig Exhibition Showcases Mid-South’s Established and Emerging Artists

Rosenzweig Exhibition Showcases Mid-South’s Established and Emerging Artists

The Arts & Science Center opens its biennial juried exhibition for mid-South artists on Thursday, Oct. 10, with a free public reception from 5–7 p.m. The exhibition runs through Jan. 4, 2020.

The Irene Rosenzweig Biennial Juried Exhibition is an opportunity for established and up-and-coming artists to gain recognition and earn cash awards. ASC invites artists in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas to participate every other year.

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Seawood Examines Scrutiny of Young Black Men in Portrait Series

Seawood Examines Scrutiny of Young Black Men in Portrait Series

Arkansas native Chrystal Seawood examines society’s scrutiny and judgment of young black men with a new series of portraits on display at The Arts & Science Center. Boys to Black Men: The Seer is the Keeper of His Dreams. Work by Chrystal Seawood is a series of seven large-scale, bold and vibrant paintings of young men.

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Tinkerfest Explores the Brain with Hands-On Sensory Activities

 Tinkerfest Explores the Brain with Hands-On Sensory Activities

The Arts & Science Center invites the public to its annual family-friendly event Tinkerfest from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7.  This year’s Tinkerfest is full of engaging hands-on, sensory-exploring activities. The event will also feature a “Sensory Station,” designed to be a soothing, welcoming space for those who can experience sensory overload during public events.

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2019 Art League Winners Honored

2019 Art League Winners Honored

The talents of local artists were honored Thursday, Aug. 8, during the opening reception for the 2019 Pine Bluff Art League Annual Exhibition at The Arts & Science Center. Juror Ricky Sikes presented awards for Best in Show; First, Second and Third Place; and two Honorable Mentions. 

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'Eviction Quilts' Highlight Housing and Poverty Issues

Artist and documentarian James Matthews is bringing attention to the prevalence and reality of evictions with a series of quilts that are now on view in ASC’s Kennedy Gallery. Matthews created the nine quilts that comprise Eviction Quilts from clothing, bedding, and fabric he found curbside in Little Rock. The items were all left after the residents were evicted. 

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.