Entries - Entry Category: Arts - Starting with K

KAAY

KAAY (AM 1090) has been one of Arkansas’s most influential radio stations since it came into being on September 3, 1962. The station incorporated a successful mixed format of music, religion, farm reports, and news that was innovative for the time. Shortly after it had come on the air, KAAY was also utilized by the U.S. government to broadcast propaganda to Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1966, KAAY also successfully brought a new musical format to mid-America on the program Beaker Street. KAAY was born out of KTHS, the state’s first 50,000-watt AM broadcast station. KTHS (which stood for “Kum To Hot Springs”) officially came on the air in 1924 and was granted its new increased-power operating privileges …

Kays House

The historic residence of Victor Cicero (V. C.) Kays, who led the early development of what is now Arkansas State University (ASU), occupies a prominent rise along Aggie Road on the eastern side of the campus in Jonesboro (Craighead County). Kays was the first president of the First District State Agricultural School—which later became Arkansas State College, then Arkansas State University—from appointment in 1910 until retirement in 1943. In the later years of his presidency, around 1936, he and his wife, Bertie, began construction of a three-story residence near the edge of the campus. Kays hired Little Rock (Pulaski County) architect A. N. McAninch to design the house, which includes bedrooms on the top floor, living and dining spaces on …

Keith, Jeff

Vocalist Jeff Keith is best known for his work as lead singer of the popular American “hair metal” band Tesla, which he joined in 1982. Although Keith spent most of his life in northern California and the small town of Idabel in McCurtain County, Oklahoma, he was born in Arkansas in Texarkana (Miller County). Keith has performed on numerous tours with artists such as Alice Cooper, Def Leppard, Poison, Van Halen, David Lee Roth, and Led Zeppelin. He is also known for his support of Toys for Tots, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Nor Cal Clean and Sober Living through his annual Ride for Reason concerts. Jeffrey Lynn Keith was born on October 12, 1958, in Texarkana. When Keith was …

Kendrick, Eddie Lee

Eddie Lee Kendrick was a self-taught artist who was inspired by the Arkansas landscape, his dreams, gospel music, and his Christian faith. Though Kendrick had drawn and painted all his life, his art was not well known until 1993, when three works were included in Passionate Visions of the American South: Self-Taught Artists from 1940 to the Present, an exhibition organized by the New Orleans Museum of Art and curated by Alice Rae Yelen. Eddie Kendrick was born on September 20, 1928, on a farm near Stephens (Ouachita County), and he lived in Arkansas most of his life. He was the first of fifteen children born to farmers John Henry and Rutha Mae Kendrick. Kendrick helped in the annual slaughter …

Kennedy, Jon

Jon Kennedy served as a political cartoonist for the Arkansas Democrat from 1941 to 1943 and again from 1946 to 1988, totaling nearly fifty years, one of the longest employments with a single newspaper in the nation. Kennedy was Arkansas’s first full-time professional newspaper artist, and his cartoons highlighted Arkansas and world topics, won numerous awards, and were featured in national newspapers including the New York Times. Jon Kennedy was born on August 19, 1918, in Springfield, Missouri, to Brownlow Kennedy, who was a telegraph operator for the railroad, and Ida Kennedy, who was a homemaker. At age seventeen, and while still in high school, he began working as an artist for the Springfield Leader Press, where he was employed …

Kilgore, Andrew

Andrew Wilson Kilgore is a Fayetteville (Washington County) photographer best known for his arresting black-and-white portraits, primarily of fellow Arkansans set against a plain backdrop. By his own estimation, Kilgore photographed more than 30,000 people in Arkansas between early 1971 and late 2011. Andrew Kilgore was born on November 2, 1940, in Charlottesville, Virginia. He was the second of three children born to Bill and Carolyn Kilgore, both natives of Washington DC. Kilgore’s family moved several times when he was a child, first relocating to the Chicago, Illinois, suburb of Aurora shortly after World War II and then to El Paso, Texas, in 1956. Kilgore cites his time as a teenager along the Texas border as the period of his …

King Biscuit Blues Festival

aka: Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival
The first weekend in October, the Mississippi River town of Helena-West Helena (Phillips County), about seventy miles southwest of Memphis, Tennessee, becomes a thriving community of blues musicians and their fans, gathered to celebrate the King Biscuit Blues Festival.  The festival grounds now lie along a levee, but during the early years, the festival was held on the back of a flatbed truck in front of an old train depot, which is now a museum and the site of the Delta Cultural Center on Cherry Street. Cherry Street, which parallels the Mississippi River, is a National Historic District and the historic commercial center of the town. What began in 1986 as a one-day event with a crowd of 500 has …

King Biscuit Time

In November 1941, KFFA, 1360 AM, the first local radio station in Helena (Phillips County), went on the air. Soon after its first broadcast, blues musicians Robert Lockwood Jr. and Sonny Boy Williamson approached owner Sam Anderson with a proposal to air a local blues radio show. Anderson liked the idea, but he knew the show would have to have a sponsor. He directed Lockwood and Williamson to Max Moore, the owner of Interstate Grocery Company, as a possible sponsor. Moore, who recognized the possibilities of marketing to African Americans, agreed to sponsor the show if the musicians would endorse his product. With a corporate sponsor, the King Biscuit Time radio program went on the air on November 21, 1941. …

King, Albert

aka: Albert Nelson
Albert King, one of the most influential blues guitarists of all time, was one of the three so-called “Kings of the Blues”—the triumvirate of B. B. King, Freddie King, and himself. His style of single-string-bending intensity—the essence of blues guitar—is evident in the approaches of thousands of acolytes, including Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Eric Clapton. King was born Albert Nelson on April 25, 1923, on a cotton plantation in Indianola, Mississippi. He had twelve known siblings. His father, Will Nelson, an amateur guitarist, had a major impact on his music. Though he was mainly self-taught, he was inspired by Blind Lemon Jefferson. His singing in a family gospel group at a nearby church also influenced his music. He …

King, Helen Martin

Helen Martin King was one of Arkansas’s most unique artists, developing the almost-forgotten craft of rug hooking. She became a designer, teacher, and businesswoman, creating thousands of original designs, teaching classes, and creating cottage industries within the state. Helen Martin was born at Powhatan (Lawrence County) on September 20, 1895, the only child of John William Martin, a prosperous landowner and lumberman, and Clara Isabelle Norment Martin. Martin’s family moved to Batesville (Independence County) when she was a young child, and she acquired her elementary and high school education at the preparatory school of Arkansas College (now Lyon College). In 1913, at the age of eighteen, she married a local merchant, Fitzhugh Hail. Within a year of her marriage, both …