Advance Screening of 'State of the Art' Documentary at the Pryor Center

The Arkansas Educational Television Network in partnership with the David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences will host a free advance screening of State of the Art at 6 p.m. Friday, April 19. The Pryor Center is located at 1 East Center Street, Suite 120, on the Fayetteville Square. Parking will be available on the square, and this event is free and open to the public.

State of the Art, a one-hour documentary from award-winning Arkansas filmmakers Craig and Brent Renaud and AETN, will premiere nationally at 8 p.m. CST Friday, April 26, on PBS. The film follows an exhilarating journey of artistic discovery — covering more than 100,000 miles and 1,000 destinations — to select 100 under-recognized American artists for one unforgettable exhibition at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. "State of the Art" captures the personal stories of seven of these diverse artists who are redefining the American aesthetic, including Linda Lopez, an art, ceramics and foundations instructor in Fulbright College's School of Art.

State of the Art tells a story of diverse artists driven to create — with work that is intensely personal, firmly rooted in community and inseparable from the lives they live. Their work offers a window into not only what concerns Americans, but also what lifts them up.

Artists featured in the film include:

  • Vanessa German, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — Poet, performer, photographer and sculptor German creates intricate mixed-media sculptures that reclaim objects and words to symbolize the oppression of African-Americans for generations, creating serene and surreal figures that call to mind religious icons.
  • Carl Joe Williams, New Orleans — Williams' paintings — colorful, musical, improvisational — reflect the character of New Orleans. He uses everyday objects from the streets of his neighborhood to create images that hover between realistic depiction and vibrant abstraction.
    Justin Favela, Las Vegas — Drawing from the material culture of his Latinx background, Favela creates large-scale work that incorporates the familiar materials of piñatas: multicolored tissue paper and cardboard. Born and raised in Las Vegas, the artist also uses visual elements of casino culture in his work.
    Peter Glenn Oakley, Banner Elk, North Carolina — Oakley's refined, hand-carved marble sculptures include a stack of Styrofoam takeout boxes, a Singer sewing machine and a tower of cassette tapes. In his hand, the marble sculpture becomes a solid ghost of what it references — full of physical presence but removed from the functionality of the object.
  • Susie J. Lee, Seattle — Multidisciplinary artist and tech entrepreneur Lee adds a new dimension to portraiture studies with her series of video portraits. These portraits — of workers in the oil and natural gas "fracking" industry in her native North Dakota — are intimate acts of observation, at once uncomfortable and voyeuristic, but also empathetic and relational.
  • Linda Lopez, Fayetteville — Lopez's ceramic objects sprout rounded appendages and elaborate trellis-like crowns. Lopez's work takes inspiration from her mother's imaginatively fragmented English describing the world around her, which helped create for the artist a place in which everyday objects became magically alive.
  • Teri Greeves, Sante Fe — Growing up in her mother's trading post on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, Greeves absorbed a deep knowledge of Native American art forms. Blending the tradition of Kiowa beadwork with the more pictorial style of the Shoshone, she stitches beaded imagery to two-dimensional surfaces and to everyday objects from the non-Native world.

Funding for State of the Art was provided in part by the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation Inc. Additional film resources, including a trailer, photos, bios and more, are available at aetn.org/stateoftheart.

The Renaud Brothers have spent the last two decades telling human-centered verité stories from around the world. They have covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the earthquake in Haiti, the political turmoil in Egypt, and the drug wars in Mexico and Central America. Their most recent feature film, "Shelter," told the inspiring stories of homeless youth living in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Renaud Brothers have won dozens of major awards, including a Peabody in 2016 for their Chicago-based series "Last Chance High." Craig lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with his family, and Brent is a 2019 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

The David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History is an oral history program with the mission to document the history of Arkansas through the collection of spoken memories and visual records, preserve the collection in perpetuity, and connect Arkansans and the world to the collection through the Internet, TV broadcasts, educational programs, and other means. The Pryor Center records audio and video interviews about Arkansas history and culture, collects other organizations' recordings, organizes these recordings into an archive, and provides public access to the archive, primarily through the website at pryorcenter.uark.edu. The Pryor Center is the state's only oral and visual history program with a statewide, 75-county mission to collect, preserve, and share audio and moving image recordings of Arkansas history.

The J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences is the largest and most academically diverse unit on campus with three schools, 16 departments and 43 academic programs and research centers. The college provides the core curriculum for all University of Arkansas students and is named for J. William Fulbright, former university president and longtime U.S. senator.

The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2.7 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Reportranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

The Arkansas Educational Television Network is Arkansas' only statewide public media network, which enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers through the distinct channels AETN PBS, AETN Create, AETN PBS KIDS, AETN World and AETN AIRS on SAP. Audiences can also watch on several digital platforms, and members with AETN Passport have extended on-demand access to a rich library of public television programming. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. Additional information is available at aetn.org. AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro) and KETZ (El Dorado).

Contacts

William A. Schwab, executive director
Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History
479-575-5181, bschwab@uark.edu

Andra Parrish Liwag, director of communications
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
479-575-4393, liwag@uark.edu

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