Sep 22

The folks at TRAHC host a public reception tomorrow, Thursday evening (5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.), to say thanks to local Boy Scouts and introduce a new exhibit at the Regional Arts Center, “The Art of Scouting.”

When I was a kid, the museum exhibits that stirred my imagination most were ones that had tangible, physical gadgets, gizmos, and doodads to see, and this new RAC exhibit has a bit of that. (Examples from my past: dinosaurs at the Field Museum and airplanes at the Museum of Science and Industry, two stellar museums in Chicago.) Set up right now on the Regional Arts Center’s first floor are a Boy Scout camp, tent included, as well as old backpacks that recall bygone days of trekking through the wild. There’s also much more helpful, colorful information to give insight into Boy Scout life and lore and celebrate the Boy Scouts of America’s 100-year anniversary. (The organization was founded in 1910.) Norman Rockwell and Joseph Csatari paintings are displayed, as are photographs, patches, flags, and an assortment of other memorabilia.

The exhibit will be on three floors of the RAC through the end of the year, and in addition to tomorrow’s reception associated with the exhibit there is an Occasional Thursday, “For God and Country,” planned for Nov. 11; that event will be a tribute to veterans by the Caddo Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Tomorrow’s reception is a chance to enjoy refreshments, mingle, and get an intro to the exhibit. Catch it if you can. It’s free.

- Aaron Brand

Staff photo by Christena Dowsett. Boy Scouts volunteer Bennie Raney sets up a camping display in the lobby of the Regional Arts Center for “The Art of Scouting” exhibit.

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Sep 15
TRAHC Chairs: see and sit
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You never know what you’ll find in a basement, and that’s sort of true at the Regional Arts Center. The local ArtsSmart program has used it as an impromptu gallery space for artwork related to its in-school programming, and now the lower-level RAC area houses something unusual and, to my eyes, awesome: more than 20 chairs decorated, reworked, rearranged, and truly reinvented. “The CHAIRS,” as it’s billed, saw artists rework a bunch of old naugahyde club chairs in creative ways. One turned into a horse, and another became a sitting spot for portraits. The chairs will ultimately be auctioned off to benefit TRAHC’s Arts on Main arts class programming, and in the interim they’ll be inspiration for a student and adult writing contest. Here’s our story from a recent Friday Accent page: Local Artists Transform Identical Chairs Into Unique Pieces of Art. And here’s a series of portraits photographed using one of those chairs: TRAHC Chairs (Sit, Smile, Stand, Snap). Down below are some photos of these chairs in “The CHAIRS” – first two are courtesy of TRAHC’s Bryan Phillips and the others were snapshots I took.

- Aaron Brand

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Aug 30

Back in July, Nita Fran Hutcheson announced she was leaving her post as the Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council’s director of marketing and development. She’d been on the job, cumulatively, more than 13 years and was invaluable as a public face of TRAHC and behind-the-scenes person making the arts organization tick. She’s moved on to become Main Street Texarkana’s new executive director, and former Perot Theatre box office manager Jennifer Lockman has stepped back into the TRAHC milieu to take charge of marketing. Lockman is no stranger to TRAHC’s mission and discussed with me, during an interview a bit more than a week ago sitting in the Perot on a Friday afternoon, the cultural impact TRAHC has on this region. Here’s our story from the Friday Accent page: Lockman not a newcomer to TRAHC.

- Aaron Brand

Jennifer Lockman stands outside the Perot Theatre in downtown Texarkana in this staff photo by Evan Lewis.

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Jul 26

For anyone who has dealt with the Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council in the past decade, chances are they have encountered Nita Fran Hutcheson, TRAHC’s director of marketing and development, who was often the public face of TRAHC and one of those invaluable people behind the scenes who help make the arts community possible in Texarkana. As a reporter covering the arts beat, I’d say she’s been invaluable to me. She’s someone who knows what makes a great story tick and is one of those folks who makes telling those stories possible. She’s also passionately dedicated to the Perot Theatre, the downtown gem for which she maintains a strong personal connection. She’s now moving on for something different (we don’t know what it is yet) after more than 13 years on the job at TRAHC. We interviewed her for a Sunday Accent story and I thought I’d post the link here: Hutcheson leaving TRAHC, Perot Theatre post in August.

- Aaron Brand

After more than 13 years, Nita Fran Hutcheson, director of marketing and development for Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council plans to resign as of August 12. Staff photo by Eric J. Shelton.

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Jun 25

TRAHC announced its next series of shows for the Perot Theatre on Thursday night with a “street party” at the venerable theater. This year TRAHC did it up with a fairly elaborate multimedia presentation. The 2010-2011 series will be the 30th year of TRAHC productions for the Perot; eight shows are planned, though one (Abba Mania) is not part of the formal series list and, instead, is called a “TRAHC Special Event.” So, here’s what’s coming up:

Benise – The Spanish Guitar — On Saturday, Oct. 23, it’s a Spanish guitar musical extravaganza combining Flamenco and other world beat and Latino touches. As seen on P.B.S., it’s an exciting ensemble piece for the stage.

DRUMLine Live — A marching band production that should be loud, brash, and seriously energetic comes to the Perot Monday, Nov. 1, with a 40-member cast. Performances are rooted in marching band traditions established by historically black colleges and universities. Similar to the “Blast” production.

ABBA Mania — On Thursday, Nov. 18, experience the famous disco-era Swedes and their hits like “Dancing Queen.” A top tribute band comes to Texarkana with the moves and look of the real band.

Michael Martin Murphey — Murphey shares Christmas vibes in a “Cowboy Christmas” show on Sunday, Dec. 12, a concert for the whole family. Murphey is a Western Music Hall of Fame Member and singer of the hit “Wildfire.”

Celtic Crossroads — On Thursday, Jan. 14, it’s a much-praised Irish music concert that combines bluegrass, gypsy, and jazz music with traditional Irish tunes.

Samite — Samite, a Ugandan musician, brings his talents with traditional African instruments to the Perot stage Saturday, Jan. 29. This is the show that, personally, gets me most excited. I checked out his music last night and it’s truly mesmerizing.

Rhythmic Circus — Tap dance takes center stage at the Perot in this fun, percussive-dance production coming to Texarkana on Saturday, Feb. 26. This troupe hails from Minneapolis, Minn.

Legally Blonde — A touring show of this Broadway musical comes to Texarkana Monday, April 25, to conclude the Perot series year. It’s about unlikely Harvard Law student Elle Woods, a character made famous in what I think was a comedic gem of a movie.

More info on ticket sales and such at TRAHC.org. (TRAHC also revamped its website — a totally new look. Spiffy.)

- Aaron Brand

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Jun 24

The Albert Pike flood disaster two weeks ago in Southwest Arkansas hit the Texarkana area hard. Several of the 20 victims lived here in the area and many folks here knew someone affected in some way by this senseless tragedy. As well, local residents could very easily picture themselves on the river because Albert Pike is a popular destination. In many ways, this event was traumatic for Texarkana, but people find many ways to heal. One of them is through self-expression, communicating and reaching out to others at a time of great sorrow.

A new TRAHCies project invites people to express themselves in memory of the Albert Pike flood victims. Using an 8.5 x 11 inch piece of paper, people can create an image, letter, poem, message, or scripture—something of their choice—to honor the flood victims. The TRAHCies, a TRAHC-affiliated group that works on public art projects, will collect the messages and then display them in downtown storefront windows to create a temporary public memorial. When TRAHCies take the pieces down, they’ll give them to flood victims’ families if they want to have them.

Submissions will be accepted until Friday, July 23, at either the Perot Theatre box office, which is located at 221 Main St. in Texarkana, or the Regional Arts Center, 321 W. 4th St. If you’d like to send a digital image, e-mail it to tpitman@trahc.org. More info: call Traci Pitman at 903-792-8681, ext. 204.

- Aaron Brand

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Jun 17

The Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council is nearly ready to unveil its 30th Perot Theatre Series. They’ll do it next week and you’re invited. I’m intrigued to see what TRAHC plans to bring us and how Texarkana’s arts organization balances popular, crowd-pleaser shows with more adventurous fare (like, for example, the San Jose Taiko Drummers, the Perot event I personally enjoyed the most this past season). I think this last year’s lineup provided a nice balance and the inclusion of music acts like The Beatles and Queen tribute shows was a savvy move to get a bit of a different audience into the Perot.

TRAHC members and the public are invited to come see a preview of the 30th Perot Theatre Series on Thursday, June 24, starting at 5:30 p.m. in front of the Perot on Main Street. Included is a dedication of the Arts on Main building and an additional preview of the 2010-2011 Visual Arts Season at the Regional Arts Center. Go check it out.

- Aaron Brand

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May 29
Get on down to Book City
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Unveiled today is a new public art project from the TRAHCies, a group of TRAHC-affiliated arts lovers and arts promoters who’d like us to see art active in our everyday lives. That’s a pretty awesome purpose, if you ask me, and they’ve been hard at work for months now on a project now called Book City. What’s Book City, you wonder? It’s something of a landscape (or cityscape, rather) assemblage of book-based structures in the storefront of an unoccupied building in downtown Texarkana. Book City (presented in conjunction with Main Street Texarkana) resides at 120 W. Broad Steet across from the Bi-State. Look for the word “Mayfair” (and a big old letter “M”) in the entryway and, behind the storefront windows, donated books stacked on top of each other to resemble skyscrapers and intriguing architectural oddities. There are little cutout people there too, and looking down the alleys you’ll find surprises. Godzilla makes an appearance. Pages are opened to interesting places. Read them and check out the pictures. You can see the progress catalogued through photos here: TRAHCies Talk. But the best thing to do is get yourself downtown and see it in person. Edited to add: See the Accent page soon for photo coverage and a full story.

- Aaron Brand

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May 28

Let’s hear it for the youth. I have always been impressed with their level of talent here in Texarkana when it comes to the fine arts, and the 18th Annual Juried Student Exhibition now open at the Regional Arts Center only further displays that talent. The show began last Saturday and among these pieces, ranging from mixed media to photography and from sculpture to paintings, are some hidden gems. There’s something endearing about the unbridled, free energy shown by young artists. It’s an innocent art they make. As juried and judged by Louisiana artist M. Douglas Walton, the awards were distributed well, although Hooks and Pleasant Grove districts took home the most honors. All schools participating showed up with top notch work, however, and the exhibit is available for your viewing pleasure through June 12. Don’t miss it. It will give you hope for the future. See Sunday’s Accent page for the full story.

- Aaron Brand

Treveyun Roberts, 7, studies one of the artworks displayed at the 18th Annual Juried Student Exhibition at the Regional Arts Center. Staff photo by Eric J. Shelton.

Students from various schools show their ribbons and certificates after the 18th Annual Juried Student Exhibition awards ceremony at the Regional Arts Center. Staff photo by Eric J. Shelton.

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May 7

TRAHC’s new arts-in-the-community project is nothing to sit on. It aims to get folks art-active, even if the inspiration is a series of ordinary brown chairs stored away at TRAHC’s Arts on Main building across from the Perot Theatre in downtown Texarkana. Twenty-two of the chairs are being made available to anyone who wants to use the chairs (artificial leather and wood) for an art project. There are some restrictions physically, but you can basically use the chairs however your imagination moves you for this project. They’ll be auctioned later this year to raise funds for TRAHC’s arts education work at Arts on Main. They’ll also serve as the subject for ArtsSmart’s “WRITE! On Art” competition in September and October. There’s even a GPS project planned for these art chairs. As of yesterday, only a few of them were left, so if you want one you should contact TRAHC quickly. We plan to cover the project’s progress down the road and see what Texarkana’s creativity brings. More info: call Mary Armstrong at 903-792-8681 or marmstrong@trahc.org.

- Aaron Brand

The Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council is calling for local artists to participate in the "Chairs" art project. The finished chairs will be auctioned with proceeds dedicated to Arts on Main classes for kids and adults. Staff photo by Evan Lewis.

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