Nominations for the 2016 Arkansas Arts Council’s “Living Treasure” award close this Friday. Each year the Arts Council bestows the Living Treasure award on an Arkansas artist “who excels in the creation of a traditional craft and who actively preserves and advances his or her craft”.
“It began in 2002 with Bea Stebbing who was a stained glass artist,” said Robin McClea of the Arts Council. “And it’s included quilters, and fiddlemakers, basketmakers, and a maker of traditional wooden planes, bladesmiths, woodworkers, potters, and last year Lorrie Popow was the recipient.”
Lorrie Popow lives in Hot Springs where she practices the traditional Ukrainian art of pysanka, or pysanky, in which the artist writes symbols on hollowed out eggs. She said her first exposure to this art form came when she was a child living in a Ukrainian neighborhood in Chicago.
“I was a little girl and I would see these eggs and I fell in love with them and I wanted to make them,” said Popow. “I would ask my little Ukrainian friends, ‘How do you make the eggs,’ but they didn’t want to tell me because at that time, we’re talking 60 years ago, they were afraid to talk about their culture, their heritage and all”
Popow eventually discovered how to write on eggs with wax and dyes and has been practicing the preservation of this cultural art every since. The Living Treasure award is non-financial, but Popow said it has been "one of the greatest things to come my way."
For more information on nominating this year’s Living Treasure visit Arkansas Arts Council at http://www.arkansasarts.org/blog/searching-for-a-treasure.