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LITTLE ROCK (July 8, 2019) — Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Union Pacific Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Lance Fritz today announced a $300,000 grant, the lead gift in the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center’s capital campaign to renovate its 10-year-old exhibits, which will embrace inclusivity and widen its focus to reflect and share the complete story of black Arkansans from across the state.

This is the largest regional grant awarded in Arkansas through Union Pacific’s Community Ties Giving Program, which is designed to provide significant impact in one of the company’s key areas of giving related to safety, workforce development and community spaces.

“Vibrant spaces that celebrate cultural diversity and social interaction enrich lives,” said Fritz. “At Union Pacific, we believe an inclusive culture is paramount to our success, and this exhibit is a perfect example of what communities can accomplish with that mindset.”

MTCC recognizes that history is not stagnant and has developed an interpretive plan that will allow it to remain a welcoming space to learn while engaging increasingly diverse and complex audiences. To implement this update, MTCC aims to raise $3 million for construction of the new space. Its capital campaign entitled “Innovate. Collaborate. Renovate.” focuses on the idea that the African American experience is woven into the fabric of past, present and future Arkansas.

Gov. Hutchinson also congratulated MTCC on receiving a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences for $248,000, which is the largest grant that the institute has awarded in Arkansas in more than 40 years. This grant will be matched dollar for dollar by a grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council. These funds put the museum at $796,000 towards its capital campaign goal.

“The grant award is a significant boost and will allow the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center to continue its important work of education, preserving history and cultural exchanges.” said Gov. Hutchinson.

At the event, Christina Shutt, director of MTCC, announced that Ronald Dedman, president of AT&T Arkansas, will chair the campaign.

“We’re so pleased that Ronnie has agreed to serve as chair,” said Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Department of Parks, Heritage & Tourism. “His leadership is much appreciated.”

“We appreciate the support the capital campaign has received so far from Union Pacific, the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences and the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council,” Dedman said. “We hope that others will join us in our efforts to help MTCC reach more diverse and widespread audiences with its message about the African American experience in Arkansas.”

MTCC is located at 501 W. Ninth St., Little Rock, AR 72201. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please contact Jaimie Wright, director of development, at (501) 683-3620 or email jaimie.wright@arkansas.gov.

The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, a museum of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage & Tourism, is dedicated to preserving, interpreting and celebrating African American history and culture in Arkansas. Other museums and programs of the Division of Arkansas Heritage include Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Historic Preservation, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Arkansas State Archives, Delta Cultural Center, Historic Arkansas Museum and Old State House Museum.

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Mosaic Templars Cultural Center (MTCC) will present a number of programs in observation of Black History Month in February.

In addition to the programs listed below, MTCC has collaborated with Loblolly Creamery to create a unique ice cream flavor for Black History Month.

“Maple Leaf Ragtime” is a maple pecan ice cream that pays homage to Scott Joplin, grew up in Texarkana. Joplin was an African American composer famous for his original ragtime pieces, one of his most popular being the “Maple Leaf Rag.”

Loblolly will donate a portion of all sales of Maple Leaf Ragtime during February to MTCC. The special flavor will be available at Loblolly throughout February.

Trap Yoga, Feb. 9, 10 a.m. — Instructor Judy Kay will lead participants through a yoga class set to trap-style hip hop music.

Cost to participate is $10 and registration is limited to 30 participants. Bring your own mat. Call 501-683-3593 or email kelli.hall@arkansas.gov to register.

Lunch & Learn with artist Sondra Strong, Feb. 15, noon — Sondra Strong, a Little Rock-based artist and educator, will discuss her process of making art. Strong created “Breaking Boundaries: The Formula of the Sacrifice,” MTCC’s signature Black History Month image for 2019. Prints of “Breaking Boundaries” will be available to purchase in the MTCC Museum Store beginning Feb. 1.

This is a free event; attendees are welcome to bring a lunch. Beverages are provided.

“Church in Power: History to Action,” Feb. 19, 6 p.m. — This event will feature a panel discussion about the church’s role in activism in Arkansas, as well as provide guests the opportunity to interact through breakout sessions.

This is a free event. Refreshments will be served.

Story Time Saturday, Feb. 23, 11 a.m. — Children and their parents are invited to a special Story Time event at Loblolly Creamery! In addition to a read-aloud story, kids will get to hear some of Scott Joplin’s music as well as dance and play along on percussion instruments.

Please note: Story Time Saturday will be located at Loblolly Creamery, 1423 Main St., Ste. C, Little Rock AR 72202.

Voices without Borders: “Solid Gold,” Feb. 28, 10 and 11:30 a.m. — Voices Without Borders, a celebration in voice, features performances by local elementary school students, led by Dr. I.J. Routen. The theme is “Solid Gold,” hits from the 60s and 70s. Admission is free and open to the public.

2019 Arkansas Black Hall of Fame Distinguished Laureate Series

Thursday, Feb. 28, 6:30 p.m. – Lecture

Friday, March 1, 9 a.m. – Master Class for Students

The Arkansas Black Hall of Fame will host Chief Judge Lavenski R. Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th District, for its annual Distinguished Laureate Series at MTCC. The Feb. 28 lecture is free and open to the public; a reception will follow. A master class for students will be Friday, March 1.

Groups interested in scheduling a museum tour or program during February must contact the MTCC education department at education@mosaictemplarscenter.com. Drop-in visitors are always welcome to take a self-guided tour of the exhibits, but cannot be guaranteed a guided tour.

MTCC is located at 501 W. Ninth St., Little Rock, AR 72201. For more information, please call (501) 683-3593 or email info@mosaictemplarscenter.com.

Loblolly Creamery is located at 1423 Main St., Ste. C, Little Rock AR 72202. For hours of operation or other information, call 501-503-5164 or visit loblollycreamery.com.

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Mosaic Templars Cultural Center will celebrate black art and poetry with AfriCOBRA After Dark, a free open mic night, on October 18.

The event will be at the museum from 6-8 p.m. and hosted by Leron Charles McAdoo, aka Ron Mc, a Little Rock-based visual artist, musician, writer and performer.

AfriCOBRA After Dark is a program in conjunction with the museum’s exhibit, “RESPECT: Celebrating 50 Years of AfriCOBRA.” MTCC is hosting this poetry reading to further explore the exhibit’s theme of art that reflects the shared needs, aspirations and experiences of black Americans.

Poets of all levels of skill and experience are invited to take part. Spectators are welcome as well; reading a poem is not required to attend.

Jamee McAdoo will be in the museum store signing copies of her new poetry book, “17.”

Refreshments and libations will be served. This event is sponsored by Brewsters 2 Soulfood Café and Farmers Insurance – Daniel Seay Agency.

MTCC is located at 501 W. Ninth St, Little Rock, AR 72201. For more information, please call (501) 683-3593 or email info@mosaictemplarscenter.com.

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Mosaic Templars Cultural Center (MTCC) will kick off its 10th anniversary festivities Sept. 20 with an opening reception for its newest exhibit, “RESPECT: Celebrating 50 years of AfriCOBRA.”

The reception will be 6-8 p.m. and include live music by Afrodesia. Admission is free, and refreshments will be served.

MTCC will start the evening by unveiling a mixed media art piece produced by all nine current members of AfriCOBRA and commissioned by the museum for its 10th anniversary.

Other events during the exhibit’s opening weekend are an AfriCOBRA panel discussion Sept. 21 at noon and a visual arts master class with AfriCOBRA Sept. 22 at 11 a.m. All events are free and open to the public.

“RESPECT: Celebrating 50 years of AfriCOBRA” will feature a tribute to the contributions of Arkansas native and cofounder of AfriCOBRA, Jeff Donaldson. Donaldson shares an alma mater, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, with current AfriCOBRA artist Kevin Cole.

AfriCOBRA is the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists. It is a collective of African American artists formed in 1968 to define and identify a uniquely black aesthetic in visual arts that reflected shared needs, aspirations and experiences of black American citizens.

Current collective members continue to embody the shared visual language for positive revolutionary ideas. Contemporary AfriCOBRA artists are Akili Ron Anderson, Adger Cowans, Kevin Cole, Michael D. Harris, Napoleon Jones-Henderson, James Phillips, Frank Smith, Nelson Stevens and Renee Stout.

“RESPECT: Celebrating 50 years of AfriCOBRA” is guest curated by Garbo Hearne of Hearne Fine Art and will be open at MTCC through Dec. 2. This exhibit was made possible through a grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council, funded by the Arkansas Real Estate Transfer Tax.

This event will kick off a yearlong celebration for the 10th anniversary of MTCC, which opened in September 2008.

MTCC is located at 501 W. Ninth St, Little Rock, AR 72201. For more information, please call (501) 683-3593 or email info@mosaictemplarscenter.com.

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