Art Happenings at the Roberts Library and Beyond

Throughout the Central Arkansas Library System, you’ll see art nearly everywhere you look: in galleries, on the walls, and in progress. CALS offers exhibition galleries in the Roberts Library and elsewhere. It also actively collects and exhibits works by artists working and living in Arkansas and has a permanent collection of art that it displays throughout the buildings and grounds of its various libraries. CALS also offers lots of art workshops, classes, and activities for all ages, thanks to generous support from the Windgate Foundation.

Here is a sampling of what’s going on this month!

Bow and Arrow by Katherine Strause

On display in the Children’s Gallery in the CALS Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library & Learning Center now through January 27 is From the Vault: Art for the Young at Heart from the CALS Permanent Collection. This eclectic exhibition features pieces by artists and illustrators whose vibrant works capture the joys of adventure and exploration.

This exhibition was created in honor of recently retired CALS deputy executive director Lisa Donovan, who was an early proponent and tireless supporter of the Children’s Gallery and Children’s Library. More about the exhibition here.

CALS Deputy Director Lisa Donovan retired this year after twenty-plus years of service to the library. She started as a part-time children’s programmer when the Main Library opened in the River Market area of downtown Little Rock in 1997. Over the years, Donovan took on many roles at the library, including Manager of the Children’s Department at Main, Summer Reading Coordinator, Director of Youth Services, and finally Deputy Executive Director. She is looking forward to enjoying many more library adventures as a patron in the years to come and sharing those moments with her grandchildren.

Lisa Donovan (far left) with CALS staff members, Hillary Clinton, and Mayor Frank Scott at the 10th anniversary celebration for the Children’s Library.

Read more about Donovan’s retirement and legacy on the CALS blog here

Couple Holding Hands, on loan from Anonymous Collector

Opening on January 12 and on display through March 30 in the Roberts Library’s Underground Gallery is Courtesy of the Collectors: Portraits of African Americans in Photographs, Paintings, and Drawings. On loan to CALS from private and public collections in Arkansas, the works in this exhibition present a selection of diverse portrayals of African Americans to illuminate their wider participation and inclusion in the American experience from the nineteenth century to today. A reception for the exhibition will be held on Wednesday, February 7, in the Underground Gallery following the noon–1:00 p.m. Legacies & Lunch program at UA Little Rock Downtown.

The Night of the Bunnies by Sulac

January’s Second Friday Art Night (2FAN)—this Friday, January 12, 5 to 8 p.m.!—will be held for the first time in the CALS Rock It! Lab (formerly known as the Cox Center) just down the way from the Roberts Library in the River Market. The featured artist will be multimedia artist Sulac.

Finally, on Saturday, January 27, 10 a.m. to noon, also in the CALS Rock It! Lab, is the workshop “Travel Sketching with Kenneth Williams.” Like all the other exhibitions and events, it is free, but reservations are required for this one. For reservations, contact Shannon Holmes at or 501-320-5792. (Made possible by funds from the Windgate Foundation.) 

Artist Kenneth Williams will explain the art of travel sketching and present a PowerPoint program. The class will then do quick sketches from photos flashed on the screen from around the world.

Supplies needed:

  • sketchbook, preferably 5 x7 inches or larger
  • pen or pencil
  • watercolor paint or watercolor pencils (optional; if using watercolors, also bring a large round waterbrush that has water contained in the handle rather than bringing brushes and pots of water)


So, come visit us at the Roberts Library or another CALS location to check out a book or check out some art in the new year.




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