A steel sculpture of three giant red intersecting circles was installed last Thursday night at the entrance to Little Rock National Airport.
“Encircling the Future,” Little Rock’s latest addition to its sparse public art scene, is the creation of Mark Leichliter of the National Sculptors Guild in Loveland, Colo.
Leichliter, 37, won a $50,000 commission from the Little Rock Airport Commission for the 16-foot-tall and nearly 1,200-pound piece, his third public art project. The installation is part of its $1.5 million dressing up of the renovated entry to the airport.
The sculpture, which Leichliter designed with a computer, will be one of three in an edition.
Deborah H. Schwartz, the airport’s executive director, called the sculpture Little Rock’s new “front door” and said it would define the city for visitors to the opening of the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Center.
A speech by Clinton titled “Encircling the Future” inspired the sculpture, originally proposed for the presidential library by guild director John Kincade to Arkansas friends Dean Kumpuris and Jimmy Moses. Leichliter said they decided the sculpture would be a better fit at the airport.
Leichliter said he’ll return to Arkansas in November for the dedication of other Guild sculptures purchased with private money for the city. Kincade said he plans to make a celebratory journey with the sculptures “from the headwaters of the Arkansas [River]” to Little Rock.
Leichliter said the surface of the sculpture should stay its brilliant red for many years, thanks to an electroplating and baking process. Why red? It just looked right on the computer screen, he said, a serendipitous match to the airport’s red, white and blue color theme.
An arc of fountains is being installed at the road entrance to the airport as part of the new landscaping.
n Little Rock artists Dominique Simmons and Lam Tze Sheung will show new work at Gallery 26, 2611 Kavanaugh Blvd., Sept. 25-Nov. 20. The show opens with a public reception from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sept. 25.
Simmons is well known to Little Rock art audiences; she’s taught drawing at the Arkansas Arts Center and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and is a member of the HeARTworks community outreach project of the Quapaw Quarter United Methodist Church. She’ll show works in pastel and paint.
Tze Sheung, a native of Hong Kong who besides being a painter has studied music in Hong Kong and London, also works in chalk pastels, paint and mixed media.
n The Beechwood Grill restaurant will show the diverse work of Little Rock photographers Ed Barham and Bob Wood in a show dubbed “Ed Wood.” Barham shoots in black and white using infrared photography, and Wood’s photos are color-manipulated digital images. A reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. opens the show, which will run through November with several change-outs of the works.
n The conference portion of the “Life Interrupted: The Japanese American Experience in World War II Arkansas” project opened this week, and with it several exhibits in Little Rock featuring art and artifacts from the internment camps at Jerome and Rohwer. They are:
COX CREATIVE CENTER, 120 Rock St.: “Henry Sugimoto: Painting an American Experience,” through Nov. 21. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat. 918-3090.
MACARTHUR MUSEUM OF ARKANSAS MILITARY HISTORY, MacArthur Park: “Undaunted Courage, Proven Loyalty: Japanese American Soldiers in World War II,” through fall 2005; “Beyond the Call of Duty: Honoring the 24 Japanese American Medal of Honor Recipients,” through March 2005.
“Witness: Our Brothers’ Keeper,” through March 2005. Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tue.-Sat., 1-4 p.m. Sun. 376-4602.
STATEHOUSE CONVENTION CENTER, Markham and Scott Sts.: “Against Their Will: The Japanese American Experience in World War II Arkansas,” opens 5:30 p.m. Sept. 24, runs through Nov. 28; “America’s Concentration Camps: Remembering the Japanese American Experience,” Sept. 24-Nov. 28.
UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS AT FAYETTEVILLE: Roger Shimomura and John Newman, “The Other Side of the Fence,” paintings and prints about the WWII internment of Japanese Americans, through Oct. 15, Fine Arts Center Gallery. Hours: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri. 479-575-5202.
UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS AT LITTLE ROCK: “Lasting Beauty: Miss Jamison and the Student Muralists,” Gallery I, through Oct. 18; “Arts and Crafts of the Camps: The Arkansas Camp Experience,” Gallery II, through Nov. 18; Fine Arts Building. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sat., 2-5 p.m. Sun. 569-8977.