May 17, 2022

Charlie Doodle

Unique Art & Entertainment

Symphony starts new music series in Fayetteville

4 min read

The Symphony of Northwest Arkansas kicks off a new music series, called “SoNA Beyond,” at 6 p.m. Saturday with a concert titled “Voces Latinas (LatinX Voices)” at the Fayetteville Public Library Event Center, 401 W. Mountain St., Fayetteville.

The concert marks National Hispanic Heritage Month. Orchestra musicians and program curators Lia Uribe, bassoon; Fernando Valencia, percussion; Raul Munguia, violin; and Cristian Martinez Vega, violin/viola, put the program together; joining them will be Pedro Oviedo, viola; Michael Puryear, cello; Orlando Scalia, clarinet; and Tomoko Kashiwagi, piano. The program will include works by Adina Izarra, Manuel Ponce, Astor Piazzolla, Angelica Negron and Jorge Mockert.

Admission is free; the orchestra requests you register online at

A free pre-concert outdoor event at 4:30 p.m. on the library’s Gathering Glade will offer food from area Hispanic chefs and live salsa music by Son Sin Gnero, as well as a chance to mix and mingle with the artists and Hispanic community leaders.

The series, according to a news release, will showcase “the vast spectrum of possibilities for classical music and [reach] audiences and the community at large in new and innovative ways.” It will feature orchestra musicians in chamber music, outdoor educational concerts and community partnerships. Many of the programs will be low-cost or free.

The series will include at least two more concerts, dates to be announced, at the Fayetteville Public Library: tabla player Sandeep Das performs in February and, in celebration of National Poetry Month, the SoNA Singers and Music Director Terry Hicks will perform in April, focusing on “highlighting music’s ability to transform words from page to sound.”

Series support comes from the Walmart Foundation. Visit

Elsewhere in entertainment, events and the arts:

Hispanic heritage

The Central Arkansas Library System marks National Hispanic Heritage Month through Oct. 15 with virtual and grab-and-go events in English, Spanish and bilingually.

The lineup includes:

◼️ The second session of free, distanced, bilingual yoga, 10 a.m. Oct. 16 on the rooftop of the parking garage adjoining the Main Library, 100 Rock St., Little Rock. The instructor is Lydia Bush. Take your own mats. Registration is required — email [email protected]; call (501) 320-5785 for more information.

◼️ A discussion in English via Zoom of the book “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros, 11 a.m. Oct. 5. The library will provide English and Spanish versions of the book; call (501) 320-5785 to reserve space and make arrangements to pick up the book.

The library also offers a virtual film series, 6 p.m Wednesdays (“admission” is free; no registration required; the link to join:

◼️ Sept. 29: “Landfall,” focusing on protests that toppled the governor of Puerto Rico in 2019 in the wake of Hurricane Maria. 92 minutes.

◼️ Oct. 6: “Voices of the Sea.” A mother yearns to escape the hardships of Cuba for a potentially fatal American dream. 82 minutes.

◼️ Oct. 13: “The Infiltrators.” The true story of two young immigrants, members of a group of radical Dreamers who are on a mission to stop deportations, who deliberately get arrested by U.S. Border Patrol and put in a shadowy for-profit detention center. 95 minutes.

Library branches will hold additional events. Call (501) 320-5785, email [email protected] or visit

Regional art exhibition

“Angler Fish Mask” by Susan Clifton is part of “Our Art, Our Region, Our Time,” on display starting Thursday at Fayetteville’s Walton Arts Center. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette)

“Our Art, Our Region, Our Time,” 73 works by 64 artists representing 16 cities across Northwest Arkansas, goes on display with a 6-8 p.m. reception Thursday in the Joy Pratt Markham Gallery at Fayetteville’s Walton Arts Center, 495 W. Dickson St.

The exhibition remains up through Nov. 5. Gallery hours are noon-2 p.m. weekdays. Patrons will be required to wear a mask. The gallery also opens one hour prior and during intermission for arts center performances, for which patrons will be required to show proof of a negative covid-19 test within 72 hours or proof of full vaccination.


Online arts conference

The Arkansas Arts Council’s “ArtLinks 2021: Bouncing Forward” online arts conference, Oct. 6-7, focuses on the economic impact of the arts on Arkansas heritage and Arkansas tourism.

Highlights will include keynote speaker Ron Finley discussing urban gardening; the National Endowment of the Arts-sponsored presentation “Our Town,” examining creative approaches to rebuild communities; and a look at the new Arts + Technology boot camps, created by Arkansans for the Arts and approved by the Arkansas Legislature.

It’s free to attend, but advance registration is required; visit For more information, call (501) 324-9767, email [email protected] or visit

Prize-winning play

Gina Stevensen’s play “Book of Esther” is the winner of the University of Arkansas theater department’s 2021 Kernodle New Play Award. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette)

Gina Stevensen’s play “Book of Esther” is the winner of the University of Arkansas theater department’s 2021 Kernodle New Play Award. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette)

The University of Arkansas theater department has given its 2021 Kernodle New Play Award to Gina Stevensen for her play “Book of Esther,” about a young woman struggling to find her voice within her ultra-Orthodox Jewish family in Brooklyn.

The reading committee, composed of graduate students and faculty members, chose it from more than 150 works from playwrights across the country. The competition, which honors UA faculty member George Kernodle, comes with a cash award, the possibility of further development of the script and potential guest-artist mentorships to work with UA graduate students. UA faculty member and award director John Walch says he plans to propose a reading as part of the university’s spring new play festival.

Stevensen teaches playwriting at Tribeca Performing Arts Center and The Writer’s Rock in New York.

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