Erbie Jennings III
Laying the Foundation, 12th grade
Mixed media
Episcopal Collegiate School, Little Rock
Teacher: Joy Schultz

Ashlyn Sorrows
Stand Together, 8th grade
Mixed Media
Pulaski Heights Middle School, Little Rock
Teacher: Jessica Taverna

Forty-two works by students from sixth through 12th grades at schools across Arkansas comprise the “Imagine the Inclusive School of the Future” art exhibit at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site Visitor Center.

The exhibit, on display Sept. 1-30 at 2120 W. Daisy L. Gatson Bates Dr., is part of the University of Central Arkansas College of Fine Arts and Communication’s commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the building of Little Rock Central High School in 1927 and the 60th anniversary of the desegregation crisis that occurred there in 1957 through the “Imagine If Buildings Could Talk: Mapping the History of Little Rock Central High School” project.

“I can’t wait for the public to see the artwork submitted by students from around the state,” said Dr. Gayle Seymour, project director and associate dean of UCA’s College of Fine Arts and Communication. “They will see high-quality work that not only exhibits knowledge of the principles of design, formal elements and a variety of techniques, but also awareness of many issues related to diversity.”

Admission is free.

Arkansas students in grades 6-12 were invited to design and create an artwork that addressed the question, “What does an inclusive school look like to you?” The contest was designed to further conversations about equity and social justice. Students and teachers were encouraged to think about inclusion in its widest possible definition.

Students were also asked to consider how design — of buildings, landscapes, furniture, fixtures, equipment or other products — could best serve students from disparate intellectual, cultural and economic backgrounds, as well as those with differing abilities, to access education opportunities.

Students were asked to write a brief Artist’s Statement about the inspiration, imagery and technical approach to their artwork.

Schools participating in the contest included Little Rock Central, Bryant High School, Conway High School, Episcopal Collegiate School in Little Rock, Lake Hamilton High School in Pearcy, LISA Academy in Little Rock, Pulaski Heights Middle School in Little Rock, Southside High School in Fort Smith and St. Joseph Catholic School in Paris.

Ninety students submitted works on paper, which included mixed media, drawing, painting, photography and digital work.

Three winners from each division (grades 6-8 and 9-12) will receive gift certificates from Blick Art Materials. An awards ceremony is set for 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, at the visitor center.

Sponsors for the project include Pyramid Art, Books, and Custom Framing/Hearne Fine Art; Blick Art Materials; and Delta Kappa Gamma Society International. Collaborating partners include the Federal Bureau of Investigation Little Rock Field Office and the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site.

“Imagine If Buildings Could Talk: Mapping the History of Little Rock Central High School” is made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, marking 51 years of excellence, and the National Park Service, celebrating its 101st birthday. “Imagine Your Parks” is a grant initiative from the NEA created in partnership with the NPS to support projects that use the arts to engage people with memorable places and landscapes of the National Parks System.

For more information, contact Seymour at 501-450-3295 or at gayles@uca.edu or visit uca.edu/cfac/central60/central60events/

The UCA College of Fine Arts and Communication includes the Departments of Art, Music, and Film, Theatre and Creative Writing, as well as the School of Communication. The college’s primary mission is the preparation of the next generation of artists, educators and communicators. For more information about CFAC, visit www.uca.edu/cfac or call 501-450-3293.