Bats out, new works in at the Arts Center | Rock Candy

Bats out, new works in at the Arts Center


"View of Paris from the North-East" (ca. 1830-35) by Jean-Baptist-Camille Corot.
  • "View of Paris from the North-East" (ca. 1830-35) by Jean-Baptist-Camille Corot.

Arts Center Director Todd Herman drew hearty laughs today at the Arts Center's annual meeting in announcing that the Rembrandt show had to be closed on Friday because of an invasion of bats. He said Kenwood attendance figures (716 on Saturday and Sunday) did not include the bats. "I can't blame them for wanting to get a closer look."

Eye Candy — on vacation last week, the faithful may have discerned — received a couple of inquiries Friday about the bats, wondering when the Arts Center would open again. Apparently, there were people from out of town who came specifically to see the show. Deputy director Laine Harber said about 20 to 30 bats entered the gallery from a hole that was subsequently shut. Some of the bats perished; the rest were captured and released, one by one, Harber said.

The annual meeting produced no real news. As reported earlier, board members noted that the Arts Center ended the year with $55,000 in the bank, the third year in a row to have a little left over. It has been able to make down payments on exhibitions, so that it's been able to schedule shows through fiscal year 2015. Its revenue in the 2013 fiscal year was $5.8 million. Of that $1.8 million came from donors, $1.4 million was earned (Children's Theater and the Museum School made up the lion's share), $1.2 million came from the Arkansas Arts Center Foundation, $800,000 came from Tabriz and $500,000 from government funding.

Foundation president Warren Stephens noted the Arts Center acquired 62 works of art during the fiscal year, including 40 drawings, three paintings, 1 photograph, three sculptures and 15 works of contemporary craft. Among the new works are Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot's "View of Paris from the North-East" and John Himmelfarb's "Dos Guise." Curtis and Jackye Finch donated 20 drawings, and they'll be exhibited in the October exhibition "Face to Face: Self-Portraits." Hope Aldrich, daughter of John D. Rockefeller III, donated a watercolor by Charles Burchfield in honor of her father. Her father was the nephew of the Arts Center's patron, Winthrop Rockefeller.

Winning the Winthrop Rockefeller Award, the Arts Center's highest recognition, was the Windgate Charitable Foundation, which is known for generous giving in the arts and was a sponsor of the "Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: The Treasures of Kenwood House, London" exhibition. In accepting the award, foundation head John Brown noted that the Arts Center had gone through a "rough spot," and that where some donors "leaned back," board member, artist and patron of the arts "Robyn [Horn] and the board leaned forward." He was referring to the Arts Center's debt incurred during its "World of the Pharaohs" exhibition several years ago.

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