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LR Visitors Bureau commissions sculpture

'Ebrahimifar' opens at Boswell-Mourot.

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CARICOF IN THE GARDEN: The LRCVB has commissioned another sculpture by Kathleen Caricof for the Statehouse Convention Center.
  • CARICOF IN THE GARDEN: The LRCVB has commissioned another sculpture by Kathleen Caricof for the Statehouse Convention Center.

Colorado sculptor Kathleen Caricof has been commissioned by the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau to create a work for the Statehouse Convention Center.

Caricof's piece will go around a column in the "rotunda," the entrance to the Convention Center at the bottom of the escalators in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel.

Jim Rice, chief operating officer for the LRCVB, said Caricof was one of six artists invited to compete for the $35,000 commission. John Kinkade, executive director of the National Sculptors Guild, coordinated the search for the LRCVB.

"Stars and Stripes," the steel sculpture in front of War Memorial Stadium, is also Caricof's work; the Roy and Christine Sturgis Charitable Trust reportedly provided $500,000 of the funding for the $625,000 piece. She also won "Best in Show" in last year's Sculpture at the River Market event with her piece "Beginning Life"; that work is now in the Vogel/Schwartz Sculpture Garden in Riverfront Park.

Fried chicken and roast beef sandwiches and other delights from the Kroger deli helped fund the commission. Kroger paid the LRCVB $127,104 in July in back taxes owed since 2007 from sales of prepared foods at 10 Little Rock stores, and the money, considered a budget surplus, was placed into an art fund and other capital improvement funds. The commission is part of a larger project to renovate the Convention Center, which is getting new floors, wall coverings, lighting, door fixtures and more. The work should be ready by the first of the new year.

The Advertising and Promotion Commission, which oversees the LRCVB, also appropriated another $20,000 last week for the purchase of public art that will join the other (privately purchased) works in the Vogel/Schwartz Sculpture Garden. Normally, the art fund pays for work in the Convention Center, the Robinson Center and other commission properties, but this year the money went into the commission's destination development fund, which may be spent for projects on other public properties, like Riverfront Park. Purchases will be selected by an A and P Commission committee from entries in the Sculpture at the River Market event, to be held 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 15 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 17 in the market's outdoor pavilions.

V.L. Cox's painted portraits behind screen doors evoke a rural Southern past, one she happens to share. Her subjects look at us through those screen doors — not those you'd find on a home but on commercial establishments, tacked with tin ad signs ("Smoke Camels, They're Mild!"); they are separated from us both physically and symbolically. Her exhibit of the doors, "Images of the American South," opens at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7, at the Thea Foundation, 401 Main St. in North Little Rock.

"Ebrahimifar" is the name of the four-sibling art exhibit opening Saturday, Oct. 9, at Boswell-Mourot featuring work by Little Rock artist and Iranian native Hamid Ebrahimifar, his brothers, Masoud and Saeed, and sister, Ferdos.

The siblings were raised in a "colorful household," Hamid Ebrahimifar said, that included an uncle who was a "Sunday painter," another that was a poet and Hamid's father, a "man of all trades" who was also a poet. That household, set in the turmoil of Iran, produced four artists: filmmaker Saeed, who graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1980 and who will show the short documentary "Taghche (Ledge)" at Boswell-Mourot; painter Ferdos, whose last visit to Iran coincided with the disputed elections and who says her latest work has been influenced by violence against women; painter and furniture designer Masoud, whose paintings of keys that will show at Boswell-Mourot portray "suspended lives of those who hold the key to a free Iran," and multi-media artist Hamid, an art teacher at the Arkansas Arts Center since 1988 and artist-in-residence at Arkansas Children's Hospital, who will show ceramic work.

The Ebrahimifar siblings showed their work together for the first time three years ago at the Seyhoun Gallery in Los Angeles, where Ferdos lives. Ferdos, Masoud and Hamid will be in Little Rock for the reception, 6-10 p.m. Oct. 9. The show will run through Oct. 30.

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