Upcoming River Walk

Dardanelle Post Office Mural.

Here is this week’s The Seed and the Story column which comes out every other week in the Post Dispatch and the Courier.   Since this week’s column is about the upcoming River Walk and the McElroy House Booth I’m posting it here.  You can always read these columns and other writings at the Boiled Down Juice.  

We hope you will come join us, bring your stories, photos, and come enjoy cookies with us and support area artists and musicians.  And don’t forget one of the best ways to support your community is to shop locally and to give your money to area craftspeople, artists, and businesses.  The River Walk is a great place to do a little holiday shopping.  And before or after your shopping we hope you’ll join us to talk about the community’s past and the plans for the future.

Hope to see you there!

The Seed and the Story for November 30, 2011.  

Last week art historian Dr. Gayle Seymour visited the Dardanelle Historical Society to discuss the history and importance of the Dardanelle Post Office Mural.   You may recall a previous column from August of this year explaining how the mural was created under the Percent for Art model, a Depression-era federal program that provided employment to out of work artists and brought art to highly-accessible public buildings.  The artist who created our mural was Ludwig Mactarian, an ethnic Armenian who escaped the Armenian Genocide and came to New York at the age of thirteen.  Our mural, which features workers in the cotton industry, is one of very few Percent for Art murals depicting African Americans.  Equally important,  the artist’s focus on the struggles of share croppers suggests a multi-layered social commentary, making our mural unique and important on both a local and national level.

Close up of man in center panel.

Thanks to the hard work of Dr. Seymour, the great folks at the Dardanelle Historical Society and many concerned citizens, there are plans in the works to call more attention to the mural and work toward its eventual restoration. 

You have probably heard about the upcoming downtown Dardanelle Christmas River Walk December 9th from 5:00-8:00 P.M.  Organized by the wonderful folks at Renaissance Front Street Restoration, this event will feature area artists, carolers, music, and more.  To help draw attention to the mural and its importance in our community, the Dardanelle Historical Society will be serving refreshments and handing out information about the mural inside the post office lobby.  Be sure and drop by and check out this historic work and learn more about its history. 

I’ll be present at the Art Walk as well, sitting at the booth for the The McElroy House: Organization for Folklife, Oral History, and Community Action.  We will be discussing various ways we can engage in research and public education programs centering on the mural and the history and themes it represents.  We’ll have some homemade treats on hand made by volunteers and information about documenting oral history in the area, especially cotton picking as depicted in the mural.  Did you grow up picking cotton in the area?  Did your grandparents?  We’d love to hear all about it.  One of our main goals of the McElroy House is to help document these community stories and preserve them for generations to come.  Please stop by and pick up a cookie and visit with us.  If you’ve got photos or other things you’d be willing to share, bring those too.  We’ll have a scanner on hand to scan in your old photos as well as other photos for people to view. 

Thanks so much for reading and I look forward to seeing you at the Christmas Walk! 


2 Comments on “Upcoming River Walk”

  1. Gene D, Ring says:

    Hi–just a note to say I enjoyed your article today about Chickalah. Noticed your mention of a book of Wayne Banks, about the History of Yell County.
    My friend, Tom Dillard–who writes an article each Sunday for the Ark-DemoGaz on history of arkansas, has asked that I try to locate that book for his library. Do you know where I can find a copy? I remember reading it years ago and it’s very interesting. Thank you for your time–and your wonderful articles. Bonnie Ring

    • mcelroyhouse says:

      Hello! I know Tom! Yes, it can be purchased through Amazon but it costs A LOT. haha.
      I keep hoping I’ll come across a used copy in old bookstore. I will let you know if I do.

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