Entries - Entry Category: Arts - Starting with N

Nancarrow, Samuel Conlon

Samuel Conlon Nancarrow composed innovative music and produced a body of work largely for player piano. According to musicologist Kyle Gann, who has published a study of Nancarrow’s compositions, they are the most rhythmically complex ever written by anyone anywhere, featuring up to twelve different tempos at the same time. Gann describes “whirlwinds of notes…joyously physical in their energy.” The wealth of ideas in Nancarrow’s works has had a lasting impact on other composers. Conlon Nancarrow was born in Texarkana (Miller County) on October 27, 1912. His father, Samuel Charles Nancarrow, was a businessman and mayor of Texarkana from 1927 to 1930. His mother was Myra Brady Nancarrow, and he had one brother, Charles. At the insistence of his father, …

Nance, Jack

Arkansas native Jack Nance was a musician, songwriter, and entertainment manager who worked with many of the top acts in the music business. Nance first gained notice in Sonny Burgess’s backing band the Pacers. He later went on to play with Conway Twitty—and in fact wrote one of Twitty’s biggest hits. In his later years, while based in Nashville, Tennessee, Nance worked in tour management and as a music promoter for acts such as Michael Jackson, Dionne Warwick, the Rolling Stones, the Moody Blues, and the Monkees. Richard Jackson (Jack) Nance was born on April 22, 1935, in Newport (Jackson County), the youngest of three children born to the farming family of Arkansas natives Roscoe A. Nance and Mary E. …

Nannie Gresham Biscoe House

The Nannie Gresham Biscoe House is a Queen Anne–style home located in Arkadelphia (Clark County). Constructed in 1901, the home is notable for passing from mothers to daughters, all of them educators, since its construction. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 2004. Nancy “Nannie” Caroline Gresham was born in 1847 in Walton County, Georgia. She married John Basil Biscoe in 1871, and the couple had three sons and a daughter. John died in 1883 when the family was residing in Forrest, Mississippi. Nannie moved that year with her children and her adopted nephew to Arkadelphia to live near her brother and his family. In 1886, Ouachita Baptist College (now Ouachita Baptist University) began …

Nashville Commercial Historic District

The Nashville Commercial Historic District is located in Nashville (Howard County) and includes a total of fifty-five buildings, with twenty-nine contributing to the district. Almost all of the buildings in the district are commercial buildings, with the sole exception of the U.S. Post Office, which is separately listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The district was added to the National Register on September 23, 2010. The boundaries of the district are roughly Shepherd Street on the north, the Missouri Pacific Railroad to the east, Hempstead Street to the south, and Second Street to the west. Three blocks of Main Street are included in the district. Nashville was incorporated in 1883, the same year that the Arkansas and Louisiana …

Nashville Post Office

The Nashville Post Office in Nashville (Howard County) is a single-story, brick-masonry structure designed in a restrained interpretation of the Art Deco style of architecture and featuring a mural created through the U.S. Treasury Department’s Section of Painting and Sculpture (later renamed the Section of Fine Arts), a Depression-era stimulus project that promoted public art. The post office was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 14, 1998. On June 26, 1936, the Nashville News reported that the Howard County seat of Nashville was selected as the site of a new U.S. Post Office facility under a $60 million federal emergency construction program. Site proposals were requested four days later, and on September 18, the News reported …

Native American Pottery

Indians in Arkansas began making pottery containers about 2,500 years ago, during the Woodland Period, and they continued this craft until their handmade containers were replaced by industrial counterparts made in metal, glass, and clay in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Broken pieces of Indian pottery, called sherds or potsherds, are among the most common artifacts remaining at abandoned settlements, and they provide a wide range of information today about the cultural traditions of the people who made them. Complete pottery vessels display both sophisticated craftsmanship and the complex aesthetics of their makers. Southeastern Indian pottery-making began in the area of eastern Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida about 4,000 years ago and spread gradually from there to cultures across eastern …

Ne-Yo

aka: Shaffer Chimere Smith Jr.
Ne-Yo is one of the most prominent and active Arkansas-born recording artists and songwriters performing in the early twenty-first century. Initially known for songs he wrote for other artists, Ne-Yo began releasing solo rhythm and blues (R&B) albums of his own in 2006. Shaffer Chimere “Ne-Yo” Smith Jr. was born on October 18, 1982, in Camden (Ouachita County) to Lorraine and Shaffer Smith. Smith displayed his songwriting acumen at a young age, writing his first song at the age of five. After his parents separated, he relocated with his mother to Las Vegas, Nevada, where he spent the remainder of his formative years. His mother worked in a variety of jobs before becoming a bank manager, though music was a …

Nevada County Courthouse

The Nevada County Courthouse is located in downtown Prescott (Nevada County). Constructed in 1964, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 24, 2018. Nevada County was organized on March 20, 1871, from portions of Hempstead, Columbia, and Ouachita counties. The county court convened for the first time at Mount Moriah Methodist Church on May 8, 1871. No incorporated towns existed in the county. The following year, Rosston was named as the county seat by a governor-appointed commission, and in 1877, the voters of the county selected Prescott as the county seat. When the county seat moved to Prescott, a two-story building on East First Street served as the courthouse. Three permanent purpose-built courthouses have served …

Newbern, William David

William David Newbern, who chased the twin passions of music and law, devoted a career to soldiering, teaching, judging, and being a troubadour. He taught law, spent eighteen months as a judge on the first Arkansas Court of Appeals, served fourteen years on the Arkansas Supreme Court, and was a state utility regulator, a special master for the Supreme Court, and manager of a folk music and cultural center in the Arkansas Ozarks. He retired from the Supreme Court in 1998 to devote more of his energies to music. He sang and played several instruments in many groups covering many genres. David Newbern was born on May 28, 1937, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. His father, Charles Banks Newbern, was a …

Newton County Courthouse

The Newton County Courthouse is located at 100 Court Street in downtown Jasper (Newton County). The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the two-story building as architecturally and historically significant for its local standing in Newton County and as a visible result of the New Deal programs active during the Great Depression. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 1, 1994. The present Newton County Courthouse is the fourth to govern county affairs. The first was a log cabin, burned by Union soldiers during the Reconstruction period in 1866. Newton County replaced it with a brick-and-mortar structure in 1873, contracting Robbie Hobbs to build it. It stood until 1902, when it was demolished for a modern …

Newton House Museum

The Newton House Museum in El Dorado (Union County) was the home of John and Penelope Newton, early settlers of Union County. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on November 6, 1974. For many years, the home was referred to as the Rainey-Newton House, due to a misconception that El Dorado city founder Matthew Rainey had built the home. However, extensive research by one of John Newton’s descendants proved that Rainey sold city property to the Newtons, but the Newtons were the actual builders of the house. The Newton House was built circa 1849 in the Greek Revival style popular in the antebellum era. The house features many characteristics of Greek Revival vernacular architecture, including simplified …

Niehues, Leon Albert

Leon Albert Niehues is a highly regarded basket maker in the United States and internationally. In 2002, he was chosen by his peers as one of the top twenty-eight fiber artists working the “new basket” form in the United States. Leon Niehues (pronounced: “nee house”) was born to Edwin and Rosalita Niehues on July 13, 1951, in Seneca, Kansas, and raised on a farm with six siblings, including a twin. Niehues attended the University of Kansas in Lawrence for two years. Niehues married Sharon Coffey on May 1, 1974, in Lawrence, and the couple spent their honeymoon in Arkansas at a Madison County hunters’ cabin. They liked the state so much that they decided to stay. They bought forty acres …

Nighthawk, Robert

aka: Robert Lee McCollum
Robert Nighthawk was among the most remarkable slide guitarists in blues history, widely admired among his peers and the southern audiences he spent his life entertaining. Nighthawk influenced a generation of bluesmen such as Muddy Waters, B. B. King, Earl Hooker, and supposedly Elmore James. He was the archetype of the rambling bluesman, roaming all over the South with frequent trips to the North, though he chose Helena—present-day Helena-West Helena (Phillips County)—as his home base. This rambling nature and his decision to remain in the South likely explain why Nighthawk never achieved greater fame. Robert Nighthawk was born Robert Lee McCollum in Helena on November 30, 1909, to Ned and Mattie McCollum. He was one of three children. His was …

Niloak Pottery

Niloak is a popular American art pottery that was created in Benton (Saline County) from 1909 until 1946 by the Eagle Pottery Company. Niloak is best known for its unique Mission-swirl design, but the company in later years produced two other lines, Hywood Art Pottery and the Hywood by Niloak. The name “Niloak” is the word “kaolin” spelled backward. Kaolin is a type of fine-grade clay found near Benton and used in production. Niloak was the creation of Benton native Charles Dean “Bullet” Hyten and an Ohio potter named Arthur Dovey. Hyten grew up in the business, taking over his stepfather’s Benton pottery in partnership with his brothers, Paul and Lee, in 1895. The Hyten Brothers Pottery produced jugs, crocks, …

Norful, Smokie

aka: Willie Ray Norful Jr.
Smokie Norful—a popular pastor in Chicago, Illinois, and a Grammy Award–winning gospel singer—spent most of his developing years in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) and is one of the most commercially successful gospel recording artists to have emerged from Arkansas. Born Willie Ray Norful Jr. in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on October 31, 1975, to the Reverend W. R. Norful and Teresa Norful, Norful is the oldest of three boys. Like so many other African-American gospel singers, he found church to be a nurturing environment in which his musical skills could be honed. At a 2012 taping of the Trinity Broadcast Network’s flagship program, Praise the Lord, Norful joked before a studio audience about growing up as a “P. K.” (preacher’s kid) …

Norris, Walter

Walter Norris created an amalgamation of jazz improvisation with classical music in a style that no other pianist has duplicated. His varied career includes eight years as a pianist, musical director, and entertainment manager for New York’s Playboy Club. In addition, he authored noted books on the piano. Walter Norris was born on December 27, 1931, in Little Rock (Pulaski County). His father, Lucian Norris, was an accountant for the Federal Reserve Bank. Walter Norris began studying classical piano at the age of five, was playing “boogie woogie” by eight, and was playing in local bands by twelve. After graduation from Central High School, he began playing with Mose Allison on a southern tour. From 1950 to 1952, he served in the U.S. …