Entry Category: Arts - Starting with S

State of Arkansaw, The

The ballad, or narrative folksong, usually titled “The State of Arkansaw” has been a principal exhibit in Arkansas’s recurrent laments about its disreputable image. It is a clear example of the expressive culture of the late nineteenth century that depicted Arkansas pejoratively. The story, which the ballad relates in first person, has its protagonist—known by several names, including “Sanford Barnes” and “John Johanna”—leave his home, most frequently “Buffalo town” or “Nobleville town,” to seek employment. He hears of job opportunities in Arkansas, sets out by railway, and arrives in an Arkansas community, variously identified as Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Van Buren (Crawford County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), or Hot Springs (Garland County). There he meets a “walking skeleton” who conducts …

Stern, Howard Seymour

Howard Seymour Stern was a physician, a noted photographer, and an award-winning painter. Although he had no professional training in art, his paintings and photographs continue to be displayed in various collections in Arkansas and around the world. Howard Stern was born on June 14, 1910, in Charlotte, North Carolina, the eldest of four children born to Eugene John Stern and Frances Burger Stern. His father was an architect, half the partnership of Mann and Stern, which designed Little Rock Central High School, the Albert Pike Hotel, the Arkansas Consistory, the Arlington Hotel, and the Fordyce Bath House. The family moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1913 so Stern’s father could work with George R. Mann on designing the …

Still, William Grant

William Grant Still grew up in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and achieved national and international acclaim as a composer of symphonic and popular music. As an African American, he broke race barriers and opened opportunities for other minorities. He was strong advocate for the performance of works by American composers. William Grant Still was born on May 11, 1895, in Woodville, Mississippi, the only son of William Grant Still Sr. and Carrie Lena Fambro Still. Still’s mother moved to Little Rock with her infant son shortly after the death of her husband in 1895. Still and his mother lived with his grandmother, and his mother worked as a teacher. In 1904, Still’s mother married a railway postal clerk, Charles Benjamin …

Stilley, Edward Lawrence (Ed)

Edward Lawrence (Ed) Stilley was a farmer and instrument maker from Hogscald Hollow (Carroll County). In 1979, according to Stilley, he received a directive from God to make and give away musical instruments to children. Without any prior knowledge of instrument making, he created and gave away over 200 instruments, only stopping in 2004 when his hands could no longer do the work required to build them. Ed Stilley was born on July 27, 1930, in Carroll County, the third child of six. His parents were William Stilley, who worked at a sawmill, and Sarah Parker Stilley. Stilley was partially raised by a longtime resident of Hogscald, Anna Frances “Fannie” Prickett. Prickett was an elderly woman who lived alone and …

Stone County Courthouse

The Stone County Courthouse in the Ozark Mountain city of Mountain View (Stone County) is located in a picturesque commercial district marked with storefronts and local institutions. Native sandstone from the mountains makes up the courthouse’s walls and echoes the look of the congregation of buildings on the courthouse square, forming a cohesive identity. The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the 1922 building as historically and architecturally significant, and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 17, 1985. The Adamesque courthouse was constructed in 1922 to replace its 1888 predecessor, presumably because county operations outgrew the old wood-frame building. Clyde A. Ferrell designed the new courthouse, and Bill Laroe, the head mason, constructed it; Laroe …

Stone, Edward Durell

Edward Durell Stone, one of the foremost American architects of the mid-twentieth century, established an international reputation and designed buildings throughout the world. Though he lived in New York City for much of his adult life, Stone made a lasting contribution to the architecture of his native Arkansas. Edward Stone was born on March 9, 1902, in Fayetteville (Washington County) to Benjamin Hicks Stone, a merchant and businessman, and Ruth Johnson Stone, a former English teacher at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville. The youngest of three children, Stone attended Fayetteville’s public schools but was not a serious student. His mother encouraged his talents for drawing and building things and allowed him to have a home carpentry shop. At …

Strauss House

The Strauss House, located in Malvern (Hot Spring County), was designed in the Dutch Colonial style by the architectural firm of Charles Thompson and Thomas Harding. Constructed in 1919, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 22, 1982. The design and construction of the house were commissioned by Albert Lincoln Strauss, the president of Malvern Lumber Company. His father, Adalbert Strauss, founded the company and the town of Perla (Hot Spring County) in the late nineteenth century. Albert Strauss was born on July 11, 1886. He married Martha Vogeler, and the couple had one daughter. Strauss was deeply involved in the timber industry in the state. He was serving as the chairman of the Arkansas …

Struggle in the South, The [Mural]

The Struggle in the South is a 44′ x 9′ mural by Joe Jones that includes dramatic scenes of striking miners and a lynching attempt. Completed in 1935, this painting is an example of Jones’s protest art during the years of the Great Depression. Joseph John (Joe) Jones was eulogized upon his death in 1963 as a corporate artist, with commissions from Fortune magazine and Standard Oil; this characterization overshadowed any mention of his beginnings as a Communist house painter. At the beginning of his career and during the height of the Great Depression, however, Jones was known as one of America’s notable social protest artists. Jones came from a working-class family. His immigrant Welsh father, Frank J. Jones, and …

Stubblefield, John

John Stubblefield was one of the most highly respected jazz saxophonists of his generation. He played with legendary musicians across the jazz spectrum and left a legacy of quality studio work over more than three decades as a bandleader, studio musician, and go-to saxophonist for live performances and tours. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame posthumously in 2007. John Stubblefield was born on February 4, 1945, in Little Rock (Pulaski County), one of two children of John and Mabel Stubblefield. His father served in the U.S. Navy during World War II but was injured and discharged; back in Little Rock, he worked as a laborer, machinist, and painter while passing his love of music along to …

Stuck, Elmer Axtell

Elmer Axtell Stuck was an architect based in Jonesboro (Craighead County) who founded the firm that became Stuck, Frier, Lane & Scott, Inc. Several of his designs were listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Elmer A. Stuck was born on February 2, 1900, in Jonesboro, the son of Bessie M. Axtell Stuck and Elmer Charles Stuck, owner and operator of the Jonesboro Brick Company and the Stuck Lumber Company. Though he had been groomed to take over the family business with his brother Howard, Stuck chose to pursue architecture, graduating from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1924. While Stuck was in school, he worked from 1921 to 1923 in the offices of William B. Ittner, who …

Sugimoto, Henry Yuzuru

Henry Yuzuru Sugimoto was a noted artist whose paintings chronicled the immigrant experience, including the time he and his family spent in internment camps in southern Arkansas during World War II. Henry Sugimoto was born as Yuzuru Sugimoto on March 12, 1900, in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. When he was a baby, his father moved to California to seek employment. Nine years later, his mother joined his father in California, leaving Sugimoto and a younger brother in the care of her parents. Sugimoto’s maternal grandfather had been a samurai and still owned many artworks, which Sugimoto copied with his grandfather’s encouragement. In 1919, Sugimoto’s parents finally could afford to bring him to America. He joined his parents in Hanford, California, and …

Sullivan, Orean Lencola

Orean Lencola Sullivan of Morrilton (Conway County) broke many color barriers in Arkansas and became a nationally known public figure. She won four scholarship pageants from 1977 to 1980 and was the first African American to win those pageants. She was Miss Morrilton in 1977, Miss University of Central Arkansas in 1978, Miss White River in 1979, and Miss Arkansas in 1980. In September 1980, Sullivan competed in the Miss America Pageant and won the preliminary swimsuit competition. Overall, she was the fourth runner-up in the national pageant, the highest placement achieved by an African-American contestant up to that time. Lencola Sullivan was born on October 29, 1957, to Richard and Macie Sullivan of Morrilton. She was the oldest of …

Sundown to Sunup Gospel Sing

aka: Albert E. Brumley Memorial Gospel Sing
The Sundown to Sunup Gospel Sing, an outdoor gospel music event, was held on the first weekend in August in Springdale (Washington and Benton counties) starting in 1969. During that time, the event was billed as the “largest outdoor gospel sing.” It was later named for its founder, gospel songwriter Albert Edward Brumley of Powell, Missouri, who penned such well-known songs as “I’ll Fly Away” and “Turn Your Radio On.” The idea for the Sundown to Sunup Gospel Sing was conceived after a gospel singing event in Bentonville (Benton County) in 1968. Brumley and his sons, Bill and Bob, worked with Springdale Chamber of Commerce president Lee Zachary to bring the event to Springdale’s Parsons Stadium in 1969. That first year, …

Sunset Hotel

The Linebarger Brothers Realty Company, run by Clarence A. Linebarger and his two older brothers, opened a summer resort at Lake Bella Vista in northwestern Arkansas in 1917. In 1929, they added a large new hotel high on a hill across the highway to the west of the lake. The hill was called Sunset Mountain, and the hotel became the Sunset Hotel. The hotel, located in what is now Bella Vista (Benton County), consisted of approximately sixty-five rooms with a private bathroom for each room or suite of rooms, a large lobby, and an upscale restaurant. Vacation visitors flocked to the hotel, and locals often traveled up the hill for meals in the restaurant. A substantial part of the workforce …

Swedlun, Frederick Ernest

aka: Ernest Fredericks
Frederick Ernest Swedlun, best known pseudonymously as Ernest Fredericks, was a prolific early twentieth-century artist active in Arkansas and Illinois and throughout the Ozarks region. His colorful woodland landscape paintings captured the rustic beauty of the area during every season of the year. One example, Autumn in the Ozarks, painted of a scene near Rogers (Benton County), was exhibited at the Chicago Art Institute in June 1940. Frederick Swedlun was born of Swedish parents, Olof Swedlun and Christine M. Sandahl, on a farm near McPherson, Kansas, on February 8, 1877. According to Swedlun’s autobiographical sketch, the farm life was not appealing to him. He moved to Chicago, Illinois, and began study at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. It was there …

Swedlun, Glenn C.

Glenn C. Swedlun was a popular twentieth-century regional artist active in Arkansas and Illinois. For almost forty years, Swedlun lived and worked in Eureka Springs (Carroll County). Glenn Swedlun was born in Illinois (either Cairo or Elgin, depending upon the source) on May 11, 1902, the first child of Frederick Ernest Swedlun and Cordella Florence Cayle Swedlun. He had one sister. Swedlun grew up in the Chicago area, where he completed one year of high school. For five years while a young man, Swedlun played professional baseball. At age twenty-seven, he gave up baseball to become an artist like his father. His father, a well-known Illinois landscape painter who worked under the pseudonym Ernest Fredericks, taught Swedlun the fundamentals of …

Sykes, Roosevelt “The Honeydripper”

Roosevelt Sykes was a leading blues pianist in the 1930s and is considered by many in the music world to be the father of the modern blues piano style. Sykes’s early musical experiences in Arkansas provided the blues background that served as the foundation for his later recording successes. He was a professional bluesman for more than sixty years, recorded on a dozen different labels, and played in St. Louis, Missouri; Chicago, Illinois; Memphis, Tennessee; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Europe. Roosevelt Sykes was born the son of a musician on January 31, 1906, in the sawmill town of Elmar (Phillips County). By 1909, the Sykes family had moved to St. Louis. However, Sykes often visited his grandfather’s farm near West …