UA-Little Rock Chancellor Andrew Rogerson says he’s aiming for a June opening of a facility going in the Central Arkansas Library System’s newish parking deck and office building on Clinton Avenue, immediately north of the main library.
The exciting thing, to me, is that the opening will bring with it
For the past 27 years, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock has stored a fragile mural by social realist painter Joe Jones, after then-UALR archivist (and now Central Arkansas Library Director) Bobby Roberts rescued it from oblivion in 1984. Painted for Commonwealth College in Mena in 1935, “The Struggle of the South” portrays the miseries of sharecropping, a lynching and the plight of coal miners. Jones was a Missourian who said “I’m not interested in painting pretty pictures to match pink and blue walls. I want to paint things that knock holes in walls.”
It’s a heckuva tale. Rescued by Roberts for $500 when destruction was planned for a Fort Smith structure in which it was used as building material, it had one panel restored for display by a St. Louis art museum. This was a controversial lynching scene, likely to still stir emotions. Some $500,000 in restoration was done with grant money. The work, now worth an estimated $4.5 million remains in controlled storage in Texas. And, at last, Rogerson thinks he’ll have a great place to display it.
He was downtown yesterday talking to architects about
Rogerson had many things to say on topics great and small that will work their way into future conversations. But I was happy to hear plans
It was announced last year that the library system and UA-Little Rock had struck a deal for use of space on the first floor of the parking deck as a place for meetings and events. Rogerson envisions lectures, classes and something of a recruiting office for prospective students. He has a lot of ideas about attracting young brainy people to Little Rock and thinks a reputation as a university city should be a part of that. An outpost in the heart of a downtown with a lot of entertainment, residential and cultural activity couldn’t hurt.