Entry Category: Arts - Starting with S

Saenger Theatre

The Saenger Theatre, which opened in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) on November 17, 1924, was called “The Showplace of the South” and made Pine Bluff an entertainment center for people in southeast Arkansas. It was one of over 300 such theaters the Saenger brothers built in the South during the 1920s, of which fewer than 100 remain. The Saenger Theatre is now owned and operated by a local non-profit agency, Old Towne Centre Theatres, Inc. It is located across the street from the Community Theatre on West 2nd Avenue. O. C. Hauber owned an old store building that he converted into the Hauber Theater in 1912. It changed hands twice and became the Saenger. It later burned due to a …

Saline County Courthouse

The Saline County Courthouse, located at 200 North Main Street, is in the historic commercial district of Benton (Saline County). The courthouse square is surrounded by Conway and Sevier streets, named after two Arkansas families that joined together to create an influential political faction in the nineteenth century called “the Family.” The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the structure as architecturally and historically significant due to its Romanesque Revival architecture. The Saline County Courthouse, featured in the 1973 movie White Lightning because filmmakers considered it to be a typical Southern courthouse, is the third seat of justice in the county’s history. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 22, 1979. In 1836, William Woodruff, editor …

Salvest, John Joseph

John Joseph Salvest has gained national acclaim through his site-specific installations, object-based and performance art, and teaching. Salvest’s art is noted for exploring issues of time and mortality, the paradoxes of life, and the true and proverbial in literature. His success is evident through awards and solo exhibitions across the nation and a career that has spanned decades. Born on February 13, 1955, John Salvest was the oldest of three children born to John and Jeanne Salvest. He grew up in Kearny, New Jersey, and attended Regis High School in New York City, New York. He received a BA in English from Duke University in North Carolina in 1977, an MA in English from the University of Iowa in 1979, …

Sam Epstein House

The Sam Epstein House in Lake Village (Chicot County), constructed in 1910, was of historical and cultural significance on several counts. The wood-frame house itself was an interesting blend of Colonial Revival design with touches of Craftsman and Vernacular, primarily in the additions and the second story. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 21, 1992, but burned down approximately twenty years later, on June 30, 2012. Sam Epstein came to America from czarist Russia at the end of the nineteenth century. As a young adult, he moved to Memphis, Tennessee, with his brother Nathan and peddled a variety of goods between that city and the Louisiana border. Epstein left Memphis to become one of the …

Sanders, Pharoah

Pharoah Sanders was a noted jazz saxophonist recognized as a pioneer of the “free jazz” movement. Collaborations with artists such as Sun Ra and John Coltrane remain his most noted work, but his solo efforts stretched over five decades from 1964 into the first decades of the twenty-first century. Pharoah Sanders was born Ferrell Sanders on October 13, 1940, in Little Rock (Pulaski County). His mother worked as a cook in a school cafeteria, and his father worked for the City of Little Rock. An only child, Sanders began his musical career accompanying church hymns on clarinet. His initial artistic accomplishments were in art, and it was not until he was at Scipio Jones High School in North Little Rock …

Sanders, Theodore Marcus

Theodore Marcus Sanders was an accomplished architect who designed a variety of buildings in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and other cities in Arkansas. Many of his buildings have been nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, including the Ada Thompson Memorial Home, the Woman’s City Club building, and the Cornish House—all in Little Rock. He was partner in the Thompson, Sanders and Ginocchio firm, which continues to operate in the twenty-first century as Cromwell Architects Engineers. Theodore Sanders was born in Little Rock on March 13, 1879, to Fred and Fannie Sanders. He was one of ten children. The family had settled in Little Rock in 1879 after a relative saved them from starvation on the family’s fledgling farm …

Sarah Bird Northrup Ridge House

The Sarah Bird Northrup Ridge House is the oldest house still standing in Fayetteville (Washington County), dating back to 1836. Its original pine flooring and field stone fireplaces have endured to the present. It was built with the latest methods of the time, including mortised construction, shake shingles, and square-headed nails. The original cabin style was called “dog-trot” or “dog-run” and consisted of two single rooms separated by an open passage called a breezeway. A common roof covered the two rooms and the breezeway. In later years, the house was made into two stories and converted to “salt box” style, and the breezeway was converted into a central hallway. The Ridge House, at 230 West Center, is now owned and …

Saunders, Michael Earl (Mike)

aka: "Metal Mike"
Little Rock (Pulaski County) native Michael Earl Saunders is the lead singer and guitarist of the Angry Samoans, a California-based band that formed in 1978 out of the first wave of American punk music. Saunders, a music journalist in earlier years, was also the first to use the term “heavy metal” to describe the musical genre. Mike Saunders (a.k.a. Metal Mike) was born on May 1, 1952, to Earl L. Saunders Jr., who was an architectural photographer, and Jean Cox Saunders, who was an office manager for Burns Security in Little Rock. He has one younger sibling. Saunders attended Hall High School in Little Rock, where he played trombone in the marching band. His first album review was published in …

Scaife, Cecil Ross

Cecil Ross Scaife was an actor, record producer, music promoter, and businessman who worked with some of the biggest acts in country and rockabilly music. Originally from Arkansas, Scaife worked with Sam Phillips in Memphis, Tennessee, before moving to Nashville, where he started his own record labels. Though not a musician himself, Scaife was a success story for those working in the business side of the industry. Scaife was born on April 13, 1927, in Marvell (Phillips County) to Brooks Scaife and Elsie Lumpkin Scaife, both natives of Arkansas. The couple divorced in 1929, and Scaife’s father died suddenly a few months later in 1930. Scaife attended what is now the University of Arkansas at Monticello, where he was elected …

Schnable, John Adams

Lieutenant Colonel John Adams Schnable was a noted Arkansas architect and engineer who designed and built Spring Mill and two rock bridges over Salado Creek in Independence County, as well as the Jacksonport (Jackson County) courthouse in Jackson County. He was a Civil War veteran and one of the few German immigrants who fought on the side of the Confederacy. John Schnable (name spelling varies) was born on June 11, 1817, in the German Confederation shortly after its creation in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna. Researchers are unsure about the names of his parents. He was directly involved in the Revolution of 1848 and, as a result, migrated to the United States and arrived in Virginia in 1851, where …

Scipio A. Jones House

The Scipio A. Jones House is a 1928 Craftsman-style residence on Cross Street in Little Rock (Pulaski County) that was the home of Scipio Africanus Jones, a renowned African-American attorney, and his second wife, Lillie. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 28, 1999. Jones was born a slave in 1863 near Tulip (Dallas County). Moving to Little Rock around 1881, he attended Walden Seminary (now Philander Smith College) in Little Rock and Bethel Institute (now Shorter College) in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) before passing the bar in 1889. Jones would practice law in Little Rock for the remainder of his life, with his most noteworthy case being the defense of the so-called Elaine …

Scott, Cynthia

Cynthia Scott is a Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist known for her work as one of Ray Charles’s “Raelettes” and for her subsequent solo career. She was named Jazz Ambassador for the U.S. Department of State in 2004 and was Wynton Marsalis’s choice for the first person to give a concert in the Lincoln Center’s Rose Room. She was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2016. Cynthia Scott was born on July 20, 1951 (some sources say 1952), to the Reverend Sam Scott and Artelia Scott in El Dorado (Union County), the tenth of twelve children—six boys and six girls. She began singing at age four in her father’s church but exposed her ear to secular music by sneaking …

Scott, Dortha Delena Shaw

Dortha Delena Shaw Scott of Mount Ida (Montgomery County) created the design for the Arkansas quarter. Her design was chosen from among more than 9,300 entries in a statewide contest by a panel of ten judges and Governor Mike Huckabee. The final design was unveiled to the public on October 7, 2002, at the Old State House in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The quarter officially entered circulation October 28, 2003, at Murfreesboro (Pike County). Dortha Shaw was born on January 11, 1936, near Mount Ida. Her parents were Henry and Carrie (Manley) Shaw. Henry Shaw, who died on September 7, 1936, was a carpenter most of his life, and Carrie Shaw was a homemaker. Dortha had five siblings: Gene, Helen, …

Scott, James Powell

James Powell Scott was a prominent mid-twentieth-century American artist and art educator. He began studying, producing, and teaching art in Arkansas. Now best remembered for his lithographs, watercolors, and oil paintings on canvas, Scott has works in the collections of major regional and national art museums, including the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. James Powell Scott, the second of three sons, was born to Wellington Friend Scott and Sarah Powell Scott on April 22, 1909, in Lexington, Kentucky. He attended public schools in Kentucky and in Arkansas after his family moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County). In 1928, Scott graduated from Little Rock High School. Scott studied art fundamentals with Adrian Brewer, a popular Little Rock artist and …

Seals, Frank “Son”

Frank “Son” Seals was a singer who became a driving force behind a brief but stormy rejuvenation of the blues throughout the mid- to late 1970s. For three decades, he dominated the Chicago blues as no one has since. Son Seals was born on August 13, 1942, in Osceola (Mississippi County). His father was musician Jim “Son” Seals. He acquired the nickname “Son” while a child in Osceola. Seals came to the blues early. He grew up in a juke joint operated by his father, who had been a member of the Rabbit Foot Minstrels. Juke joint the Dipsey Doodle featured some of the greatest of all blues performers, including Albert King, Robert Nighthawk, and Sonny Boy Williamson. The Dipsey Doodle …

Searcy County Courthouse

The Searcy County Courthouse is in the historic commercial district of Marshall (Searcy County). Built in 1889, this two-story building, made of stone native to the area, stands as one of the oldest courthouses in Arkansas. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the courthouse as architecturally and historically significant as an outstanding example of an Arkansas Adamesque building. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 12, 1976. Since Searcy County turned eleven acres into its county seat in 1856, three courthouses have managed local affairs. The first was a log cabin, one of the few structures in town at that time along with a two-story hotel, a mercantile store, and a collection of houses. At …

Sebastian County Courthouse

aka: Fort Smith City Hall
The Sebastian County Courthouse stands at 100 South 6th Street, less than a mile from the Fort Smith National Cemetery, in the heart of the frontier city of Fort Smith (Sebastian County). The white, Art Deco–style courthouse is home to one of the county’s two seats of justice (the other is in Greenwood) as well as Fort Smith’s City Hall. This is the only public building in Arkansas that has this dual purpose. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the building for its historical significance due to its New Deal–era construction, as well as its architectural attributes. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 8, 1993. After Sebastian County’s establishment in 1851, citizens of the …

Segraves, Warren Dennis

Warren Dennis Segraves was an architect who practiced in Fayetteville (Washington County). He was among the first designers in northwestern Arkansas to promote and utilize the International-style mode of modernism in his work. Warren Segraves was born on November 7, 1924, in Oskaloosa, Kansas, to Samuel Patrick Segraves and Velma Dennis Segraves. The family moved to Fayetteville when he was a small child. At age eighteen, Segraves enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Serving as a bombardier in the European Theater during World War II, he earned the rank of captain. In 1946, Segraves married Rhea Ash, his childhood friend and Fayetteville High School classmate. After his marriage, and while working for his father-in-law’s trucking company, he enrolled at the University …

Sellers, Barney

Professional photographer Barney Sellers, a native of Walnut Ridge (Lawrence County), accumulated many honors in his lifetime, including a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize in 1973. His photographs of Arkansas barns, old houses, and rural scenes attracted many fans of his work and aspiring followers to northeastern Arkansas and the Ozarks. Born on March 28, 1926, to John and Edith Sellers, Barney Bryan Sellers was the younger of two sons. He grew up in Walnut Ridge, where he graduated from high school in 1944. Following high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he served two years aboard the USS De Haven. In the navy, he served in an administrative capacity and advanced to the rank of yeoman third …

Sentinel of Freedom

The most famous painting by Arkansas artist Adrian Louis Brewer (1891–1956), the 1941 “Sentinel of Freedom” has been reproduced millions of times and has received wide distribution in America and abroad. Several million reproductions of the painting were distributed to schools, churches, and individuals during World War II, and the painting has become a staple of modern culture. The painting was commissioned by Little Rock (Pulaski County) insurance executive Clyde E. Lowry. Lowry was acquainted with Brewer’s work as a combat artist who painted wartime posters and more during World War I. Lowry wanted a painting depicting “the beauty of the flag when the wind had died down and the gentle folds took their natural place.” At the time, Brewer was …

Shape-Note Singing

Shape-note singing is a choral tradition in which geometrical shapes and a corresponding syllable are assigned to each note in a musical scale. The tradition began in late eighteenth-century New England, and it is one of the earliest forms of distinctly American music. In Arkansas, shape notes are found in multiple singing traditions, including both the four- and seven-note methods. This type of singing also had a social role in rural communities in Arkansas, which often held all-day events featuring shape-note singing. Shape-note singing is largely used for religious music, although it does occasionally appear in secular music. Conventional shape-note singing preserves elements of earlier European music, such as basic harmony, melodies, and performance practices. Shape notes were developed in …

Shaw-Blair House

The Shaw-Blair House is located on a large, wooded parcel of land along the southern shore of Beaver Lake near Lowell (Benton County). The house was built between 1967 and 1969, and was designed by architect Robert E. Herndon, who was an architecture student at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) when he initially received the commission. Herndon designed the Shaw-Blair House in the Organic Modern style of Mid-Century Modern architecture, following the ideas of by Frank Lloyd Wright, which were promulgated by John G. Williams and E. Fay Jones in the UA architecture program. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on November 3, 2021. The Shaw-Blair House is a frame residential …

Shead, Henry Wallace, Sr.

aka: Henry Shed
Henry Wallace Shead Sr. (a.k.a. Henry Shed) was a pianist, vocalist, composer, recording artist, actor, choral director, and teacher. He grew up playing and singing in his father’s church, and by the time he had finished college, he had developed the singing and piano-playing styles for which he became famous. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame in 2018. Henry Wallace Shead was born in Fordyce (Dallas County) on March 31, 1941, the third of five children born to the Reverend Henry Arthur Shead and Willie Labehel Reed Shead. He was raised in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and was introduced to the piano at the age of six …

Shelton-Lockeby House

The Shelton-Lockeby House is located on Springhill Church Road, west of Murfreesboro (Pike County) in the Spring Hill community. Constructed in 1905, the single-story, dogtrot-style home was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 28, 2005. The land upon which the house was constructed was owned by a number of individuals before being purchased by James Shelton in 1896. The taxable value of the land increased in 1905, indicating that a house was constructed on the property at that time. Shelton sold the land to W. M. Riley in 1907, who in turn sold it to James Lockeby in 1915. James and his wife, Lula Ann, raised animals and grew a number of crops on the property, …

Shelton, Louie

Millions of people have heard Louie Shelton’s smooth guitar-playing on hit records and albums without knowing who he was. Since the 1960s, he has worked as a session guitarist or a producer for Barbra Streisand, Whitney Houston, John Lennon, Lionel Richie, Boz Scaggs, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson Five, Seals and Crofts, Marvin Gaye, and many other famous pop, rock, and jazz musicians. William Louis Shelton was born on April 6, 1941, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) but grew up in the Levy neighborhood of North Little Rock (Pulaski County). He was the youngest child and only son of five children born to William Lewis Shelton and Carrie Lois Middleton Shelton. His mother was a housewife, and his father was in …

Shibley, Jesse Lee “Arkie”

Jesse Lee “Arkie” Shibley was a country singer best known for recording the original version of “Hot Rod Race” in 1950. The song is included in the book What Was the First Rock ‘n’ Roll Record? as one of fifty recordings that were influential in the origination of rock and roll. According to authors Jim Dawson and Steve Propes, its importance lies in the fact that “it introduced automobile racing into popular music and underscored the car’s relevance to American culture, particularly youth culture.” Jesse Lee Shibley was born on September 21, 1914, in Van Buren (Crawford County) to David M. and Prudie Shibley, both farmers. He was a cattle farmer himself and, on November 25, 1935, married Evelyn Marie …