A new exhibit focusing on the lives of Arkansas-born entertainers who went on to make a name for themselves in Hollywood will soon open at the Old State House Museum in downtown Little Rock.
Lights! Camera! Arkansas! will review the careers of movie stars and directors who all had their origin in the state. Jo Ellen Mack, the museum’s curator, says recent stars and filmmakers like Mary Steenburgen, Lisa Blount and Jeff Nichols will be featured, as will entertainers from the silent movie era.
Communities throughout the Arkansas Delta often battle against a rising tide of economic woes. As factories close and labor-intensive jobs leave small towns, populations dwindle in many rural cities.
For decades, outside investments from banks and charitable organizations helped stimulate marginal growth, but most of the heavy lifting necessary to revitalize communities must be done by the people who live there.
Helena-West Helena is part of Phillips County in the Arkansas Delta. According to U.S. Census data, the county’s population decreased over 17 percent in the last ten years, which means by some estimates the population is less than half of what it was in the 1950s. However, new community-led efforts in Helena-West Helena seek to make the area’s history and culture a catalyst for investment and growth.
Over the next few weeks, colleges and universities across Arkansas will host Commencement ceremonies to celebrate the academic achievements of graduates. This Saturday, one private two-year college in North Little Rock will have its first official graduate in nearly 15 years.
Wilhelm Cedric Hawkins has a long history with Shorter College.
“My grandmother went to school here, my mother went to school here, and also my father so I figure that I could follow the family tradition,” said Hawkins, as he walks through halls of the main building on campus.