The Arkansas Arts Center will close in November 2019 for a massive renovation, now estimated at close to $100 million, but that doesn’t mean it won’t have a presence. In a clever collaboration with the Central Arkansas Library System, 3D objects from the permanent collection will be exhibited at CALS branches, its Main Library, and the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies.

The arrangement, which the Arts Center announced today, chose the new sites for the works pictured in the slideshow here (and others) based on the theme and ambiance of the destinations. For example:


Wendy Maruyama’s “The Tag Project” piece, which was exhibited at the Arts Center in 2013 in the “Wendy Maruyama: Tag Project/Executive Order 2066,” was inspired by the internment of Japanese Americans in the camps at Rowher and Jerome during World War II. The tags replicate 120,000 individual ID tags worn by internees. This piece is destined for the Butler Center, which has the Rosalie Santine Gould-Mabel Jamison Vogel collection of art, artifacts, documents and photographs saved from the camp. Gould was an art teacher at Rohwer, and she willed items she saved from her students to her friend Gould.

Judy Onofrio’s “Just Pretending,” a large found-object sculpture of a mermaid that was long exhibited in the atrium of the Arts Center, is aptly going to a place where children will see it, the Hillary Clinton Rodham Children’s Library.


Peter Grieve’s tin sculpture of a man on a donkey, “Sancho,” will go to the Max Milam Library in Perry County as a reflection of the county’s agricultural history, according to a press release from the Arts Center, though because Perry County is also home to Heifer International maybe some goat art will head there, too.

The library is sending John G. Garrett’s “War Games Basket” to the Amy Sanders Library in Sherwood, its news release explains, because of its focus on STEM programs and recycling, though it seems it would have been more suited to Jacksonville’s Esther DeWitt Nixon Library, next to the air base. Other military-themed work will be going to the Nixon Library.


Dee Brown Library in Southwest Little Rock will get “Young Girl with Moths” by Margaret Keelan; the connection’s not obvious, but the piece is terrific. Michelle Erickson’s “Demon and Diety Pot” and other teapots will go to the Roosevelt Thompson Library. The library says it will send works in turned wood to the Millie Brooks Library in Wrightsville.

The Arts Center’s paintings and drawings will be placed in a secure facility with light and temperature controls.