Sunday, June 3, 2018

Young Arkansas Artists Exhibition

  Six Birds Dancing on a Wire by Essie House, kindergarten, Theodore Jones Elementary, 2015 show

      The Young Arkansas Artists Exhibition is one of the most joy-filled exhibits held in the state each year.  It will run from June 8  to July 22 at the Arkansas Arts Center.
     You will glow with pride as you feast your eyes on the talent of these young Arkansans who range from kindergarten age through high school.
     This 57th year of the exhibition will include 104 works of art in a variety of media selected by a panel of art experts from 492 pieces entered in the competition.  The 104 that made the cut represent the work of youngsters in 63 schools across the state. 

Abandoned Secrets by Jada Parker, eighth grader at Pottsville
Junior High School, Best in Class in the 2017 exhibition

 Hand in Hand by Kate Lusk, sixth grader at Pulaski Heights, Best of Class winner in 2011

“We strive to promote quality arts education initiatives and achievement in the visual arts,” Arkansas Arts Center Executive Director Todd Herman said. “Through the Young Arkansas Artists exhibition, we are offering a platform to celebrate artwork created by young Arkansans while empowering them to express themselves in a positive way.”
      Artist Michael Shaeffer will serve as grand juror for the exhibition and will choose one Best in Class and two Honorable Mention awards for each grade, as well as the Mid-Southern Watercolorists Award for Achievement in Watercolor and Ray Smenner Award for Achievement in Painting. Members of the Arkansas Art Educators Association will also select one Teacher’s Choice award from each grade level.   Each winning artist’s school receives a monetary award.
     There will be an opening Family Festival and Awards Ceremony May 12, including activities for children and the awards' presentation 11:30 a.m. 
     The 57th Young Arkansas Artists Exhibition is sponsored by HoganTaylor LLP, Ces and Drew Kelso, and Dale and Lee Ronnel. Awards for the exhibition are sponsored by Arkansas Children's Hospital and the Mid-Southern Watercolorists.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Beale Street Brand

Check out this new ebook on Amazon.  Reporter Kate Jordan's search
for a serial killer takes her to points South, including Little Rock and

A crime thriller by Milo Blue.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Events in Little Rock September 2017

Pinot’s Palette 

    Paint, drink, and have fun all during September at Pinot’s Palette, 11610 Pleasant Ridge Road.  Prices for sessions vary, and all are posted on 
    There are classes for children, birthday parties, corporate events, date night and more.  Call Lisa at 588-1661.  

Cabinet of Curiosities 
     The Old State House Museum’s “Cabinet of Curiosities;  Treasures from the University of Arkansas Museum Collection,” will be on exhibit now until December 31 at the museum at 300 West Markham Street.  It is free and open to the public.  
     “Cabinet of Curiosities” shows a diverse collection that ranges from dinosaur bones to Ming Dynasty pottery to a machine gun taken from Bonnie and Clyde’s car.  The University of Arkansas Museum closed to the public in 2003, and  this exhibit will be the first time many of these artifacts will have been on display since the closing.
      “We’re very excited to have this seldom-seen collection at the Old State House Museum,” Bill Gatewood, Old State House Museum director, said. “It’s a great opportunity to show how collecting and preserving artifacts gives history a new life and kick starts the imagination of viewers, particularly first-time museum visitors.”

Central Arkansas Iris Society
Annual Rhizome sale
     The Central Arkansas Iris Society's Annual Rhizome Sale will be held 8 a.m. to noon (or until sold out) Saturday September 23 at Grace Lutheran Church just off Kavanaugh in Hillcrest.  Irises, day lilies, other perennials, and more plants will be available. Admittance to the sale is free, and it is open to the public. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Stitchin' Post 

                       Jane Bell and Linda Bowlby

      The Stitchin’ Post is a Little Rock institution that has offered quality fabrics and classes in sewing, smocking and embroidery for 43 years.  Perhaps, most importantly, owners Jane Bell and Linda Bowlby and their staff have taught hundreds of kids to sew over the years. 
     The 7,000-square-foot shop in west Little Rock is filled with beautifully displayed children’s clothing made from heirloom fabrics, as well as the extensive selection of fabrics and all the fixin’s.  The shop is the exclusive dealer for Husqvarna Viking sewing machines.  Husqvarna is the Cadillac of sewing machines, or maybe I should say the Volvo.  Husqvarna, which started making sewing machines in Sweden in 1872, is considered one of the world’s best sewing machine manufacturers. 
     “They are the only brand we sell, and we are the only dealer in Little Rock,”
Jane said. 
      Their sewing and embroidery machines are easy to use and really expand people’s creativity, she said. 

      “We have in-house technicians trained to service them and clean them.”
       Because these are such high quality machines, some folks think that they think they can’t afford them, but Jane said that is not so.
       “There are a wide range of prices - pretty much to fit anyone’s budget.” 
       One of the really fun things that Linda and Jane have participated in the last couple of years is called the “Row By Row Experience,” which was started a few years ago by a quilt shop owner in upstate New York.  And now it has spread to across the United States and Canada, and even into Europe, with approximately 2,500 shops participating, Jane said.
      “It’s designed to get people traveling in the area to come and visit quilt shops. Beginning June 21, you can come into any participating shop and ask for their pattern and get the pattern for free.”
      This lasts until September 5 this year.  Then, if they like, women can create a quilt using eight different rows and enter it into a contest - for prestige and loot. 
     “It’s a fun program.  We get to meet a lot of interesting people from all over the country.
     “This will be our third year.  The theme the first year was ‘water,’ so our row featured the Old Mill in North Little Rock.  We didn’t really realize the first year how many kits we needed to order. We thought we were really estimating big by getting 50. Then, we sold like 40 in the first week. We had people from all over the country, both coasts and Alaska.”

       In addition to the free patterns, shops offer kits that contain all the materials for making the row. The Stitchin’ Post has sold out of kits for the Old Mill, but still has patterns and kits for the 2016 row, which was about Villa Marre, and called “The Designing Women House.” 
     Some folks are not aware that the Villa Marre was the elegant house featured in the opening credits of Designing Woman, a hit television show based in Atlanta that ran for seven seasons on CBS starting in 1986.  Suzanne Sugarbaker would surely approve of the Stitchin’ Post’s design.  And of the license plate that they sell for $5.50, Designing Women.
   “You can have a license plate.  Our first one was ‘La Petite Roche,’ and the second Designing Women” Jane said.
     This year, the Row By Row theme is “On the Go.”  Jane won’t reveal the Stitchin’ Post’s design until later in the year, but she and Linda have tried to keep the shop’s row locally relevant.

           At The Stitchin’ Post, education is an every-day thing.  
       “Well, we have our on-going array of interesting classes, and we are gearing up for extra classes over the summer.”
    There will be a kid’s sewing class for beginners from June 5 - 9, and one for intermediates June 26 - 30.  The classes meet from 12:30 - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.  The cost is $150 for the week and includes materials, sewing supplies, machines to work on and a snack.  The classes are geared toward 8- to 12-year-olds. 
     “We have classes pretty much all of the time.  Today, for example, we have an adult sewing class this morning and a kid’s class in the afternoon.  And tonight, we have an evening adult class.
  Other classes include heirloom sewing, English smocking, quilting, embroidery basics, and Sit and Sew.  The Stitchin’ Post’s web site displays the full schedule of its classes.  Visit
      For years, most of the women sewed outfits for their children or grandchildren, but now more and more women are sewing for themselves. 
     “They are tired of what’s out there, or they want to express their individual style,” Jane said. 
      To accommodate them, the shop has gotten in more linens, rayons, textured cottons, and patterns for adults. 

    The Stitchin’ Post is located at 1501 Macon Drive.   For more information, call Linda or Jane at  227-0288.  This story was written by Bobbi Nesbitt.  To reach her, call 221-7467 221-SHOP.  

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Events In Little Rock May 2017

Quapaw Quarter Spring Tour 
Skyline With Loop - John Kushmaul 

       The Quapaw Quarter Association’s 53rd Spring Tour will be held May 13 and 14. 
      This year, six beautifully restored historic homes on Arch, Gaines and State streets are featured.
    Tour hours are 12:30 - 3:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 - 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets may be purchased in
advance for $20 or on site the day of for $30.  Children ages 10 and younger will be admitted free. 
        The Association asks that no one wear high heels. 

        There will be a candlelight tour of homes from 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. with dinner at the Governor’s Mansion following on Saturday evening.  Tickets are $125 per person. John Kushmaul, one of the finest contemporary chroniclers of urban Little Rock has commissioned a piece for the silent auction.

                                                           Hemingway House 

       The Spring Tour has been held almost annually since 1963. This year, it is being held on Mother’s Day weekend, so tickets might be a great gift for mom. Other activities include a Mother’s Day brunch at Curran Hall 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  The cost is $50 per person.  
        The houses featured on the Spring Tour are:
             Hemingway House at 1720 Arch Street (c. 1894-95);
             Xenophon Overton Pindall House at 2000 Arch Street (c.1910);
             Redding House at 1716 S. Gaines Street (c. 1902);
             Theo Sanders House at 1907 S. Gaines Street (c. 1920);
             Sam Scull House at 2300 S. State Street (c.1914).
             Martin-Tunnah-Fulk House at 1910 Arch Street (c. 1890, with alterations c. 1925);
        “The Spring Tour fits perfectly into our mission - preserving greater Little Rock’s historic places,” Chuck Cliett, Spring Tour chair, said. Mr. Cliett is also board president of the Association. In addition, the tour is partnering with students at the University of Central Arkansas and Pulaski Heights Elementary School to help educate tour goers about non-tour homes along the route, Patricia Blick, the Association’s executive director, said. For additional information, visit 

Little Rock Wind Symphony Sunday Concert 

     The Little Rock Wind Symphony will feature its small ensembles performing in an intimate setting 3 - 4:30 p.m. May 21 at St. Paul Methodist Church, 2223 Durwood Rd.

      Admission is $10, $8 for seniors and free to students. 

       Bollywood Nights, a beautiful cultural event benefiting Harmony Health Clinic, will be held 6 - 11 p.m. May 13 at the Statehouse Convention Center.
     Tickets are $75 for an individual and $100 per couple.  Seating is limited. The non-profit Harmony Health Clinic provides medical and dental services to needy people in Pulaski County who are not covered by Medicare or Medicaid. 

     The event will showcase Indian cuisine and includes hors d'oeuvres, cocktails, and a silent auction.   Attire is formal Indian or American for women and black tie optional for men. For information, call Justin Wise, executive director, at 375-4400 or visit

ZZ Top 

     ZZ Top will perform 8 p.m. May 26 at Robinson Center.

     Tickets for “The Tonnage Tour” are $126.75, $80.75, $70.75, and $60.75. Visit 

       Multi-platinum international music sensation Celtic Woman presents Voices of Angles
 7 p.m. May 17 at Robinson Center Performance Hall.  
       Tickets are $29, $69, and $99. It will include songs by Susan McFadden, MairĂ©ad Carlin, Eabha McMahon and will introduce Celtic violinist Tara McNeill, accompanied by other musicians and dancers. 

The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland
  The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland will be presented May 19 - 21 at the Arkansas Arts Center Children's Theatre. 
  Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for children and students. Arkansas Festival Ballet Rebecca M. Stalcup is artistic director for the production.  Times are 7:30 May 19 and 2 p.m. May 20 and 21. Tickets may be purchased online at

Butterfly Swamp 5K
     The Butterfly Swamp 5K will be held 8 a.m. to noon May 13 at Two Rivers Park off Highway 10. 

     The cost is $25 and the money goes to the Katherine and Ryan Memorial Organization. There will be a butterfly release, music, food, beer, and activities for kids and adults.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Potter Larry Witherspoon

     Unique, beautiful and functional.
     Larry Witherspoon, owner of El Dubya Pottery, makes pieces that look like museum art, but function like your everyday dishes.  This stoneware is microwavable, food safe and dishwasher safe.
     His work sells in The Museum Store at the Arkansas Arts Center and at The Freckled Frog downtown. 
      “I just went in and showed Sadie my stuff,” Mr. Witherspoon said of Sadie Nuffer, owner of The Frecked Frog.  “She said, ‘I need some rice bowls and some upside-down handle cups.’  And she started selling my pottery.”
    The Museum Store recently featured some of Larry’s pottery on the cover of its promotional magazine. His signature colanders, upside-down handle cups, rice bowls with chop sticks in them, and bowls with figures of koi have sold quite well. 
    “So I am really thankful and blessed.”
     But wait.  Upside-down handle cups?
     Well, you might say, when life gives you dyslexia, make art.
      Larry tells the story about throwing some odd shaped coffee cups at the Arts Center one time and bringing them home to show his wife, Desiree.  Desiree’s interest in pottery had helped get him back into it after years of absence from his “hobby.”  By trade, he is a barber.
     “I said, ‘I am really proud of them,’ and she said, ‘Your handles are upside down.’”
     Dismayed, he returned to the studio and made more cups and put the handles on “correctly.”  They didn’t work.  It turns out Larry’s dyslexia helped him create the perfect style to begin with.
     “The upside-down handles work better.  It balances better,” he said.
     Turns out people love them. 
      Larry had his first experience with making pottery when he was a youngster.  Not only did he have dyslexia, but he was hyper, and learning to create pieces on a pottery wheel helped him cope. 
     “When I was 10 or 11 years old, my mom got me involved in a little potter’s studio on Highway 10.”
      Larry said the highway was paved, but the area was pretty rustic.  He cannot remember the name of his first teacher, but he is thankful for the experience with her. 
     “She taught me how to throw on the wheel. I’d  
go twice a week after school. I was hyper and dyslexic.  As long as I was working with my hands, I seemed to calm down.”
     When Larry was an adult, he had several instances where he was able to work on a pottery wheel, but life and work (he’s been a barber for 34 years) always seemed to interfere with his hobby. Then he met Desiree at the Arkansas Arts Center.
     “She was at the Arts Center doing some pottery classes, independent study with Kelly Edwards.  I was visiting.  I threw a pot.  And then I enrolled in a class.”
        It was there that he made his first colander. 
        “I still have it.  We use it.”
     Now, Larry is known for his colanders. In fact, one of them was what got him his “in” at The Museum Store.  He gave one to a friend who was working in Canvas, the museum restaurant, and it ended up by the register as a candy bowl.  And that’s where the then manager of The Museum Store saw it and was quite impressed.
     “She said make two or three.  We can sell them. Then she bought rice bowls and coffee cups.  They sold so quick, I had to make a bunch more.”
       Nowadays, Larry spends part of his Fridays in independent study with Ms. Edwards at the Art Center. And he plans to stick with his education and his hobby.
     “The Arts Center is great. I’ve been selling my pottery at the gift shop.  I am able to pay for most of my hobby.  I am still surprised at this. 
      “I am very thankful.  There are a lot of pot-ters at the Arkansas Arts Center.  And they are kind enough to rank me up with them.”
     Larry likes to experiment with different gla-zes. His work gravitates toward light silvers and silvery gray mattes. He’ll make pottery on commission, but he warns that it’s not cookie cutter.  Each piece is one of a kind.  
       “When I can do something freely, it seems to me nice.  I play and experiment.  I am just having fun.  I want to have fun with them - and sell them.” 

     In addition to the Arts Center and The Freckled Frog, you may find Larry’s pottery at Stifft Station Gifts and Sundries and South Main Creative. You may contact him at 681-1097. This story was written by Bobbi Nesbitt. You may contact her at 221-7467.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Events in Little Rock March and April 2017

Pirates of Penzance 
     Pirates of Penzance will be performed 7:30 p.m. March 31 and 3 p.m. April 1 at Wildwood Park for the Arts.  This Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera has been a staple for audiences for decades, and it's just as funny today as it was at its debut in 1879.  For information, call Leslie Golden at 821-7275.

Jar the Floor
  Jar the Floor will be performed March 29 to April 16 at The Rep downtown.
       The ticket price is $30 to $65.  
    Four generations of black women gather to celebrate their beloved, outrageous matriarch’s 90th birthday. The trouble is, recently widowed MaDear would rather watch her soap operas and read her Bible than blow out the candles on her cake.

        Tempers flare and secrets are revealed, yet rollicking humor bites its way through the cycles of guilt and blame passed on from mothers to daughters. Fierce and funny, Jar the Floor is a heartfelt comedy that proves the ghosts of the past should not rob us of the moments we have together in the here and now.

    Springfest will be held 8:30 a.m. a.m. - 6 p.m. April 1 at Julius Breckling Riverfront Park in the River Market. This free festival includes activities for children, food trucks, a dog parade, races for short-legged dogs, special performances and fun with popular emcees Craig O’Neal and Roger Scott.
     This year’s theme for the Ruff on the River Pooch Parade is Saturday Night Fever with pups dressed in disco themes. There will be prizes for best costume, best stroller and best wagon. For $5, you can enter your pet into the fun. The Weenie Dog Derby will include races of  three size pooches - Beenie Weenies, Hot Dogs and Summer Sausage. 
     For more information, call Ashley Parker at 225-3378 or visit

Gladys Knight
      The Empress of Soul and seven-time Grammy Award winner will dazzle Little Rock 8 p.m. April 3 at Robinson Performance Hall. 
      Tickets are $43, $58 and $68.  Come and hear some of the songs that made the 1960s and ‘70s a great time for music lovers: Every Beat Of My Heart, Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me, I Heard It Through the Grapevine, Midnight Train to Georgia, and more.

Curbside Couture 
     The sixth annual Curbside Couture, a delightful "green" fashion show, will be held 7 - 9 p.m.
April 2 at the Clinton Presidential Center.  It features wearable designs made of recycled materials
by youngsters grades 3 through 12.
     Before the event, students will have had the opportunity to attend mentoring sessions with
acclaimed fashion designers - including Little Rock fashion maven Connie Fails - and receive
feedback about their creations.  Cash awards will be given for the best designs in elementary,
middle and high school levels.  For more information, call Ms. Fails at 748-0405 or write her at

Jazz in the Park
         From 6 - 8 p.m. each Wednesday in April, music lovers can come together to enjoy live jazz and support Little Rock’s own musicians during Jazz in the Park in Riverfront Park. 
      For four years this free event has been held in the History Pavilion at the park. It is sponsored by the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau.
       This year, the event will continue its partnership with Art Porter Music Education, Inc., which offers scholarships to talented Arkansas music students who wish to further their education while promoting community service and volunteering.  
         This is the lineup:
         April 5 - The Funkanites (New to Jazz in the Park)
         April 12 - Ramona (New to Jazz in the Park)
         April 19 - Tonya Leeks & Co.
         April 26 - Sounds So Good                    

       Coolers are not allowed at Jazz in the Park, but beer, wine, soft drinks and water will be available for sale, with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit the Art Porter Music Education’s scholarship fund. Lawn chairs and blankets are welcome, and there is some seating in the natural stone amphitheater at the History Pavilion.  In case of rain, the West Pavilion will be the alternate location.


Youth Home’s Eggshibition celebrates its 26th year April 7 at the Jack Stephens Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.  Come on out and support the kids while enjoying live and silent auctions, original egg art, glass from James Hayes, live music by The Rodney Block Collective and delicious food and libations. 

     David Bazzel and Chris Kane are hosting, and Craig O’Neill is this year’s auctioneer. General admission is $50.  Patron access is $75.  Doors open for general admission at 7 p.m. A special VIP reception for patrons begins at p.m. For more information, visit

 Dead Poets Society

      Dead Poets Society will be shown 1 - 3 p.m.  April 8 at The Ron Robinson Theater downtown.  Admission is $5. Come enjoy the full movie theater experience complete with comfortable seating, wonderful picture and sound, and concessions, including wine and beer. For information, call Moriah Pedro at 320-5715.

Beethoven and Blue Jeans
   The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s Beethoven and Blue Jeans will be held 7:30 p.m. April 8 and 3 p.m. April 9 at Robinson Center downtown.
   It will include Beethoven's Consecration of the House Overture, Sibelius's Symphony No. 2, and Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1, featuring Andrew Irvin on violin. Philip Mann will conduct. For more information, visit

Downtown Dash 
     The Junior League of Little Rock’s Downtown Dash will be held 8:30 a.m. - noon April 8 starting at the Junior League Building, 401 Scott Street.  It will include a 10k, a 5k and a special 1k for kids that will begin at 8 a.m. The cost is $10 - $40. 

   The race will feature Downtown Little Rock landmarks, such as the River Market, the Clinton Library and the Arkansas Arts Center. The race is also handicap and stroller accessible. For more information visit

An Evening with David Sedaris
   An Evening with David Sedaris promises to be filled with his wickedly witty observations 8 p.m. April 21 at Robinson Center Performance Hall.
    Mr. Sedaris made his comic debut recounting his charmingly quirky experiences of being a Macy's elf, reading his "Santaland Diaries" on National Public Radio's Morning Edition in 1992. His sardonic humor and incisive social critique have made him one of NPR's most popular and humorous commentators. 

    In 2001, he was named Humorist of the Year by Time magazine and received the Thurber Prize for American Humor.  His new Theft By Finding will be released May 30. Tickets are $25, $33, $38, $43 and $50.   ticketmastercom.

Jewish Food Festival 
     The Jewish Food and Cultural Festival will be held 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. April 30 at War Memorial Stadium.  Admission and parking are free.
    The festival features traditional Jewish foods, booths on Jewish and Israeli culture, Judaica, jewelry and other gift items for sale, Jewish music, and kids activities. It will include traditional Jewish foods: corned beef sandwiches, kosher hot dogs, cabbage rolls, blintzes, kugel and more, as well as homemade Jewish treats including rugelach, babka, challah, and chocolate-covered matzo. Israeli dishes, such as falafel, hummus, and Israeli salad, will be available, too. 

      The  festival will also feature booths on Jewish and Israeli culture. At the ever-popular Ask-the-Rabbi booth, visitors can learn about Judaism itself, from Jewish holidays to life-cycle customs. For more information, call Marianne Tettlebaum at 663-3571 or visit 

       IndiaFest 2017 will be held 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. April 30 at the River Market Pavilion.

    Admission is free. IndiaFest attempts to bridge cultures, generations and communities through a one-day of togetherness. The event promises an environment that salutes history, embraces globalization and celebrates communities. There will be cultural activities, entertainment, merchandise for sale, and, of course, authentic Indian food.

Pioneer Day Camp 2017: Settling Arkansas
       Each summer, pioneer day campers have fun as they explore what life was like in Arkansas more than 150 years ago. This year campers will take on the role of being new settlers in Arkansas. They will learn the fascinating steps involved in setting up home, including haggling over the price of land with the owner of a local land agency and surveying their newly-purchased land. They'll visit the blacksmith in his shop and see him make the nails and hardware for building a house. And they'll have the opportunity to “build a house” and then cook on the open hearth in a pioneer kitchen.
     The campers will enjoy crafts, pioneer games, and dancing. On the last day of camp, parents will be invited to watch the children dance the Virginia Reel in celebration of building a house.
     The dates are: June 12–16 for rising 3rd and 4th graders; and June 19–23 for rising 5th and 6th graders. The hours are 8 a.m. to noon. The cost is $85 per camper ($65 for museum members).  You may register online now to reserve your spot. Join the museum now to get discounted tuition. For more information, visit 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Art Group Gallery in Pleasant Ridge Town Center

Art Group Gallery 

                                        Stained Glass Forest - Louise Harris 

      Don’t think you can afford original art?
     Yes you can - when you buy it directly from the artists at The Art Group Gallery in the Pleasant Ridge Town Center, a co-operative effort of 17 very talented local artists.
       Holly Tilley, general manager of the gallery, said it doesn’t fit any typical gallery mold.  The artists, who are all part-owners, run the gallery. 
      “One of the owners is there everyday,” Mrs. Tilley of west Little Rock, said.

                                                    Cow Shoals - Bob Snider 

      The art is “wholesale,” Holly said, because there is no usual markup in price as found in typical art galleries, which she said can add 50 percent or more to the price of a canvas. (Although, the norm in Little Rock is 40 percent, according to some galleries contacted.) 
       “You are buying it directly from the artist,” Holly said.
      The art ranges from as little as $50 to $75 for small pieces up to the $500 to $750 range.  Many of the original works are priced at about $175 unframed.  Only a few very large canvases are priced above $1,000.

                                                Chimpanzee - Shirley Gentry 
                                               Lilies of the Nile - Patricia Wilkes      
     From the beginning, one of the goals of the group was to keep down the costs of running the gallery. “There’s no overhead, just rent and light, no personal cost,” Holly said. Her personal cell phone is the number for the gallery, so the group even saves on that expense.
       “We buy frames as a group. That way we are able to buy them more economically.  We have beautiful frames.”
       One of the great features of the gallery is that if you like a work of art, but do not like the frame, they will gladly swap it for one better suited to your taste. And all styles of frames are available.
       “We are starting our fourth year at Pleasant Ridge.  Fifteen years prior to that we started as an art studio in Maumelle.  One year we rented a ‘pop-up’ store here in Pleasant Ridge for a holiday art show. People received our art so well we just kept bringing more work.”
      Right after the very successful holiday show, the group decided to make Pleasant Ridge its permanent home and have a gallery instead of a studio. 
      “Everybody except one person came with us to start our new little business.
      “We’ve got a really great group of people.  We are a community.  We are constantly lifting one another up.”
      The shopping center has been a great location for the group. “We are really lucky to be there,” Holly said.
     By buying art from the group, you are help-ing the community, Holly said, because the gallery supports a number of different non-profits.  “All of us donate to every charity you can name.”
      It’s costly for the artists to do this, she said. “They have a lot of money invested on the front end. By buying the art, you are essentially helping us to continue to contribute to the community.”
       The gallery is unique in that it is a place that anyone in the community can come and paint.  “We have several stations in the back, and we actually teach lessons and host workshops and have workshops for us to take.”
      The gallery has also hosted a number of events for free.  It even had a wedding once. Events for non-profits are a way to give back to the community, and often people who attend will find art they must have.  So it’s win-win.  The gallery has hosted events for up to 200 people.  And many of the groups want an artist on hand to paint live for them, which turns out to be lots of fun all around. 
    Artists in the group work in oils, acrylics, water color and mixed media. Styles include impressionism, realism, and abstract.  
     The subjects are as varied as the artists, but there are lots of Arkansas-themed works, such as racing at Oaklawn, historic homes, farm scenes, and depictions of different lakes and rivers in the state. 
     The artists are a diverse group, but they have one thing in common.
     “We’d always rather be painting,” Holly said. “We love it that much.”
     The gallery is open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 - 6 p.m. on Sunday. It is also open by appointment.  690-2193.

Art Group Gallery Artists 
Patricia Wilkes was graduated from Washington School of Fine Art in 1973 with a bachelor’s in fine art and has worked as a freelance illustrator. She enjoys painting still lifes, large florals and landscapes of her travels in Italy.

Marie Weaver is a beaming grandmother whose grandchildren have inspired some of her best work.  She uses varied methods and styles for her inspiring nature scenes and visions of children and adults at work and play.

Holly Tilley loves being outdoors, and this is   reflected in her paintings of landscapes, including favorites such as Lake Ouachita, old barns, trucks and cows. Great cows! She has studied with Bill Garrison, Barry Thomas, and Dreama-Tolle Perry. 

Bob Snider is a signature member of Mid-Southern Watercolorists and has served as its president.  His vibrant horse racing paintings can be found in galleries in Palm Springs, Vail, and Seaside, Florida. You can see his demos at

Vonda Rainey paints predominantly impressionistic oils and acrylics.  After raising her family, she returned to her love of art and studied at the Arkansas Arts Center and with several noted local artists.  She is a member of the Arkansas League of Artists. 

Ann Presley is a full-time artist specializing in oils.  She paints scenes of the Ouachita and Ozark mountains in her native Arkansas and scenes of her travels in the southwest. She has had paintings in juried shows in Texas and Arkansas. 

Susan Plunkett works in watercolor, oil and acrylic.  She has studied at La Romita School of Art in Italy and recently completed a workshop in Arles, France.  Plein air painting gives her much joy and inspiration.  She’s on the Arkansas League of Artists board.

Ned Perme began art instruction at the Mansion Art and Framing in 2003, and when it closed the next year, he and some of the other students formed The Art Group in Maumelle. He paints vivid Arkansas landmarks and bold, colorful abstracts.

Michelle Moore studies painting, pottery and printmaking at the Arkansas Arts Center and has consistently been one of the top sellers at Museum School sales. She paints and does printmaking at her studio in The Pyramid Place Building.   

Terri Haugen is considered one of America’s foremost batik artists, and her work is collected worldwide. She has lived in Paris and Italy and exhibited in galleries in the States and overseas. The Art Group Gallery carries many of her paintings in oil and mixed media. 

Louise Harris has always had a creative nature and an appreciation for all styles of art. After raising her children, she returned to art and studied under a number of artists, including Susie Patton, Patrick Cunningham, Emily Wood, and Matt Coburn.

Shelly Gentry is a member of the Arkansas Pastel Society and has served on its board for the past three years.  Her paintings have been in a number of juried shows. She was graduated from Hendrix College  and from the Harrington Institute of Design in Chicago.

          Fawn by Shelly Gentry, acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas, 20x20 $450.00.

Lori Deymaz enjoys creating abstracts in which  color, or its absence, speaks to the viewer. “The beauty of the world is enhanced through various colors.  I embrace all of them, from the brightest pink to the most subtle gray, and I always love metallics.”

Dawn Bearden is the newest member of The Art Group.  Abstract modern art and urban contemporary mixed media are just some of the styles she works in, and over the years, this self-taught artist has been widely collected inside and outside of Arkansas.

               Blue Man Series 2 by Dawn Bearden, ink/resin on wood, 36x24, $500.00

Loren Bartnicke received her bachelor’s of fine art from Mississippi State University and is working on a master’s in fine art at Syracuse University.  Some of her bright, heavily textured pieces are almost three-dimensional.  She is a painter at Syracuse Stage.

                            City by Loren Bartnicke, oil on canvas, 36x48 $2,400

Shirley Anderson has a passion for plein air painting. She works in acrylic, oil, charcoal and pastels. Her landscapes have been in juried exhibitions in several states. She is a charter member of the Arkansas Pastel Society and served as its president.
    DeSoto Spillway by Shirley Anderson, pastel on sanded paper, 17x14, $375.00.

Ron Almond began taking art lessons from Matt Coburn at The Art Group after retiring from the Arkansas National Guard.  An Arkansas native now living in Maumelle, Ron uses brilliant colors in his landscapes and abstracts.
                       Aspen Glory by Ron Almond, oil on canvas, 24x30, $1,575.00

Monday, October 31, 2016

Shop The Freckled Frog and Support Arkansas
Artisans - Everything in the Shop Is Made Here

    Start your holiday shopping at The Freckled Frog, the delightful downtown shop that sells handcrafted items made exclusively by Arkansans.
    Sadie Nuffer, owner of the shop, said she has lots of new handicrafts perfect for gift giving.
     The shop has beautiful flame-painted copper jewelry by Miriam Quagliato, owner of The Gypsy Phoenix.  She makes her colorful designs on copper with heat from a torch.
     “We have coin rings made out of coins from different countries,” Ms. Nuffer said.  “I’ve seen these done before, but not this nice.  These are made by Gary Higgins of Alexander.”
     Larry Witherspoon of El Dubya Pottery creates some amazing pieces that look like museum art but function like your everyday dishes; they are dishwasher and microwave safe.  If you have a very special person on your list, a piece of pottery from Mr. Witherspoon would make a unique and functional gift. 
     The Freckled Frog carries a wide variety of t-shirts, many with Arkansas themes.  One of the youngest entrepreneurs is Kate Walters, 17, a senior at Central High School.  Ms. Walters started out selling her cat collars and other designs at the shop when she was only 10.  Now, she designs and cuts her own screens and prints her own t-shirts. 
    The shop has shirts from Hillcrest Water Bugs, the original maker of the “y’all” tees, and clothing lines from Homegrown Arkansas and Nativ.  It offers shirts by Tiffany O’Brien’s The Eccentric Dose, which are Arkansas themed. 
    Sadie said the shop’s location at 419 President Clinton Avenue has worked out well.
     “It’s really good.  We get tons of foot traffic.  We get people from all over the world, and it’s really fun to show off a good part of Arkansas.  We have lots of creative people around here.”
    The shop carries the work of about 70 Arkansas artisans.  
     Among them is Sadie’s sister, Rose Nuffer, who makes very fine leather journals.  Rose also gives free herbal classes every other Sunday at the shop. 
     The Freckled Frog has a great line of soaps, lotions and candles.
     “We have the most amazing candles ever.  They are made just for us.  They burn absolutely clean, they have an extremely long burn time, and they smell the same all the way to the bottom,” Sadie said. 
     The shop specializes in jewelry, with many pieces as low as $3.  Sadie makes a lot of the jewelry, much of which incorporates Arkansas quartz crystals. The shop offers framed art prints, scarves, hats, fingerless gloves and all manner of inexpensive, clever stocking stuffers.
     Don’t forget to pick up a copy of “Goodnight Little Rock” by Emily Wyatt and featuring fantastic illustrations by Nathaniel Dailey.
    Gift wrap is free at the Frog.  514-2060.