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NWA Democrat-Gazette/DAVID GOTTSCHALK Brittany Glidewell, registered dental hygienist, cleans up her area after a procedure at WelcomeHealth in Fayetteville.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/DAVID GOTTSCHALK
Brittany Glidewell, registered dental hygienist, cleans up her area after a procedure at WelcomeHealth in Fayetteville.

WelcomeHealth adds dental care for kids

DAN HOLTMEYER

dholtmeyer@nwadg.com

Northwest Arkansas’ free medical and dental clinic is expanding its services to uninsured children, its director says.

Pediatric services at WelcomeHealth in Fayetteville began July 31, says executive director Monika Fischer-Massie. The clinic relies on volunteer care providers and donations and has been gradually buying the child-size X-ray machine and other dental supplies for months.

“It’s certainly a much-needed service, because we have patients calling and asking if we see children,” Fischer-Massie says, adding the services will include cleanings and sealants — “basically all dental services except braces.”

The clinic provides services for a few hundred adults each year and reached its 30th anniversary in October. Several groups around the metropolitan area provide free or low-cost dental or medical services, but WelcomeHealth is unique for combining both types of care for no charge, Fischer-Massie and others have said.

The target population, kids in or near poverty without dental or medical coverage, is relatively small. ARKids First, essentially Medicaid for children, covers at least some dental care as well as other medical needs, for instance.

But the number of children lining up for dental care alone could still reach around 200, Brittney Gulley, the clinic’s development director, said last year. Dental appointments for adults are typically full two or three months in advance.

Tens of thousands of Arkansas children have no health coverage of any kind, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, and others with insurance might not have dental services included or could be waiting for benefits to begin, Fischer-Massie says. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, and Congressional Republicans’ proposed alternatives to the law don’t require insurance companies to include dental care in their policies.

Children’s dental health also can affect overall health for years or decades to come, affecting diet, speech and response to disease, researchers and local dentists say. Almost one-fourth of children have untreated cavities, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control.

“These are patients who sometimes haven’t been to the dentist in years,” says Dr. Kenton Ross, a Fayetteville dentist. He volunteers at WelcomeHealth and at the partnership between Fayetteville Public Schools and Northwest Arkansas Community College that provides dental care to hundreds of students a year without insurance.

One of the most important pieces of caring for children is education about how to avoid sugary foods and take care of their teeth with brushing and floss, he says.

“They stick with it, they take ownership of it, and it becomes part of their new routine,” Ross says.

Thelma Jordan, a retired Winslow resident, says she didn’t go to the dentist regularly as a kid and had several cavities. It had been at least a decade since her last visit to the dentist when she started going to Washington Regional Medical Center’s free mobile dental clinic for adults last year.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/DAVID GOTTSCHALK Jan Willams, from left, dental assistant; Jordan Gall, pre-dental student volunteer; and Kayla Garibaldi, pre-dental student volunteer, assist dentist Jenna Waselues with fillings on a patient at WelcomeHealth in Fayetteville.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/DAVID GOTTSCHALK
Jan Willams, from left, dental assistant; Jordan Gall, pre-dental student volunteer; and Kayla Garibaldi, pre-dental student volunteer, assist dentist Jenna Waselues with fillings on a patient at WelcomeHealth in Fayetteville.

She needed a painful tooth pulled and several others filled and cleaned — “quite a bit” of work, she says.

“I can’t say enough good things,” Jordan says of her care at Washington Regional’s clinic, adding such a clinic geared for children would find plenty of need as well. “It has been such a benefit to Northwest Arkansas.”

Washington Regional spokeswoman Gina Maddox says the hospital isn’t planning to expand to pediatric care, but does plan to add another dentist. More than 2,000 people are enrolled for the clinic’s services.

Fischer-Massie says WelcomeHealth’s efforts will focus on prevention, particularly with sealants that lock away the nooks and crannies of the molars from decay-causing microbes. It will start by taking patients who are 3 years old or younger or 12 and older, eventually filling in the gap in between.

Pediatric patients served at WelcomeHealth will be uninsured.

“After speaking with Laura Kellams of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, we realized about 7 percent of Northwest Arkansas children are uninsured, so we want to be here for those families,” says Brittney Gulley, director of development for WelcomeHealth. “We are a stepping stone for families that might not have the financial means to seek medical and dental care elsewhere.”

“We want them to keep their teeth and keep their teeth healthy,” Fischer-Massie says.


FYI

Free Or Low-Cost Dental Care

Group*Ages served*Cost*Contact

WelcomeHealth*Adults & children*Free*479-444-7548, welcomehealthnwa.org

Community Clinic*Adults and children*Sliding fee based on income*1-855-438-2280, communityclinicnwa.org/167-2

Fayetteville Youth Dental Program*Children (in Fayetteville schools)*Free*479-301-2131

Samaritan Community Center*Adults*Free*479-636-0451, samcc.org/samaritan-dental-clinic

Washington Regional Medical Center Mobile Dental Clinic*Adults*Free*479-463-4746, wregional.com/main/mobile-dental-clinic.aspx

— Source: Staff report

 

 

We All Scream For…

Ice Cream Social still bringing community together

LARA JO HIGHTOWER

lhightower@nwadg.com

The Free Weekly/ANDY SHUPE Tess Kidd, museum manager, explains a display about Arkansas in World War I on show at Headquarters House in Fayetteville. The traveling display will be in Cane Hill after Aug. 19 and was produced by the Arkansas State Archives of the Department of Arkansas Heritage through the work of the Arkansas World War I Centennial Commemoration Committee.

The Free Weekly/ANDY SHUPE
Tess Kidd, museum manager, explains a display about Arkansas in World War I on show at Headquarters House in Fayetteville. The traveling display will be in Cane Hill after Aug. 19 and was produced by the Arkansas State Archives of the Department of Arkansas Heritage through the work of the Arkansas World War I Centennial Commemoration Committee.

The Washington County Historical Society will celebrate its 46th annual Ice Cream Social from 3 until 6 p.m. Aug. 19 at the historic Headquarters House in Fayetteville.

The WCHS has been celebrating Washington County history since 1951. It acquired its headquarters, a Greek revival home built in 1853 by Matilda and Jonas March Tebbetts, in the 1960s. The building is noted for having been used as headquarters for both the Union and Confederate armies at different points during the Civil War. The Headquarters House will be open for touring by guests of the ice cream social on Saturday.

WCHS Museum manager Tess Kidd says the idea for the Ice Cream Social as a fundraiser was generated in 1972 by Cyrus Sutherland, noted professor of architecture at the University of Arkansas and preservationist, as a means of supporting the purchase of the historic Ridge House that same year.

“He came up with the idea for an old-fashioned ice cream social, to get folks together at that time,” Kidd says. “The WCHS hardly had any money at all at that time, and they had just taken on the Ridge House restoration, so we had to come up with a way to make some money for that.”

Kidd says the occasion is the perfect time for those not familiar with the organization to get a closer view of the museum inside the Headquarters House, as well as the gardens on the grounds, which are maintained by Washington County Master Gardeners.

This year, says Kidd, there will even be a special exhibit for guests to view.

“2017 is the 100th anniversary of the United States entering World War I, and we have a great exhibit called ‘The Great War: Arkansas in World War I’,” she says. “It’s on loan from the Arkansas State Archives, and it is an awesome exhibit.”

The afternoon will also feature live music by singer Tori Miller, as well as the Northwest Arkansas Brass Ensemble. The Heritage School will present a special World War I program, and authors Anthony J. Wappel and J.B. Hogan will be available to sign copies of their new book, “The Square Book: An Illustrated History of the Fayetteville Square, 1826-2016.”

Kidd says the event is made possible by the generous donation of products and labor by Hiland Ice Cream, Intents Party Rentals, and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office; sponsors of the event include Larry Bittle Insurance Agency, Dr. Don Chaney, Jane Davis & Associates, Elliot & Smith Law Firm, McNair & Associates Insurance, Prairie Grove Telephone Co., Kim Smith and the Odom Law Firm.


FAQ

Ice Cream Social

WHEN — 3-6 p.m. Aug. 19

WHERE — Headquarters House Museum, 118 E. Dickson St. in Fayetteville

COST — $5 adults, $2.50 for children ages 6-12, $15 per family

INFO — 521-2970

AMP’ed Up

Walmart AMP continues summer music series

Autumn might be around the corner, but the Arkansas Music Pavilion will be rockin’ into October. Here’s the rest of this year’s schedule:

SEPT. 1

‘Weekend Warrior World Tour’

Photo courtesy Jeff Lipsky The Walmart AMP in Rogers will next host Brad Paisley’s “Weekend Warrior World Tour” on Sept. 1.

Photo courtesy Jeff Lipsky
The Walmart AMP in Rogers will next host Brad Paisley’s “Weekend Warrior World Tour” on Sept. 1.

Brad Paisley

With Dustin Lynch, Chase Bryant and Lindsay Ell

7 p.m. Tickets $35-$68.50*

One of the biggest superstars in country music, Brad Paisley joins the 2017 lineup for his AMP debut. The singer’s storytelling style expands on his 11th studio album, “Love and War,” out April 21.

(Look for preview coverage Friday, Aug. 25 in What’s Up! featuring interviews with Dustin Lynch, Chase Bryant and Lindsay Ell.)

SEPT. 14

Welcome Home 2017 Tour’

Zac Brown Band

with Darrell Scott

7 p.m. Sold out except platinum tickets.

Multi-platinum country artists the Zac Brown Band bring their explosive live performance to the AMP with their “Welcome Home Tour,” following the release of their fifth full length album of the same name on May 12.

SEPT. 19

Sublime with Rome

With The Offspring

7 p.m. Tickets $29.50-$69.50*

After the passing of Bradley Nowell of California ska-punk band Sublime, original band member Eric Wilson started a collaboration with guitarist Rome Ramirez in 2009. With new drummer Carlos Verdugo added to the group early this year, Sublime With Rome is on the road with The Offspring for a summer tour.

(Look for preview coverage Friday, Sept. 15 in What’s Up! featuring an interview with Rome Ramirez.)

SEPT. 28

KISS

7:30 p.m. Tickets $55.50*

Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Famers and one of rock’s most influential bands, in four decades together KISS have released 44 albums and sold more than 100 million albums worldwide.

OCT. 7

‘Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone’ in concert

7 p.m. Tickets $20-$75*

Momentous scenes from the film play on a giant screen in high-definition while John Williams’ unforgettable score is performed by members of the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas (SoNA). Experience the magic with the first installment of the Harry Potter Film Concert Series.

OCT. 14

AMP Fest

4-9 p.m. Tickets $15-$45*

David Shaw & Zack Feinberg (of The Revivalists) will co-headline the second annual AMP Fest, the beer, music and tech festival that supports Walton Arts Center’s arts education programs. The music lineup also includes Adam Faucett, Opal Agafia and the Sweet Nothings, Goose, Will Brand and more. Limited designated driver tickets available.

*plus fees

— Jocelyn Murphy

jmurphy@nwadg.com

‘Music, Families, Food’

Livingston connects countries, continents with guitar

BECCA MARTIN-BROWN

NWA Democrat-Gazette

 

Courtesy Photo Bob Livingston, perhaps best known as a member of the Lost Gonzo Band, is also an international ambassador for Austin music.

Courtesy Photo
Bob Livingston, perhaps best known as a member of the Lost Gonzo Band, is also an international ambassador for Austin music.

There’s a great quote about Bob Livington that pretty much says it all about the man and the musician:

“Bob Livingston tugged on his cowboy hat, stuffed his jeans into his boots, hooked on his guitar strap and came onstage in Madras, India. ‘I’m here to play country music,’ he said to the audience. What country? That’s the question.”

— Mike Zwerin, International Herald Tribune

Livingston is arguably best known as a member of Austin’s legendary Lost Gonzo Band with Jerry Jeff Walker and was inducted into the Texas Music Legends Hall of Fame in 2016. But he and that guitar have played all over the world — India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Africa, Vietnam and the Middle East — as a “music ambassador” for the U.S. State Department. He’s also been named “Ambassador of Goodwill” by the state of Texas and “Austin’s International Music Ambassador” by the city of Austin.

It all started, he says, launching comfortably into the story, in 1986, when his wife and children were spending a lot of time in India. But then he backtracks. “I got interested in the culture because George Harrison played the sitar on ‘Norwegian Wood,’” he corrects. “I was the only kid in Lubbock with a Ravi Shankar album.”

But in 1986, Livingston met a Fulbright scholar working in India. He explained that “if you can convince the State Department you’re an expert,” Livingston might get work during his visit. “So I sent a telegram to the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, saying I was a musician from Texas, I had my guitar with me, and I had this idea for shows.” He auditioned in Madras with John Inman — also a member of the Lost Gonzo Band — improvising about the “history of American folk and country music” and its roots in Europe as they went along. When the public affairs staffer pulled a banjo out from behind his desk, Livingston knew he had a job.

Although he clearly loved the work and the travel, Livingston admits to some sketchy moments. He was in Bangladesh during the revolution in 1992, and a group of Americans needed to be evacuated. “Tell ‘em Livingston is having a heart attack and call an ambulance,” someone suggested. They all climbed in and got out of the hot spot.

There was also a recent trip to Pakistan when a bombing threatened to cancel a performance. Livingston just suggested everyone move inside, and “we ended up playing to as many people as we could pack in.”

“We’ve got video of it all, and one day we’ll put it together for a documentary,” he says. “People all over the world, including the Middle East, are all good people. They are like us, interested in music and their families and food.”

Nowadays, Livingston says, he plays mostly in the United States, but one thing continues to be the same about his travels. He prefers to interact with his audience, whether it’s playing folk festivals, “house” or “listening room” concerts or staying with host families along the way.

“At my stage of the game, these are our bread and butter,” he says of the focused gigs versus playing bars. “All you have to do is bring your guitar, walk in, plug in and make friends.”

He will admit that with a new record coming out next month — on boutique label Howlin’ Dog Records — he’d like to go to Europe.

“Jerry Jeff hated to go anywhere that didn’t have ESPN — and he hated the little beds in Europe,” Livingston says with a laugh. “So we never made the connection over there as much as we should have. I want it to be a regular thing.”


FAQ

Bob Livingston:

Two NWA Concerts

WHEN — 7:30 p.m. Aug. 18

WHERE — Artist Retreat Center in Bella Vista

COST — $15

INFO — 268-6463 or ArtistRetreatCenter.com

AND

WHEN — 7 p.m. Aug. 19

WHERE — The Historic Ozark Mountain Smokehouse in Fayetteville

COST — $15

INFO — 409-1224

‘A Very Rich Experience’

Words are enough for ‘Collected Stories’

LARA JO HIGHTOWER

lhightower@nwadg.com

NWA Democrat-Gazette/BEN GOFF @NWABENGOFF Lisa (Emily Riggs of Fayetteville), from left, stage manager Celeste Richard of Fayetteville, director Morgan Hicks of Bentonville and Ruth (Lauren Halyard of Rogers) rehearse for the ArkansasStaged reading of “Collected Stories” at 21C Museum Hotel in Bentonville.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/BEN GOFF @NWABENGOFF
Lisa (Emily Riggs of Fayetteville), from left, stage manager Celeste Richard of Fayetteville, director Morgan Hicks of Bentonville and Ruth (Lauren Halyard of Rogers) rehearse for the ArkansasStaged reading of “Collected Stories” at 21C Museum Hotel in Bentonville.

University of Arkansas assistant professor Morgan Hicks knows her way around large-cast theater productions. This spring, she directed “Assassins” for the UA and “The Ding-Dong” for TheatreSquared. She also spent the summer coordinating the large-scale Arkansas New Play Festival, the Summer Academy for Young Adults and the AEGIS: Summer Stage project at TheatreSquared, where she is a co-founder and the director of education and program development. It’s no wonder she’s relaxing into her most recent project — the intimate drama “Collected Stories” by Donald Margulies, produced by ArkansasStaged at the 21C Museum Hotel in Bentonville.

A study of the relationship between an established, successful author and her protege, “Collected Stories” was a finalist for the Dramatists Guild Award for Best Play when it was produced off-Broadway in 1997.

“I’ve been working on shows with big ensembles or shows where actors play multiple roles a lot over the last several years, so I haven’t had a chance to work on a script like this in a while,” says Hicks of the two-person show. “This play — which features two amazing roles for strong actresses — is all about the relationship between two humans. We get to explore this amazing dynamic and watch it shift right before our eyes.”

Hicks says ArkansasStaged’s history of producing staged readings of cutting-edge scripts makes it a perfect launchpad for the show.

“This play is all about the relationship between these two actors,” she says. “We won’t need someone reading stage directions describing high theatricality to tell the story. I think that with a play like this, the audience will get a very rich experience by just being able to hear the words without any distraction.”

Founded in 2012, ArkansasStaged has spent this season as the theater-in-residence for the 21C Museum Hotel in Bentonville.

“I think having companies like ArkansasStaged and Artist’s Lab[oratory Theatre] and all of the other companies that come together to produce art are so important for our region,” says Hicks. “[People] love living here because we recognize that the artistry and talent of our community makes this place special. A company like ArkansasStaged is able to have a focused mission and is able to identify the exact type of conversation that they want to be sparking in the community. I have so much respect for Laura [Shatkus, artistic director of ArkansasStaged] and this company because of the passion that is the engine of the work.

“As we grow as a region with an appetite for theater, having more companies doing good work is good for our audiences — and good for our artists.”


 

FAQ

‘Collected Stories’

WHEN — 7 p.m. Sunday

WHERE — 21c Museum Hotel, 200 NE A St. in Bentonville

COST — $5 suggested donation

INFO — facebook.com/ArkansasStaged

Switching It Up

Artists, chefs trade roles in ‘Sensory Iconoclasts’

BECCA MARTIN-BROWN

NWA Democrat-Gazette

Courtesy Photo Sara Segerlin of Crystal Bridges Museum and Paula Henry of Crepes Paulette collaborated on a film illustrating the dance of crepes for this year’s “Sensory Iconoclasts” project.

Courtesy Photo
Sara Segerlin of Crystal Bridges Museum and Paula Henry of Crepes Paulette collaborated on a film illustrating the dance of crepes for this year’s “Sensory Iconoclasts” project.

This year marks the fifth “Sensory Iconoclasts” project at the Arts Center of the Ozarks, and “Case and I wanted to ‘switch’ up roles this year,” says Eve Smith, ACO director of visual arts and founder of the event with chef Case Dighero.

The only exhibit of its kind in Northwest Arkansas, “Sensory Iconoclasts” pairs a Northwest Arkansas chef with an area artist and asks them to collaborate on a theme: This year’s was “Transposed.”

“With all the divisiveness in our country at the moment,” Smith says, “we decided to give an opportunity to let everyone see through the art world’s eyes that it’s easy to try and put yourself in someone else’s shoes. So this year, the chef will create in the medium of their partner and the artisan will cook!”

“This year Eve and I completely embedded ourselves into the other’s medium,” adds Dighero, who is director of culinary services at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. ” I invited her into my kitchen, and we created a barbecue recipe that started with traditional, archetypal base ingredients and incorporated our own preferences in design to create something very stylized, singular… We then turned to the canvas in using the same techniques for mentorship by blurring the lines between paints and mise en place to create our painting.

“Truly, both end products were intrinsically collaborative in nature: she had her hands in the creation of my painting and I had my hands in the design of her barbecue sauce. At times during both processes it felt a bit like we were members of a jazz band creating an impromptu sound – we were both exhilarated.”

Sara Segerlin, adult public programs manager at Crystal Bridges, reconnected with her partner of five years ago, Paula Henry of Crepes Paulette.

“With the role reversal, Paula and I focused the collaboration on the idea process and language,” Segerlin explains. “We each spoke our own language when it comes to describing our creative views on film, dance and crepe-making. We were looking for how we could communicate crepe movements into dance, which is a language I could understand better than a recipe. Paula begin to think like a filmmaker or choreographer about her crepes — seeing her griddle as a canvas or dance stage, and in turn I became her crepe dancer to manipulate and shape.

“Learning the process of a crepe is where we began to merge what we see into magical shapes and patterns that led to our short film ‘La Fée de la Crêpière,’” she adds. “Our film is a a result of learning the process.”

“Eve and Case wanted to shake up, wake up those of us involved — to challenge us to reach a bit more than usual, leave our comfort zones, and prove that creativity can thrive when boundaries are removed,” Henry agrees. “Though we did rely on each other’s respective technical skills, our goal was to respect those guidelines and see where it would lead us.”

Courtesy Photo Sara Segerlin of Crystal Bridges Museum and Paula Henry of Crepes Paulette collaborated on a film illustrating the dance of crepes for this year’s “Sensory Iconoclasts” project.

Courtesy Photo
Sara Segerlin of Crystal Bridges Museum and Paula Henry of Crepes Paulette collaborated on a film illustrating the dance of crepes for this year’s “Sensory Iconoclasts” project.

Henry and Segerlin discovered the same thing Smith and Dighero did: “It seems that being creative in a public way — be it in a gallery exhibit or a restaurant — requires a similar boldness, or willingness to accept examination, scrutiny, or even judgment,” Henry says.

“When Case and I met, it really opened my mind to the fact that we actually work in the same manner,” Smith says. “All of the ingredients were arranged in almost the same way I go about painting. It was easy for me to look at cooking with this reciprocated experience of adding and subtracting until I get a final version I’m happy with.”

“Even the process of developing an idea into a plan, then physically using touch, sight, smell, and taste to paint or cook – I loved the similarities in our modes of design,” Dighero agrees.

“‘Sensory’ has really built up a collaborative spirit within my career and artistry that was never there before,” Smith says. “I really think our work exhibits both of our ‘hands’ — at least I hope the viewer will be able to see that.”

Still Amazing

Two years in, allure of Amazeum continues

LARA JO HIGHTOWER

lhightower@nwadg.com

NWA Democrat-Gazette/LARA JO HIGHTOWER The large peg-board on which kids can make electric works of art was a big hit with two 6-year-old cub reporters.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/LARA JO HIGHTOWER
The large peg-board on which kids can make electric works of art was a big hit with two 6-year-old cub reporters.

When Bentonville’s Scott Family Amazeum opened in July of 2015, leaders of the project predicted that around 180,000 guests would visit the children’s museum in its first year of operation, says Shannon Dixon, the Amazeum’s director of development and communications. Those predictions turned out to be far too conservative. At the end of the second year, “we have approximately 566,000 visitors from all 50 states and more than 5,000 member households,” says Dixon.

Dixon says a core Amazeum goal is to keep the museum and its exhibits fresh. “Our team has worked hard to create an experience that fosters creativity, learning and fun,” she says. Team members present activities, designed to facilitate imaginative play, on a daily basis and, says Dixon, “host monthly community spotlights that shine light on the diverse talent, cultures and craft of our community.”

The Special Exhibit Gallery hosts traveling exhibits that change frequently, so even repeat visits to the museum promise new and fun things to explore. Past exhibits have included “Dinosaurs: Fossils Exposed” and the fall exhibit will be “Mindbender Mansion,” an interactive exhibit of hands-on puzzles to test kids’ puzzle-solving skills.

We recently visited the Amazeum with two 6-year-old cub reporters in tow, to see how the museum was aging as it moves into its third year. Emmeline and Jack have been to the Amazeum a dozen times now, but their excitement is still palpable, and the allure of the place has not dimmed. They started visiting when they were 4, so they’ve outgrown some attractions while growing into others. The Amazeum does a good job of extending its reach to children as they move through different developmental stages — in fact, says Dixon, starting in the fall, the Amazeum will continue to expand the age group it serves to kids ages 14 to 18 through new programming.

We visited mid-week during summertime, so we expected crowds — and we were not disappointed. Some areas of the Amazeum suffer when crowded — The Market, sponsored by Walmart, is usually a favorite of our cub reporters, but they avoided it since it was elbow-to-elbow with grocery shoppers. But many parts of the museum still seem spacious and comfortable, even when packed with kids.

At Jack’s insistence, we started out in the unnamed room that’s between the Art Studio and the 3M Tinkering Hub, where, as he put it, “the colorful cylinders that you plug in” are located. He meant the large panel that resembles an enormous Lite Brite machine — plastic cylinders in a rainbow of colors that children can plug into different holes, making glowing designs. Jack could have probably spent an hour there, focused intently, as he said, on “making art with light.” The board is large enough to allow several children to design at once, which presents a good opportunity to talk to your child about artistic collaboration — and by that, I mean hissing in his ear, “Please stop grabbing those pegs out of the 3-year-old’s hands. He is only trying to help you with your design.”

Emme was fascinated by the turntable in the same room. She used wheels and pegs to demonstrate that the speed on the outside of the turntable was faster than that on the inside — thanks to the Amazeum employee who explained the concept to her. That’s one of my favorite things about the Amazeum: They’re learning even when they don’t realize it.

Next, we headed over to the Cave and Canopy Climber. This was one attraction that the twins avoided during their first year of visits — they would climb up two or three of the wide leaves that are arranged, stair-step style, straight up to the ceiling, but despite the sturdy wire mesh that surrounds the path, that was as far as they were willing to travel. Oh my, how things have changed! Now both of them scramble up the climber lickety-split to the very top and traverse over the little bridge-like structure to the other side.

“I can see the whole Amazeum from up there!” says Emme when asked what she likes most about this attraction.

Next came the Nature Valley Water Amazements room — one of the museum’s most popular exhibits. The Amazeum kindly provides plastic smocks for kids to wear here, but on a crowded day, there aren’t enough to go around. I’m going to tell you a little secret, though: They don’t keep kids very dry, anyway. This room features water in pools, chutes, vortexes and wheels that are irresistible to children. If that weren’t enough to get them soaking wet, one section of the room is outfitted with showers that do the job much more efficiently. Sitting around in wet clothes is one of my least favorite things in the world, so at first I resisted the allure of this room. But it’s one of their favorites, so I had to adjust. A savvy mom would bring plastic ponchos and have them wear water shoes to keep them from getting too soaking wet. Alas, a savvy mom was not in attendance at our outing, so we played to our hearts’ content in the water and then moved outside to the SpaceNet Climber and Art and Nature Pavilion to dry off a little. In the heat of an Arkansas July afternoon, that didn’t take long.
NWA Democrat-Gazette/LARA JO HIGHTOWER One of the best parts about the Amazeum is that kids are learning without even realizing it.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/LARA JO HIGHTOWER
One of the best parts about the Amazeum is that kids are learning without even realizing it.

At $9.50 per person (kids younger than 2 are free), the Amazeum not an inexpensive way to spend an afternoon. Families who plan on visiting more than two or three times in a year might want to consider purchasing a membership, which starts at $95 for a family of four and includes access to members-only hours. The Amazeum strives to make the museum as inclusive as possible and has featured Priceless Nights for the past two years through the generosity of Tyson Foods. The program, which is a donation or “pay as you can” evening, will continue at least until the end of August on Wednesdays from 4 until 7:30 p.m.

In total, we stayed nearly two hours before heading off to lunch. In that amount of time, we only visited a tiny fraction of the attractions, and the kids were barely buckling their seat belts in the car before asking when we would be coming back.

“I know why they call it the Amazeum,” Emme suddenly said to me, days after our visit. “Because it’s an amazing museum.”

Indeed.


FAQ

Scott Family Amazeum

WHEN — 10 a.m. -5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays; 1-5 p.m. Sundays; 4-7:30 p.m. Wednesdays in August

WHERE — 1009 Museum Way in Bentonville

COST — $9.50 per person; Wednesdays in August, pay-as-you-wish

INFO — 696-9280 or amazeum.org

Heart Of The Community

Bank of Fayetteville hosts art show, book signing

BECCA MARTIN-BROWN

bmartin@nwadg.com

Courtesy Image Photographs taken at the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market by Joshua Duke will be on show in the Bank of Fayetteville lobby tonight during a book signing by Tony Wappel and J.B. Hogan, authors of “The Square Book: An Illustrated History of the Fayetteville Square, 1828-2016.”

Courtesy Image
Photographs taken at the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market by Joshua Duke will be on show in the Bank of Fayetteville lobby tonight during a book signing by Tony Wappel and J.B. Hogan, authors of “The Square Book: An Illustrated History of the Fayetteville Square, 1828-2016.”

Like his ancestors before him, John Lewis wanted the building on the northwest corner of the Fayetteville square to be part of the community.

“He had a deal worked out with the [University of Arkansas] Press to bring authors in and have book signings,” remembers Bob King, now president of the Bank of Fayetteville. “He loved to see the lobby full of people.”

The practice fell by the wayside after Lewis’ death in 2007, “but I wanted to bring it back,” King says. “The more you read, the taller you grow!”

Cynthia Schneider, the bank’s assistant vice president for marketing and business development, couldn’t wait to jump on the bandwagon. Her contribution was that the lobby of the building — once home to Lewis Brothers Hardware — would make a great art gallery.

Tonight, the two ideas converge in a First Thursday book signing and art show, celebrating the bank’s 30th anniversary on the square. Authors Tony Wappel and J.B. Hogan will sign copies of “The Square Book: An Illustrated History of the Fayetteville Square, 1828-2016,” and photographer Joshua Duke will exhibit shots of vendors at the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market in celebration of National Farmers Market Week.

“Using a documentary lens of raw storytelling to capture genuine moments, Joshua took a natural approach in the portrayal of these unique individuals,” Schneider says. “Knowing their faces, each visit to the Farmers’ Market becomes an opportunity to establish a beautiful connection with these farmers who grow our food.”

Wappel is also the author of “Once Upon Dickson: An Illustrated History, 1868-2000” and “On the Avenue: An Illustrated History of Fayetteville’s U.S. 71B.” “The Square Book,” he says, “sort of completes the set” and of course includes the Bank of Fayetteville building, designed by A.O. Clarke — much in demand at the turn of the 20th century — built in 1908 by Charles Henry Bell and opened in 1909 as a hardware store by W.T. Farrar & Co. It was acquired by the Lewis family in 1912.

Schneider says the response to the book signings and art showings has been “overwhelming,” and King expects to see the lobby full tonight.

“John had some good ideas.”


FAQ

Book Signing

WHEN — 5:30-7:30 p.m. today

WHERE — Bank of Fayetteville on the square

COST — Free; books will be sold by Nightbird Books

INFO — Email cschneider@mebanking.com

Artistic Growth — Peacemaker Music Festival

Peacemaker expands in third year

 

Photo courtesy Jeremy Scott The Peacemaker Music and Arts Festival returns to Riverfront Park in Fort Smith this weekend.

Photo courtesy Jeremy Scott
The Peacemaker Music and Arts Festival returns to Riverfront Park in Fort Smith this weekend.

JOCELYN MURPHY

jmurphy@nwadg.com

Board members for the Peacemaker Music and Arts Festival in Fort Smith have been trying to get acclaimed American rock/jam band Gov’t Mule to Riverfront Park since the festival’s inception. For the event’s third year, they did.

“People in that area are music fans, you know?” says Grammy-winning singer/guitarist Warren Haynes, who has played the region several times. “They love live music; they love kind of the same approach to music that we love, which is blending a lot of different genres together. So we’re excited to be there.”

Though their headlining shows can be upwards of three hours long, as part of the festival, Gov’t Mule will keep it a bit under that while giving the audience a taste of material from each point in the band’s career. What started as a side project for Haynes and original bassist Allen Woody, then members of The Allman Brothers, Gov’t Mule is now in its 23rd year and released its 10th studio album, “Revolution Come… Revolution Go,” in June to the best debut week in Gov’t Mule’s history.

“There was no pressure of even doing a second record or staying together or any of that stuff … so every decision we made was just based on what would be the most fun for us to do,” Haynes recalls of the group’s early days. “It turned into a band organically, on its own, and maybe that’s the best way for something like that to happen. Our mission I guess is to try and incorporate as many of our influences into the music as possible — we’re a rock band that’s influenced by jazz and blues and folk music and soul music and psychedelic music and even reggae.”

Photo courtesy Jacob Blickenstaff Fresh off their 2,000th performance together, rock/jam band Gov’t Mule headlines the third annual Peacemaker Music and Arts Festival Friday and Saturday in Fort Smith.

Photo courtesy Jacob Blickenstaff
Fresh off their 2,000th performance together, rock/jam band Gov’t Mule headlines the third annual Peacemaker Music and Arts Festival Friday and Saturday in Fort Smith.

“We try to bring something a little different to the table each year, exposing people to different genres of music. We want to expand everyone’s tastes,” shares Bill Neumeier, talent coordinator for Peacemaker. “I’ve been doing live music in Fort Smith for 30 years, and I think I’ve got a good knowledge of what this market likes. I would definitely say Fort Smith [has] maybe a wider range of music genres that they support.”

This may be evidenced by the festival’s growing popularity, drawing some 3,000 guests per day its inaugural year and around 4,000 per day last year. Neumeier says the response leading up to this year’s event has already been greater than in the past. To accommodate for growth and continue “upping their game,” Neumeier reveals additions for Peacemaker’s third year include large video boards on either side of the stage to project the performances, as well as a partnership with The Unexpected mural festival, which moves to July for its third year.

“People are going to get to view some artists at work while the festival is going on,” he says. “I think it’s going to bring a lot of cosmetics to the festival.”

That spirit of community the two festivals hope to facilitate may be felt from the stage as well. Though Haynes admits there are some tongue-in-cheek political connotations to Gov’t Mule’s new music, he says the larger message, like much of the music they choose for their festival performances, is more upbeat.

“‘Revolution Come… Revolution Go’ is really more about people coming together and solving the problems and knowing that’s really the only solution,” he offers. “It’s kind of like a ’60s mantra, to say that we all gotta work together, we’re all in this together, but it’s the truth, and I don’t think we can depend on politicians to fix it.”

With the stage and parts of the bridge over Riverfront Park all lit up, the live music and the public art from The Unexpected festival, Neumeier says 2017’s Peacemaker Festival will surely be a sight to see.

Photo courtesy Jeremy Scott The Peacemaker Music and Arts Festival returns to Riverfront Park in Fort Smith this weekend.

Photo courtesy Jeremy Scott
The Peacemaker Music and Arts Festival returns to Riverfront Park in Fort Smith this weekend.

 

A Community’s Vision

Festivals combine to lift up city

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/DAVE HUGHES A mural painted last year by urban artist Jaz and Pastel dresses up an otherwise drab parking lot in downtown Fort Smith. Several artists from around the world will make their way to Fort Smith the week of July 23 to create their larger than life art experiences for the third Unexpected event.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/DAVE HUGHES
A mural painted last year by urban artist Jaz and Pastel dresses up an otherwise drab parking lot in downtown Fort Smith. Several artists from around the world will make their way to Fort Smith the week of July 23 to create their larger than life art experiences for the third Unexpected event.

 

As The Unexpected festival in Fort Smith enters its third year, one challenge for organizers likely was how to keep the event surprising and fresh. What started as a mural festival — making Fort Smith an unexpected city of murals — expanded its reach to Fayetteville as well as its mediums in its second year. Now the festival’s next move is to combine with Fort Smith’s other major artistic event — The Peacemaker Music and Arts Festival.

“We both started in the same year, and both are fantastic festivals benefiting downtown Fort Smith, which we’re all for,” says Bill Neumeier with Peacemaker.

“Always with the idea that we would continue to introduce new artists and audiences to each other, now we have the benefit of introducing our art audience to wonderful music and their audience to our art,” adds Claire Kolberg, event organizer for Unexpected.

The goals of both events include creating more reasons to visit Fort Smith and revitalizing the vibrancy of downtown. Organizers hope that by joining together in the same weekend — and same location — the benefits will be doubled. One artist will paint a “pop-up” skate park open to the public at the festival, and two inflatables — created by past Unexpected participant D*FACE — are installed at the amphitheater during the festival as additional ways to engage Peacemaker audiences.

“Year one downtown was so different from year three downtown,” Kolberg shares. “Just the amount of storefronts that have filled up on the avenue, the new shops, the new retail — it’s so inspiring to see people really positively responding in sync to what it is we’re doing downtown. It’s a great combination of our past and our present and looking to the future, and I think that’s what is so beautiful about what we’re doing and the amount of engagement we receive.”

— Jocelyn Murphy

jmurphy@nwadg.com


 

FAQ

‘The Unexpected’

Mural Festival

WHEN — Through Sunday

WHERE — Throughout downtown Fort Smith

COST — Free

INFO — 646downtown.com