Art around CALS

With the closing of the Galleries & Bookstore at Library Square, there have been questions about the importance of art to the library system. CALS Art Administrator Colin Thompson assures us that despite a few building changes, the presence of art within the system will remain now, during, and after the Main renovation.

CALS believes that the arts preserve and transmit our heritage, enrich our lives, and contribute significantly to the social, educational, and cultural well-being of all Arkansans. CALS’s mission is to provide a venue for the study, practice, and enjoyment of the arts and artists of Arkansas. CALS’s art program exhibits and interprets works by Arkansans or artworks related to Arkansas. CALS also collects, exhibits, interprets, and preserves works by Arkansans or artworks related to Arkansas. You can enjoy exhibitions and art programs at any one of our fifteen branch libraries. –Colin Thompson

The Underground Gallery in the Roberts Library remains open and will continue to host a variety of art, whether it is exhibiting art from the CALS permanent collection or new items brought in. The Rohwer and Jerome: Japanese American WWII Incarceration Camps in Arkansas exhibition is on view through July 29.

Once “Mini Main” in the Roberts Library is completed, Thompson also anticipates art continuing to have a presence throughout that space, utilizing the kids’ and teens’ area to house art on the uppermost sections of the walls above the books.

Right now at Main, a new exhibition has recently been installed that features ceramic artwork from artists studying with Kensuke Yamada, Assistant Professor of Ceramics at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Art and Design. These artworks will be on display in the Main Library through August 31. The participating artists are: Courtney Wilson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe; Bailey Holley, do that weird thing I like; Haley Davis, Resilience; Nicole Stewart, *Brat in a Hat, *Little Girl, Big World, *The Rings, and *Xylophone: Music Maker; and Lily Warren, Vessel I.

Many pieces that were on display throughout CALS branches in the past few years belonged to the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts. With the museum’s recent reopening, most of those items have returned to their home, creating the opportunity to showcase more art from within CALS’s own collection.

On view now through September 2 is the Arkansas Art Educators State Youth Art Show 2023 at the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library & Learning Center. The exhibition features Best of Show winners from art competitions held in seven regions of the state with artwork created by talented students from kindergarten through twelfth grade.

July’s Second Friday Art Night (2FAN) will be 5-8 p.m. on July 14 at UA Little Rock Downtown at 333 President Clinton Ave., across from the Roberts Library. Stay tuned for exhibition and performance information. 

Finally, the Nixon Library has a new mural! The Mural Project, a community collaboration between the Central Arkansas Library System and the City of Jacksonville, is complete. The mural was created by local artist Andrew Parker, and the project was spearheaded by Dr. Robert Price, the Director of Programs & Economic Development for the City of Jacksonville.

And thanks to a generous grant from the Windgate Foundation, CALS offers a number of art-centric programs throughout the system for all ages. The next time you’re at your favorite branch, be sure to look around and appreciate the art that you might not have ever noticed, then see if there’s a program where you can create some of your own!