Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Gem of Access to Learning, Growing, Reading, Exploring and Playing...

Located on a little over 6 acres of land representative of Arkansas ecosystems lies a relatively new special educational gem. It is part of  an initiative of  the Central Arkansas Library system, the  Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center located south of  the Zoo in the War Memorial area in Little Rock, Arkansas.

A 1500 square foot greenhouse is home to a myriad of plants and seedlings which will be added to the acreage’s land-scape, teaching gardens and raised beds. 

There are paths that circumference the library building with labeled trees and plants with bog areas, native plants and an amphitheater. 
The library's kid garden club not only grows plants from seeds but also learns which plants attract bees and butterflies.

In fact the day my brother and I visited, the club was going to be planting milkweed, a native plant to attract more butterflies.

The award winning 30,000 sq ft architectural building houses the children’s library. Within its walls lies a 165 seat theater, a teaching kitchen with classroom space in addition to a large computer capacity.

There are culinary arts, eco literacy, theater arts and over 20,000 books, dvds, cds and other materials. 

Through every wall of the library are views of the surrounding ecosystems. 

Inside its walls there's whimsy and materials which cater to toddlers, elementary and middle school ages. 

Besides a media resource person, 2 gardeners are on staff to help with the garden programming. Future dreams include having a full time gardener for outside. Low maintenance still means maintenance and there are a lot of grounds.

 After perusing this month’s and next month’s calendars, it’s obvious the center is truly for cooking, reading, playing, learning and growing.

Mornings for the ‘littles’ include Baby and Toddler/ Preschool Story times, Music and Movement and Free Play.

Afternoons for older kids includes :
Kids in the Kitchen, Snack attacks, Kidstock: Crafternoon( button making, nature wreaths) Improv Acting, Book to Scene, Talent Show, Martial Arts, The Studio, Music Viedeo Making, Learn Drumming with a Pro, music crafts, yoga, bubbles , tree painting and Halloween Art besides of course, garden club….

Saturday programming includes  all ages:
September: Children’s Theater (Go Dog Go), Messy Art Studio, Cheerleading Clinic, Arkansas Symphony: Demo and Petting Zoo, Stories you can eat , Haiku Harvest, haikus , sculpture ground work and Tail Waggin Tutors.
October: Fall Veggie Planting, Children’s theater “Pinocchio”, Weird Science: Talk with Mortuary Scientist and Tail Waggin' Tutors

As you can see this place really is something special. I couldn't be happier as to its controversial location in a low income neighborhood, accessible to a population sometimes ignored, yet also available to all residents within central Arkansas. This is truly a hands-on place.

                                            What a gem!

Here's a link to their website for hours and more info:
Children's Library

Monday, September 29, 2014


This past week while I was home in Arkansas visiting I kept seeing signs with the word ACANSA written on them. Nobody seemed to know what it was about so I did a quick Google and learned about the festival taking place with that name and how it came to be. 

Acansa is a Siouxan word meaning "people of the southern place" for those Quapaw who lived south of Missouri before Arkansas became a state. 

"ACANSA Arts Festival has adopted this name with commitment to celebrating the uniquely rich cultural vitality of the region."  

Hence for its first year in my home city of Little Rock, Arkansas there's ACANSA, a Southern Celebration of the Arts. September 24-28 artists have been sharing their art at different venues. 

There were art gallery events, concerts, lunch and learning sessions, dance troupe performances (including the Dallas Black Dance Theatre) among other cultural endeavors during the 5 days.

The Arkansas Rep kicked off the week with a World Premier comedic play about an eccentric Arkansan native, "Disfarmer" who took photos of local residents in Heber Springs for 25 cents. The play was followed by a book signing and there was also an exhibit with Disfarmer's photos. 

Phillip Huber was in town sharing his marionette talents called "Suspended Animation." 

We partook in the tail end of one of the free Saturday events in MacArthur Park at the Arts Center where local artists shared their wares at a juried art show. There were children's activities and music as well. One of the activities was creating people sculptures out of tape.

This year only a dozen or so artist booths represented the area's artistic talent. A talented musical family group performed while we were there. Since it was the very first year, participation was sparse in the park but with overcast skies and with no crowds, it was a pleasant outing en route to the airport before one of my kiddos headed back home. 

I hope ACANSA makes a go of it. A first year of any event is always trial and error and just getting the word out is always a challenge. Hopefully next year more of the community will partake and enjoy the arts together...

Friday, September 26, 2014


Sometimes things are appropriately named. 

For example, while out on a walk this past week the sun was hitting the goldenrod in such a way,  duh, so that's why it's called GOLDENROD.

So what hits you as so appropriately named?

Did you take at last week's FOTO FRIDAY? Click HERE

Thursday, September 25, 2014

On Holiday...

Since I will be attending services for the next couple of days, I will have the opportunity to be thinking a lot more about peace and social justice... 

May we all work to make this world a better place.

Wishing you all Peace for the New Year of 5755. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Memphis? No, Little Rock ... But Yes, Memphis

Well, can you believe I leave Wisconsin and go help out the Arkansas Democratic Party? It just so happens Tuesday was the kickoff for their Women to Women campaign and last night was a wonderful fundraiser at the Rep. You know how Wisconsin's politics has been affected by Koch money? The same thing has happened in Arkansas. 41 days left to get out the vote and women can make the difference in every state's elections. 

The logo in Arkansas's election for their 3 democratic women candidates are "experienced, proven, and ready to serve."   Not only was I privvy to hearing these three "female" candidates-
 Susan Inman for Secretary of State, Regina Hampton for State Auditor and Karen Sealy Garcia for State Treasurer but also saw and heard from gubanatorial candidate Mike Ross, Sen. David Pryor and Gov. Beebee.                                                                                              
Regina Hampton

Susan Inman

Yours truly, Karen on the left with Karen Sealey Garcia (center)

Mike Ross
Barbara and  Gov/Sen. David Pryor
Ginger and Mike Beebee

The evening was also filled with the phenomenal Broadway Tony award winning musical "Memphis." The talented cast was outstanding and energetic in their delivery with amazing choreography and music. Great voices besides dancing!

It's a must see for a terrific evening filled with entertainment which even though set in the '50's still has a poignant message for us today.

If it comes to a theatre near you, treat yourself.

Here's a youtube clip of the finale:Memphis

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Showing 'n Telling...

 It was time for our monthly gathering for Show and Tell at the McCaffrey's Coffee House in La Crosse. The size of the group varies according to schedules but nine of us sat around the table to share snippets of our lives this past Saturday.

Personally I think all the stories are fascinating but once again I will leave it up to you to leave requests as to the objects/ topics that pique your interest. 

So around the table we go counter clockwise...

A father's ball-peen hammer...

A  ceramic memoir from a trip to Germany and the week with a Nazi...

A trivet made of crocheted covered bottle tops...

A story about taking a young grandchild and her friend to  risque Theater unknowingly...

1950's infamous Gold Dust Washing Powder ...

Tractor Porn...  

a booklet you had to have as a child... 

a Wisconsin cheese bra...


Passions of a lifetime requested by a grandchild...

OK you choose... 

Don't you think you'd like to start a Show 'n Tell in your city? 
It's where people arrive as strangers and leave as friends... 

Monday, September 22, 2014


One of my favorite area art shows, The Driftless, was this past weekend in the small town of Soldiers Grove with an excellent juried show.

In spite of the gloomy drizzly blustery morning, the weather report promised clearing skies and temps in the mid 60's. 

We weren't disappointed to say the least when blue skies appeared to highlight the changing hillside colors. 

Also as promised we experienced the beauty and artistry of  almost 100 Driftless area artists including 2 of the 4 musical groups to entertain fest goers during its two days; The DitchLilies and Patchouli performed on Saturday while we heard the River Ramblers and String Ties on Sunday.

Eight culinary artists offered Artisan Edibles in a tent with foods grown and prepared in the region with samplings and even recipes for the dips, preserves, desserts, wines and beer. 

For lunch the lines were long for the local food vendors was well worth the wait for hot oven baked pizzas, berry treats, pies, crepes, wraps, etc... And of course, the art was delectable too.

Blue Ribbon Woolen Doll
There was even a KidsArt tent. Kids's attendance was encouraged by giving them yellow award certificates to present to their favorite artist in either the adult / KidsArt categories. 

The doll on the left was a character created by a talented 18 yr old fiber artist who used self made boiled wool to construct her doll character.  She not only won first prize but was also recognized by a young attendee.

Art projects for the younger visitors included creating cork creatures and painting mini pumpkins. 

Who knows maybe one of them will be exhibiting in the show's future!

Available mediums in the adult category were wood, ceramics. drawings, pastels, fiber, glass, jewelry, mixed media, printmaking, metal work and sculpture.

Metal sculpture by Hans Gill
glass scuptures 

There was something for everyone...

People watching was part of the fun in addition to seeing people we knew from different parts of our lives. In addition to two couples from my Happy Bookers group, we also saw two of our home's 
These people look familiar.
 craftsmen with their wives, a gal from the previous day's Show n Tell group and  musician from the Old School Variety show, fellow congregants besides work acquaintances from Natureman's past. It was just a big reunion in a great venue! 

We opted for a different route home and passed many apple orchards with packed parking lots since apples are in season.

How could we pass up getting a caramel apple?

 I was clueless as to the fact, Gays Mills, the next closest town to Soldiers Grove was apple capitol of Wisconsin.

Trees laden with apples

To be perfectly honest we couldn't have asked for a more perfect day in the Driftless...

I sure hope Fall lasts a really long time...