Little Rock has a far-reaching art community made up of many eclectic neighborhoods.By Amy Gordy
There are fantastic museums and theaters hosting local and national exhibits and shows throughout the year. The Arkansas Arts Center offers traveling exhibits and an expansive permanent collection. You’ll find “The Art of Seating: 200 Years of American Design” on exhibit through Dec. 31, followed by “Becoming John Marin: Modernist at Work” Jan. 26-April 22. Sign up for art classes at the Museum School, or take the kids to see a performance at the Children’s Theatre (the current season runs through May 13).
Explore the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, which is dedicated to African-American history, culture and community in Arkansas from 1870 to the present.
Learn about the nation’s 42nd president at the Clinton Presidential Center and Park, and enjoy the temporary exhibit “Art of Africa: One Continent, Limitless Vision” through Feb. 12.
Take a stroll in Riverfront Park and enjoy the sculptures in the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden. Discover Arkansas history, artwork and artifacts at the Butler Center galleries, the Old State House Museum and the Historic Arkansas Museum. Watch an acclaimed theatrical performance at The Arkansas Repertory Theater or the newly renovated Robinson Center, which hosts performances by Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Celebrity Attractions, Ballet Arkansas and more. Enjoy a classic film or a reading at the Ron Robinson Theater. Get a drink and enjoy a show at the Studio Theater, a community theater with a progressive attitude. Or enjoy a night at the city’s favorite community theater, The Weekend Theatre.
Pop over to the SOMA neighborhood and explore decades of changing purse design at the Esse Purse Museum & Store, one of only three museums in the world dedicated to the art of women’s handbags.
Central Arkansas has a thriving creative community of makers, artists, and shops that support their art. SOMA, on Main Street just south of Interstate 630, is the place to go to find eclectic, handmade and vintage treasures in a highly creative atmosphere. Pay a visit to The Green Corner Store & Soda Fountain to stock up on all-natural foods and locally made bath products, jewelry and more. South Main Creative is a modern take on an antique mall with vendors showcasing antiques, vintage treasures and handmade art. Argenta Bead Co. is the spot to find everything you need for jewelry making. Electric Ghost is a funky screen-printing shop and boutique. Comb through the records, vintage treasures, locally made T-shirts and more at Moxy Modern Mercantile.
In downtown, pop into Bella Vita Jewelry and Gifts and leave with a shiny new bauble. In the River Market, The Freckled Frog passionately supports local makers featuring more than 60 Arkansas artisans.
In Stifft Station, jewelry maker Cindi Booth has filled Stifft Station Gifts and Sundries with an eclectic mix of gifts, the majority of which are locally made.
The options are endless when it comes to locally made food and beverages in Little Rock. The city’s longtime dessert darling, Loblolly Creamery, moved out of the Green Corner Store and into its own space on Main Street in SOMA this year. Chill out at LePops in The Heights, which specializes in gourmet ice lollies made with locally grown produce, herbs and fruit. Satisfy your sweet tooth with small batch, artisan chocolates, truffles and caramels from Izard Chocolate.
Indulge in freshly baked bread and pastries at any of the town’s beloved bakeries including Boulevard Bread Company, Rosalia’s Family Bakery, Community Bakery or Dempsey Bakery where everything is gluten free.
Little Rock is having quite a beer boom with brewers popping up and delivering exciting locally made ales. Head over to the taprooms at Blue Canoe Brewing Co., Rebel Kettle Brewing, Lost 40 Brewing, Stone’s Throw Brewing, Vino’s Brew Pub or Damgoode Pies Pizzeria & Taproom. If you’re looking for something stronger, take a tasting tour at Rock Town Distillery, where they make Arkansas’ finest vodka, gin, rum, whiskey and more.
Get out and walk the streets of the River Market and meet artists at the monthly 2nd Friday Art Night. Look for art openings, live music and complimentary snacks and drinks at most venues.
2ND FRIDAY ART NIGHT LOCATIONS
Arkansas Capital Corporation
200 River Market Ave., Ste. 400
Arkansas Studies Institute
409 President Clinton Ave.
Bella Vita Jewelry
523 S. Louisiana St., Ste. 175
300 E. Third St., Ste. 101
Historic Arkansas Museum
200 E. Third St.
Matt McLeod Fine Art
108 W. Sixth St.
Nexus Coffee & Creative
301 President Clinton Ave.
Old State House Museum
300 W. Markham St.
River Market Books and Gifts
20 River Market Ave.
221 W. Second St.gallery221art.com
Hillcrest Shop ‘N’ Sip happens on the first Thursday of the month along lower Kavanaugh Boulevard. You’ll want to see what’s going on at Gallery 26, they show a vast range of local work from fine art to jewelry, cards, pottery and more. Box Turtle has an upscale bohemian style. Pop into Hillcrest Designer Jewelry where jeweler/gemologist Eric Coleman works his magic.
Enjoy tons of art openings at galleries on the third Thursday of each month in The Heights. A few galleries to see include:
Boswell Mourot Fine Art
5815 Kavanaugh Blvd.
8206 Cantrell Road
5707 Kavanaugh Blvd.
L&L Beck Art Gallery
5705 Kavanaugh Blvd.
5811 Kavanaugh Blvd.
In SOMA, Hearne Fine Art carries a must-see collection of African-American fine art. Head west to explore the art at M2 Gallery in Pleasant Ridge Shopping Center
Lisa Krannichfeld’s work has beenfeatured in numerous publications and shown in exhibitions nationallyand internationally. She’s won awards including the Grand Awardwinner in the 2017 Fort Worth Community Arts Center Juried Exhibition, Best of Show in the 2017 Magic City Art ConnectionArt Fair in Birmingham, and the Delta Award in the prestigious 57thAnnual Delta Juried Exhibition in 2015. She’s a feminist painterraised Little Rock, and her work often focuses on expressingfemale portraits in nontraditional ways. Krannichfeld’s latest series, “Undomesticated Interiors,” captures boldly dressed women lounging powerfully in decorative interiors. The colors, textures and fierceness of the paintings are truly vivid. Krannichfeld has been named “One To Watch” in Saatchi Art Magazine, and has had work featured in Anthropologie. You can find her art at M2 Gallery in Little Rock. lisakrannichfeld.com.