Entry Category: Arts - Starting with P

Phillips, Helen Ann Evans

Ceramist, sculptor, and teacher Helen Ann Evans Phillips played a major role in the development of contemporary crafts in Arkansas. Helen Evans was born on April 18, 1938, in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Harold S. Evans, a livestock dealer, and Lorna B. Evans, a homemaker. She grew up in Union City, Tennessee, and as a child spent much of her time around farm animals, drawing and making objects, as well as taking private art lessons. These early experiences influenced her sculpture later in life. She began teaching art in the Memphis City school system in 1959 before receiving her BS in painting and art education at Memphis State University in 1961. She married Joe Phillips, a medical student, science teacher, and …

Phoenix Hotel

The Phoenix Hotel was located in Rison (Cleveland County). The two-story red-brick building was located on Main Street and was the largest commercial building in the city. Constructed in 1913, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 4, 2002. After years of neglect, the building was demolished by the City of Rison in August 2014. Incorporated in 1890, Rison served as a hub for the timber industry in southern Arkansas. Workers flocked to the area to work in sawmills and other timber-related industries, as well as on the railroad. Several hotels served the area before the construction of the Phoenix Hotel. The White Hotel, named for early owner John White, began operations in the …

Photography

Photography reached the Arkansas frontier in 1842, three years after the invention was announced to the world in Paris, France. For the first fifty years or so, photography as a science and an art was in flux; photographic processes changed, photographers moved to and from Arkansas, and many early practitioners remain unknown. Photographs were made on metal, glass, leather, and wood. Eventually, the collodion wet-plate process, in combination with albumen-coated photographic papers, became the process of choice, and photographers began to expand their interest beyond the portrait to other subject matter. Early photographers were versatile and adaptable, and their photographs played a strong role in preserving the cultural and historical heritage of Arkansas. Photography is defined as the act of …

Physical Education Building (Arkansas Tech University)

aka: Techionery Building
The Physical Education Building, located at 1502 North El Paso Street on the Arkansas Tech University campus in Russellville (Pope County), is a two-story brick building designed in the Classical Revival style of architecture and built in 1937 with assistance from the Public Works Administration (PWA), a Depression-era federal relief agency. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 10, 1992. Arkansas Polytechnic College (which later became Arkansas Tech University) had seventeen major buildings, including several dormitories that the U.S. Office of Education deemed “unfit for human habitation,” at the time Joseph W. Hull became the college’s eighth president in January 1932 and embarked on a major building campaign. The college received $135,000 from the PWA …

Piggott Post Office

The Piggott Post Office at 119 North Third Street in Piggott (Clay County) is a one-story, brick-masonry building constructed in 1937–38 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. Little documentation exists regarding the building of the Piggott Post Office, but by the time construction on the new Piggott Post Office was three-quarters complete on November 1, 1937, the Section decided to seek permission to commission a mural for the building. According to a December 17, 1937, memo from the Section to …

Pike County Courthouse

The Pike County Courthouse is located on Courthouse Square in the heart of downtown Murfreesboro (Pike County). It is situated along Highway 27 and is at the crossroads of the city. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the three-story building as architecturally and historically significant as the finest example of an Art Deco structure in Pike County. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 16, 1986. The current Pike County Courthouse is the fourth to stand on the site. According to a historical marker on the courthouse lawn, the first was a log structure. It was built in 1836, the year of Arkansas’s admittance into statehood, and served county affairs until a fire destroyed it …

Pike-Fletcher-Terry House

The Pike-Fletcher-Terry House, located at 411 East 7th Street in the MacArthur Park Historic District of Little Rock (Pulaski County), has been widely recognized as an architectural landmark since its construction in 1840. It has housed several prominent Arkansas families and served as a school and museum. It also was the meeting place for the Women’s Emergency Committee to Open Our Schools (WEC) during the aftermath of the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Although the house was remodeled several times, it retains much of its original Greek Revival character. The Pike-Fletcher-Terry house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 21, 1972. The builder of the house, Albert Pike, came to Arkansas from New …

Pilgrim, Cicero Osco

Cicero Osco Pilgrim was a self-taught African-American sculptor whose works express a highly personal and often humorous vision, showing little influence from African or European traditions. They have been collected by the Faulkner County Museum, numerous Conway families, and Hendrix College, where eleven items are on permanent display in the library. Cicero Pilgrim was born on December 4, 1927, into a black community near Wooster (Faulkner County). His mother was Beulah Wilson Walker Pilgrim; his father’s surname was Pilgrim, but his Christian name is unknown. Pilgrim’s education ceased after the third grade. On June 21, 1953, he married Lee Ethel McCray; they had eight children. On a small farm near his birthplace, he and his family raised farm animals, gardened, …

Pillow-Thompson House

aka: Jerome Bonaparte Pillow House
The Pillow-Thompson House is a Queen Anne–style house in Helena-West Helena (Phillips County). Constructed in 1896 by Jerome Bonaparte Pillow, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 7, 1973. It is also known as the Jerome Bonaparte Pillow House. Designed by George Barber, the house is the only Victorian home in the state with full-wood construction with the exception of the fireplaces and foundation. The house faces south and has two stories with several towers, turrets, and dormer windows. The house is very ornate with an irregular shape. The front of the house has a veranda that extends around the east side of the home with another small porch located on the west side of …

Pine Bluff Street Historic District

The Pine Bluff Street Historic District is a residential area located in Malvern (Hot Spring County). The western edge of the district is the intersection of Pine Bluff Street and Gloster Court and concludes at 728 Pine Bluff Street, located between South Banks and McNeal streets. The district contains buildings on both the north and south sides of the street with the exception of a two-block section between Overman and Banks streets. The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 16, 1999. At the time of the nomination, thirty-five buildings were included in the district, with twenty contributing structures. Two buildings that are individually listed on the National Register are included in the district: the …

Plum Bayou Log House

The Plum Bayou Log House is a unique structure placed in the heart of downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County). Originally located in Plum Bayou, a farming community in Scott (Pulaski and Lonoke counties) about ten miles southeast of Little Rock, this 1850s farmstead was moved to the grounds of what is now Historic Arkansas Museum in 1976. The cabin serves as an example of nineteenth-century farm life in rural Arkansas. The one-story cabin is composed of two units separated by a covered central hall or “dog trot,” a common architectural style. The structure is made from hewn cypress logs, and a two-room detached kitchen is connected to the house in an ell fashion. William Stith Pemberton was born on December …

Pocahontas Commercial Historic District

The Pocahontas Commercial Historic District is the historic downtown area of Pocahontas (Randolph County). This area has been the seat of local and county government, as well its commercial center, since the formation of the county in 1836. The commercial district is roughly bounded by Thomasville, Jordan, Broadway, and Vance streets. The downtown area comprises numerous historic buildings, including two courthouses, a service garage, a theater, a Works Progress Administration (WPA) post office, and the former city hall and city-function buildings, as well as other buildings currently utilized for modern business purposes. Both of the courthouses and the WPA post office are individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The center of the commercial district is dominated by …

Poinsett County Courthouse

The Poinsett County Courthouse—built in 1918—is located on Courthouse Square, a section of Harrisburg (Poinsett County) that features the city’s historic commercial district and a green space with a wooden gazebo. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the two-story building as architecturally and historically significant for its Classical Revival style and for its standing as the most impressive building in Poinsett County. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 3, 1989. The county’s first courthouse was located at Bolivar in 1839, the first county seat. A historical marker on the grounds tells how Benjamin Harris Sr., for whom Harrisburg was named, donated the land to the county to build a new courthouse when the seat …

Point of Grace

Point of Grace, which originated in Arkadelphia (Clark County) in 1990, is a female vocal trio—formerly a quartet—that sings contemporary Christian music. Three of the singers in Point of Grace—Denise Jones, Heather Floyd, and Terry Lang—were life-long friends from Norman, Oklahoma. They had sung together in their church choir and school musicals. The trio enrolled at Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) in Arkadelphia in 1988. While singing in the “Ouachitones,” an OBU-sponsored group, they met fellow student Shelley Phillips from North Little Rock (Pulaski County), and in 1991, they formed a quartet. Originally, the four named themselves Sayso from a biblical verse in Psalms: “Let the Redeemed of the Lord say so.” The quartet began singing at local churches, retreats, and other …

Pointer, Anita

Anita Marie Pointer is an original member of the singing group the Pointer Sisters. She started singing gospel in her father’s church in West Oakland, California, and went on to attain pop/R&B stardom. The group’s top-ten hits include the songs “Fire,” “Slow Hand,” “He’s So Shy,” “Jump (For My Love),” “Automatic,” “Neutron Dance,” and “I’m So Excited.” Anita Pointer was born on January 23, 1948, in Oakland, California, the fourth of six children (four of them daughters) of Elton Pointer and Sarah Elizabeth Silas Pointer. Her parents were Arkansas natives, and Pointer’s two older brothers, Fritz and Aaron, were born in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Shortly thereafter, their parents moved the family to Oakland. The family traveled by car almost …

Polk County Courthouse

The Polk County Courthouse is located at the foot of Rich Mountain, on the corner of Church and De Queen avenues in downtown Mena (Polk County). The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the four-story building, built in 1939, as architecturally and historically significant for its Art Deco style and its stature as one of the most impressive structures in Polk County. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 20, 1992. The Polk County Courthouse is a standing result of New Deal policies as a product of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which appropriated $110,000 for its construction. Architectural firm Haralson & Mott of Fort Smith (Sebastian County) designed it in the Art Deco style, which …

Porter, Art, Jr.

aka: Arthur Lee Porter Jr.
Arthur Lee (Art) Porter Jr. was an extremely talented musician proficient on saxophone, drums, and piano. He was an energetic, engaging entertainer and a creative composer whose work ranged across jazz, rhythm and blues, funk, and ballads. The son of legendary jazz musician Art Porter Sr., he released four albums through Polygram/Verve Records before his accidental death in 1996. Art Porter Jr. was born on August 3, 1961, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Thelma Pauline Porter and Arthur Porter Sr.; he had four siblings. Porter played alto saxophone in the Benkenarteg, Inc., sound group, which was composed of the five siblings. Porter was awarded the title of most talented young jazz artist in America by the Music Educators of …

Porter, Art, Sr.

aka: Arthur Lee Porter Sr.
Arthur Lee (Art) Porter Sr., referred to as an “Arkansas treasure,”was a pianist, composer, conductor, and music teacher. Though best known as a jazz musician, he also performed classical compositions and spirituals. Some of his more memorable performances include two gubernatorial inaugurations for Governor Bill Clinton. Joined by Art Porter Jr. on saxophone, he performed at President Clinton’s Inaugural Interfaith Prayer Service in January 1993 at one of the inaugural receptions in Washington DC. Porter was also responsible for entertaining many heads of state who visited Arkansas during the tenure of governors Dale Bumpers, David Pryor, and Jim Guy Tucker. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1994. Art Porter was born on February 8, 1934, in Little …

Porter, Jim Skillern, Jr.

In the early 1960s, Jim Skillern Porter Jr. was a leader in integrating the music venues in Little Rock (Pulaski County), and he produced Arkansas’s first integrated-seating concert. Later that decade, he operated Arkansas’s first integrated country club, the Riverdale Club, offering golf, tennis, swimming, dining, and dancing. (The name is not to be confused with Riverdale Country Club, whose members had previously moved west and formed Pleasant Valley Country Club.) During the two years the club was open (1968–1970), integrated groups played jazz nightly to full houses. Porter continued his work as a booking agent, trying to interest other venues in hiring integrated groups. Jim Porter Jr. was born on September 1, 1932, in Little Rock to James Skillern Porter …

Post Office Art

Arkansas has nineteen Depression-era works of art created for U.S. post office buildings. Two are sculpture bas-reliefs, and seventeen are paintings. In addition, another painting was destroyed in a post office fire, and one was never installed and was lost during World War II. The art was part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and was created to reflect life in the United States at the time and to honor hard work. During a time of national economic crisis and with the specter of World War II on the horizon, images of strong workers, productive farmers, and determined pioneers were intended by Roosevelt to reassure and motivate Americans. The goal was to remind Americans of their history at a time …

Poteau Work Center

The Poteau Work Center is located east of Waldron (Scott County) along Highway 80. The work center building was constructed circa 1939 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 20, 1993. The building was constructed by members of the 1707th Company of the Arkansas CCC District, which was stationed at the Waldron Camp located fourteen miles to the east. It was built as the repair and maintenance shop for the Poteau Ranger District of the Ouachita National Forest. The building, along with the residence in the same location, was built as the headquarters for the district, which extends westward into Oklahoma. It is significant for its association with …

Pottery

Pottery has been produced in Arkansas from prehistoric times up to the present day. Of note are prehistoric Native American wares from the Woodland Period beginning 2,500 years ago and the prehistoric and historic Caddo pottery tradition that flourished from AD 800 to 1660. Commercial manufacturing and regional ware made by the Ouachita Pottery in Hot Springs (Garland County), the Hyten Pottery (later the Eagle Pottery) in Benton (Saline County), Camden Art and Tile Company in Camden (Ouachita County), and the Dryden Potteries, Inc., in Hot Springs have their roots in the American Art Pottery movement of the late nineteenth century and the American Craft movement of the early twentieth century. Smaller production studios evolved after the Korean War, and …

Powell, Nathan Lee (Nate)

Nathan Lee (Nate) Powell, winner of a National Book Award and an Eisner Award, is a New York Times bestselling graphic novelist. He is best known for his graphic novels Swallow Me Whole and Any Empire, which he wrote and illustrated, as well as the March series of graphic novels, co-written by Congressman John Lewis, for which he provided the art. Nate Powell was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on July 31, 1978. He grew up as an ardent comics fan in North Little Rock (Pulaski County), reading such titles as The ’Nam, Transformers, X-Men, Daredevil, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Appleseed, and G.I. Joe. In the 1990s, Powell became involved in the DIY (do-it-yourself) punk subculture, self-publishing a zine …

Powhatan Courthouse

The Powhatan Historic Courthouse is located in the Powhatan Historic State Park, a stretch of a nineteenth-century river port town, and represents the rich judicial history and healthy commerce of northeastern Arkansas. It stands on a hill overlooking the Black River, not far from a collection of buildings that Arkansas State Parks also controls: the Powhatan Jail, the Ficklin-Imboden House, a commercial building, and the Powhatan Male and Female Academy. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the courthouse as significant for Lawrence County’s history, while also serving as a good example of historic preservation. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 16, 1970. In 1869, Lawrence County voters approved moving their county seat from the …

Powhatan Jail

The Powhatan Jail was built in 1873 in Powhatan (Lawrence County) and is one of the few nineteenth-century jails still standing in Arkansas. The jailhouse was constructed as a companion building to the nearby courthouse. Originally, it was built with six cells, each quite large. The cells, built from strap iron and assembled by a riveted structure in a lattice pattern, were shipped in from Ohio by steamboat. John D. Edwards designed both the Powhatan Jail and first courthouse. This jail is thought to be the first jailhouse in Lawrence County built from locally extracted stone. The jailhouse’s design is common for nineteenth-century architecture, with the front third of the building intended to have a jail keeper’s residence. However, the residence …

Prairie County Courthouse, Northern District

The Prairie County Courthouse, located in downtown Des Arc (Prairie County), governs county affairs in the northern half of Prairie County. DeValls Bluff (Prairie County), which has its own courthouse, is the county’s other seat of government. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the two-story courthouse in Des Arc for its Georgian architecture and stature as one of the most impressive buildings in Prairie County. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 18, 1977. Des Arc was destroyed during the Civil War when Union soldiers dismantled the town for materials to use for its base in DeValls Bluff. By 1875, citizens had rebuilt Des Arc after Prairie County designated it as the county seat, replacing …

Prairie County Courthouse, Southern District

The Prairie County Courthouse governing the southern half of the county is located on the corner of Magnolia and Prairie streets in DeValls Bluff (Prairie County). The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the two-story building as historically significant as a visible result of the New Deal and the only known building the Works Progress Administration (WPA) constructed in Prairie County. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 20, 1992. In 1885, county administrators declared DeValls Bluff a second county seat to service the southern half of Prairie County, leaving the courthouse in Des Arc to govern the northern half. Several counties in Arkansas have a similar arrangement by which a county is split into districts, …

Preller, Hugo and Gayne

Hugo Arthur Preller (1865–1950) and Gayne Avey Preller (1874–1958) owned a floating portrait studio and traveled along the Mississippi River and White River from 1898 to 1950. They took photographs of Arkansans while living in different towns along the rivers. Hugo Preller was also a gunsmith, watchmaker, writer, and painter. Gayne Preller took most of the photos inside the studio, while her husband took the outdoor photos. Hugo Arthur Preller was born in 1865 in Weimer, Germany. Gayne Laura Avey was born in 1874 in Kentucky. Hugo was sent to the United States in the late 1800s by his parents to escape the potential war environment. He arrived in America when he was seventeen years old and spoke only German. …

Prescott City Jail

The Prescott City Jail is located in an alley behind city hall in Prescott (Nevada County). Constructed from concrete in 1912, the structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 28, 2005. Nevada County was formed in 1871, and Prescott was platted in 1873 when the Cairo and Fulton Railroad passed through the area. Incorporated in 1874, it became the county seat three years later. Little crime was reported in the early decades of the county. A jail was constructed on the courthouse lawn in 1896. By 1911, the building was no longer usable. That year, the home of a city council member was burgled, and while the thief was captured, he escaped from the jail …

Presley, Elvis (Arkansas Performances of)

Elvis Presley started his meteoric musical career in 1954 in Memphis, Tennessee, recording for Sam Phillips’s Sun Records. His style of music—combining country (called hillbilly in those days), gospel, blues, pop crooning, and rhythm and blues with his unique singing and dancing talents—can truly be said to have originated a particular brand of rock ‘n’ roll later dubbed rockabilly by music critics and DJs. His music career blossomed a second time in 1968 when he made a comeback after several years in the Hollywood doldrums. His second rise to fame and fortune continued until his death at his Graceland estate in Memphis on August 16, 1977, at the age of forty-two. Elvis’s presence in Arkansas has three general phases. First …

Presley, Luther G.

Luther G. Presley was a music teacher, song director, and prolific writer of gospel songs who has been credited with writing more than 1,100 hymns. His best-known song is most likely “When the Saints Go Marching In,” for which he wrote the lyrics in 1937 (the melody was written by Virgil O. Stamps). Luther Presley was born in Faulkner County on March 6, 1887, to James Thomas Presley and Nancy Ann Brooks Presley. He was educated in Faulkner County’s public schools. Presley attended his first singing school at the age of fourteen, under the direction of M. W. Beckett, and taught at his first singing school at the age of eighteen. Presley continued his musical education, and according to a 2005 …