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GOING UP IN CONWAY: Mural designed by Morton Brown.
  • GOING UP IN CONWAY: Mural designed by Morton Brown.

Peg Newton Smith was a larger-than-life figure in Little Rock, working as she did to save historic structures in the Quapaw Quarter and bring to attention, through the Territorial Restoration gallery, the work of Arkansas artists. Now, the Historic Arkansas Museum (the Territorial Restoration's descendant) is looking for an Arkansas artist to design a sculpture to honor its long-time volunteer and commissioner — though not necessarily with a larger-than-life statue.

The HAM Foundation has set aside $200,000 for the memorial, which the museum hopes will convey the spirit of the Arkansas artist. The piece will be placed at the Second Street entrance to the museum.

The museum's initial concept for the piece was silhouettes of figures inspired by Louis Freund's drawings of square dancers. Freund's work was the first featured in the Gallery for Arkansas Artists, which Smith began with Ed Cromwell in 1973. HAM is not wed to that idea, however; its letter to artists says it's open “to other ideas which crystallize the mission and vision of the museum in an insightful way and celebrate the spirit of Peg Smith and her enthusiasm and delight in the museum and Arkansas.”

To begin the application process, artists or design teams must submit by Oct. 12 a Request for Qualifications form, available from Louise Terzia, director of development, at 324-9307 or louise@arkansasheritage.org. Once the RFQs are in, a committee of museum board members, commissioners and representatives of the public will choose five or fewer artists or design teams to submit design proposals.

Morton Brown, 34, an artist-in-residence at the University of Central Arkansas, has begun painting a 26-by-36-foot mural on Conway City Hall that celebrates the relationship between Conway and UCA.

Brown, a UCA graduate who holds a master's degree from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, is working with UCA art students on the mural, which will be dedicated on Oct. 6 during a day-long arts celebration.

Brown met with the UCA community and the public for ideas and feedback on the designs for the Conway Community Mural Project last spring. He started painting Aug. 13. He'll give a talk at 7 p.m. tonight (Aug. 30) in McCastlain Hall room 143 about the mural.

UCA is also working on a public art project to celebrate its centennial. The five finalists, chosen from 150 applicants from 32 states, include Alice Adams and Jackie Ferrara of New York City; Cliff Garten of Venice, Calif., Andrew Leicester of Minneapolis, and Barbara Grygutis of Tucson. Their designs are due Sept. 21.

“In Response to Healing,” a collection of 50 artworks made during a time of healing, is now on exhibit at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. The show, co-curated by artist Dr. Peg Speirs, includes photography, painting, printmaking, drawing, and several sculptural installations. Speirs was inspired to put together the exhibit following her own experience making art while suffering from leukemia.

Speirs will give a talk about the show at 7 p.m. Sept. 20 in the Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall of the Fine Arts Center.

Little Rock artist Hamid Ebrahimifar worked with patients at Arkansas Children's Hospital to create “Views from a Traveling Train,” which goes on exhibit Sept. 1 at Crystal Bridges at the Massey in Bentonville. The paintings, which involved more than 100 patients and their siblings and were created over a 10-month period, will go on exhibit at the hospital after the two-week run at CBM. Ebrahimifar worked under the aegis of the Arkansas Arts Center's Healthful Arts Program.

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