Department of Art + Design’s first catalog highlights the permanent art collection

Photo: Arkayla Jenkins/Forum

The UA Little Rock Department of Art and Design released their first catalog for the department’s permanent art collection.

The Highlights from the Permanent Collection release party took place Friday, March 2 in the Windgate Center of Art and Design.

The Highlights from the Permanent Collection catalog is 234 pages long. According to UA Little Rock Department of Art and Design gallery director Brad Cushman, the catalog is designed to feature the different disciplines that are taught to art and design students, such as painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, artists’ multiples, graphic design and illustration, sculpture, ceramics and contemporary craft.

“That’s how I designed the book, to focus on those disciplines together throughout, and there are chapters on each,” said Cushman.

While the catalog is mostly art, there are a few essays scattered in about how the college has obtained the art, and a little background on some of the artists and their art.

The catalog can be purchased for $40. The money from catalog sales will go towards the Gallery Special Fund, which is an account used to buy, frame and conserve art, according to assistant gallery director Nathan Larson.

Cushman said if there is a wealth of money from the sales, there is a list of art pieces the art department will discuss, to determine which will be important additions to the collection. Most recently, they’ve been trying to build up the contemporary collection because of the new applied design collection.

“I’ve also been interested in buying more works by women, to represent more women in the collection, because I think it’s important to have a balanced collection,” said Cushman.

At the event, attendees were able to view the main gallery, or Brad Cushman gallery, where some of the permanent collection pieces are located. They also were able to view the small gallery on the first floor, which has the Discovering Kate Freeman Clark exhibit.

Artists featured in the catalog were among the attendees.

Dan Thornhill, UA Little Rock alumni with a masters in Studio Art, attended the event, and has two of his pieces featured in the catalog.

“I donated a couple of pieces,” Thornhill said. Thornhill graduated from UA Little Rock in 2013. Thornhill gifted a piece he did in 2012 titled “Toys with Dragon”, which can be found on page 81 of the catalog.

“When I was doing my graduate work here, I had to come up with a thesis. My thesis title was ‘The Abstraction of Toys,’” said Thornhill. “The reason I did toys was I had all these toys in my house from grandkids, and I didn’t know what to do with them. Then I decided I’d take them to my studio, and that’s how that evolved.”

Near the end of the event, Cushman spoke to attendees about the catalog.

Cushman said that with the 1,600 objects in the permanent collection, he didn’t know if the community was aware of what the department has, so he thought it was important to do a book highlighting some of the collection.

At the end of his speech, Cushman said, “This is just a survey. There’s probably 230 pieces representing the catalog, so there’s more catalogs to come.”

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