Arkansas’ capital is filled with striking three-dimensional art
Hungry? Very near the Bernice Garden is one of Little Rock’s most popular restaurants, the Oxford American-associated South on Main (2). Chef Matthew Bell’s menu is a mix of high-end fare and traditional Southern cooking, something that has gained him national recognition, including being selected to cook for the James Beard House in New York. Visit southonmain.com for more information, or call 501-244-9660 for reservations.
3. Governor’s Mansion
1800 Center St., 501-324-9805
The 2015 installation of Robyn Horn’s piece Sandi’s Millstone was a crowning achievement of the Governor’s Mansion Association, the nonprofit organization that raises funds for upkeep and improvement to the top executive’s home. The grounds of the mansion feature the landscape design of Arkansas native and professional gardener P. Allen Smith, providing a lovely setting to view other sculptures such as Arkansas sculptor Jan Woods’ bust of President Bill Clinton. To schedule a tour, call 501-324-9805, and for more information visit arkansasgovernorsmansion.com.
4. State Capitol Grounds
500 Woodlane St., 501-682-5080
One of the most striking sculptures in Little Rock is the Arkansas Medal of Honor Memorial by Arkansas sculptors John and Kathy Deering. Commonly known as the Congressional Medal of Honor, it is presented to military personnel for actions above and beyond the call of duty, and 25 Arkansans have been awarded the medal since its inception in 1863. The memorial consists of a bronze eagle surrounded by plaques honoring each Arkansas recipient.
5. Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden
400 President Clinton Ave., 501-376-4781
This sculpture garden in Little Rock is the main showcase of sculpture in Little Rock’s downtown River Market District. The works here were chosen by the Public Art Monument Sculpture Commission through competition. Sculptures in the garden from Arkansas sculptors include Breaking the Cycle by Kevin Kresse, Nautilus and The Jazz Player, both by Bryan W. Massey, Sr., Coral by Michael Warrick and Full of Himself by Jan Woods.
The Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden is also home to an annual sculpture show and sale where the public can purchase sculptures. Proceeds from the sales go to the artists and are used to fund future purchases of artworks for the city of Little Rock. Group tours are available, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other notable sculptures from Arkansas artists in the area include Kevin Kresse’s Mother Earth, a water feature located on 5th Street between Maple and Main in North Little Rock and Carpe Diem by John Deering, outside the Copper Grill on 3rd Street in Little Rock. In addition to these wonderful works of art by Arkansas artists, the River Market is also home to works by nationally known artists like Tim Cherry, Ted Schaal and Lorri Accott.
Why walk when you can ride? Bobby’s Bike Hike (6) in the River Market’s Ottenheimer Hall has just what you need, offering rentals and themed tours that go all over the city. Call 501-613-7001 or visit bobbysbikehike.com/littlerock for more details.
What next? The River Market is full of interesting things to do, including visiting the William J. Clinton Presidential Library (7). See art, gifts from foreign leaders and a recreation of the Clinton-era Oval Office. Visit clintonlibrary.gov for more information.
Mark your calendar! Take in the sculptures and get started on your Christmas shopping this December with the Arkansas Craft Guild’s 37th Annual Christmas Showcase, located in the Statehouse Convention Center downtown in the River Market District. Starts December 4 until December 6. Call 870-269-4120 or visit arkansascraftguild.org for more information.