The Arkansas Delta is steeped in rich culture. It’s helped shaped the American South with its unmistakable contributions to art, music, food and culture.By Dwain Hebda
Bradbury Art Museum
Fowler Center at Arkansas State University
201 Olympic Drive, Jonesboro
bradburyartmuseum.org; (870) 972-2205
A fixture on the Arkansas State University campus in Jonesboro for more than 15 years, the Bradbury Art Museum features numerous exhibitions in contemporary art. The museum, renamed from the Bradbury Gallery in 2015, features art in all media with programming to promote the understanding of art and the artists, which include prominent regional, national and international figures. The BAM also sponsors the annual Delta National Small Prints Exhibition, a nationally-recognized juried print show that attracts artists’ work from across the U.S. and around the world.
Delta Cultural Center
141 Cherry St., Helena
Spread out across nine indoor and outdoor venues in downtown Helena, the Delta Cultural Center tells the story of a land and its people through art, music, historic properties, exhibits and education. Music takes center stage at the DCC. Permanent exhibits include Delta Sounds, a state of-the-art music area dedicated to the music of the region, including well-known gospel, rockabilly and blues performers with ties to the area. Another unique permanent exhibit, ”King Biscuit Time,” showcases the longest-running radio blues show in the world.
The inaugural Johnny Cash Heritage Festival opens Oct. 19-21, 2017, to celebrate the life and music of Johnny Cash. Following a highly successful string of concerts in Jonesboro to restore Cash’s rural childhood home and nearby Dyess Colony, the newly refurbished sites will host the three-day festival that will include main stage and local musicians, crafts, art, food and seminars that focus on the socioeconomic and cultural influences of the time and place that shaped the Man in Black and his iconic music. johnnycashheritagefestival.com.
Johnny Cash Boyhood Home
110 Center Drive, Dyess
Tour the boyhood home of legendary country musician Johnny Cash at the historic Dyess Colony, which was created in 1934 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal to aid in the nation’s economic recovery from the Great Depression. See what life was like for Cash in his early years on the farm inside this restored home.
862 U.S. 65, Dumas
Gail Miller’s pottery is well known to the crowds at War Eagle Craft Festival for her vivid colors, sharp contrasts and unusual forms, weaving tactile utilitarianism with unique aesthetics.
Rhoda's Famous Hot Tamales
714 Saint Mary St., Lake Village
Delta tamales are a Southern tradition. How the delicacies arrived in the Delta is still a mystery, but southerners just can’t get enough. Rhoda Adams has been serving up these corn husks filled with spicy seasonings and savory meat in Lake Village for more than 50 years.
SHOP IN THE DELTA
227 Cherry St., Helena
Stop by Handworks in downtown Helena to snag a piece of jewelry by Love, Nina Jane.
2005 Highway 38 W, Des Arc
Fill your rooms with the scent of Lux Fragrances, handmade in Des Arc. Find Lux Fragrances on the company’s website or through Park Hill Collection.
INSPIRED BY THE DELTA
Drawing ample inspiration of the rural and natural landscape around her, Norwood Creech captures the Delta tableau in her paintings and photographs. Alternatingly vibrant and haunting, her work captures the spirit of daily life in this special place. Creech resides in and draws inspiration from Lepanto in the Arkansas Delta, and is represented at M. Ford Creech Antiques & Fine Arts in Memphis. 870-243-3300, facebook.com/norwood.creech.art.
Meet a Local Maker
It’s hard to pin down Paul Michael in a word, but visionary comes close. The Lake Village native has enjoyed a lifetime of curiosity and craftsmanship, retail adventures and the simple pleasures of home.
His latest venture, Paul Michael Company, turns out beautiful, functional home elements from recycled and repurposed materials. The one-of-akind furniture and accent pieces are manufactured in their entirety in the company’s Dermott workshop, which buzzes seven days a week. The flagship store sits in the middle of a Lake Village cotton field. Created in small batches according to the reclaimed materials and implements available, each piece is designed to become “the antique of tomorrow.”
His shift to reclaimed-material furniture was the result of his noticing changing marketplace trends, and the national consciousness turning toward the need for recycling. Decades of being in the antique business had built up both his inventory of potential raw materials as well as his network of contacts for locating pieces’ finishing touches. The collection, internally nicknamed Paul’s
World, now includes coffee tables with tops cut from semi-truck trailer flooring and wheels fashioned from farm machinery parts, dining room tables from floorboards of a condemned Chicago bank, and walnut slab-seat benches that take four years to make.
3696 U.S. 65, Lake Village