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Dr. Bevan Keating named Artistic Director

 

HyperFocal: 0Dr. Bevan Keating named Artistic Director of Wildwood Park for the Arts

Dr. Bevan Keating has recently been named as the Artistic Director of Wildwood Park for the Arts, a 501(c)3 nonprofit arts organization located in west Little Rock on Denny Road. Keating draws upon a wealth of experience as a performer, educator, and artistic director to guide Wildwood’s contribution to the arts community here in Arkansas. Wildwood is expanding its innovative music and arts education programs, as well as fostering development of Wildwood’s offerings in the Park’s 625-seat Lucy Lockett Cabe Festival Theatre, the Art in the Park visual arts exhibitions, and series of concerts, events and festivals.

Among his first projects as Wildwood’s Artistic Director is the upcoming LANTERNS! Festival, February 10th through 12th. Wildwood’s annual deep-winter festival celebrates the first full moon of the lunar new year. Held over three magical evenings, guests are transported to faraway lands and times as they stroll through the beautifully lit pathways of Wildwood’s gardens. Cultural vistas feature live entertainment, food, drink, games and more throughout the Park’s Butler Arboretum and inside the Lucy Lockett Cabe Festival Theatre.

Hailing from London, Ontario, Keating naturally selected Canada as one of the six vistas for this year’s festival, which also includes the Caribbean Islands, China, France, America’s Wild West, and the Moon. Located at Wildwood’s iconic Butler Gazebo next to Swan Lake, the Canadian vista will be the first stop for guests entering the Park’s east gate and the launch site for floating luminaries that guests launch along with their wishes for the lunar year, which is the Chinese Year of the Fire Rooster. Keating will personally lead the vista where guests will have opportunities for karaoke with tunes by some of Canada’s most famous singers (Celine Dion and Justin Bieber among them). Maple syrup will surely play a role in the cuisine, along with beverages preferred by our neighbors up north.

Prior to accepting the position of Artistic Director of Wildwood Park for the Arts, Dr. Keating collaborated with Wildwood on several stage productions and provided artistic leadership for the Wildwood Academy of Music & the Arts (WAMA). In 2015, Dr. Keating directed The Bremen Town Musicians as part of Wildwood’s Art to Go! statewide educational touring program to introduce youth across Arkansas to opera and the dramatic arts.  He also served as the Director of Vocal Programming for the Wildwood Academy of Music & the Arts (WAMA) in 2015 and as Artistic Director for WAMA in 2016. The Wildwood Academy of Music and the Arts is a rapidly growing summer music academy for student musicians of all ages and abilities. Approaching its fourth year, WAMA is attracting some of the most talented youth in Arkansas, and students during the program’s first years have gone on to study music at the university level.

The Wildwood Academy of Music & the Arts (WAMA) provides youth in Arkansas access to the highest standards in music and arts education. With primary emphasis on instrumental and vocal music, WAMA also provides opportunities to explore multiple artistic genres, from visual and culinary arts to literary arts and musical theatre. Through orchestral, large and small ensemble, and solo experiences, students receive training and performance opportunities supported by professional faculty. Public performances and master classes by internationally renowned faculty and guest artists are held throughout June and July.

Dr. Keating has directed several productions recently in Wildwood’s Lucy Lockett Cabe Festival Theatre, including Dracula: Unearthed (2015), The Kristin Lewis Opera Gala (2015), and The Music Man (2016). He will also direct and conduct Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, onstage in Wildwood’s Cabe Theatre March 31 – April 2 this spring.

These productions are produced in partnership with Praeclara, of which Dr. Keating is also the Artistic Director. Praeclara is a multidisciplinary performing arts company supported by Second Presbyterian Church of Little Rock where Dr. Keating serves as Director of Music. Praeclara specializes in creating unique performances of both original scripts and classical masterworks that challenge Arkansas audiences through innovative staging and adaptations of familiar works; works such as Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, and Dido & Aeneas, but also introducing new stories and interpretations as in the original script of Dracula: Unearthed.

Dr. Keating is responsible for the thriving music programs at Second Presbyterian Church; including the Adult, Youth, and Children’s Choirs, a chamber ensemble, the annual youth musical and several hand bell and instrumental ensembles. The Adult Choir and Chamber Ensembles have participated in high profile local performances and have toured internationally in Canada, the UK and Ireland, Austria, Germany, and Hungary. As part of Second Presbyterian Church’s and Praeclara’s commitment to bringing excellent music to the community, Dr. Keating also facilitates the performances of the Little Rock Wind Symphony and the River City Men’s Chorus at Second Presbyterian.

As director of the choral and voice department at University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Dr. Keating leads the UALR Concert Choirs, the elite UALR Chamber Chorus, and Women’s Chorus, as well as the UALR Community Chorus. He also teaches a rigorous series of coursework for aspiring orchestral and choral conductors. He serves as a mentor and teacher for students studying both performance and music education, and his students have gone on to complete post-graduate degrees in music; perform and teach professionally; and to serve as musicians for congregations across the U.S.

Keating is Wildwood’s third artistic director of the Park, following Dr. Ann Chotard, the founding artistic director, and Cliff Fannin Baker, who also served as CEO. Ms. Leslie Golden was named Executive Director in late 2012, having served as Managing Director for several years with Mr. Baker. For more information about Wildwood Park for the Arts, visit wildwoodpark.org.

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January WILDVolunteer Events

 

Family WILDVolunteer Day! – January 16, 1 pm – 4 pm.

 

Drop in on, January 16th, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, from 1:00 – 4:00 PM to serve as a family, create kindness, and inspire others as part of Wildwood Park for the Art’s Family Volunteer Day!

Serve alongside Wildwood staff and AmeriCorps members as we prepare for our annual cultural festival, LANTERNS!  There is a job for everyone in the family! From preparing for LANTERNS!, our annual deep-winter festival celebrating 6 cultures from around the world, to helping keep the Park’s outdoor areas clean by removing plant debris and picking up litter, . Jobs may include raking leaves, creating luminaries  and decorating for this enlightening event.

Create your very own “Kindness Rock” to hide in the Park for others to discover.

While you volunteer, your younger school age students can hang out with Wildwood’s educational staff to create “Kindness Rocks!” by painting messages of kindness on rocks that will bring joy to others. Kindness Rocks began in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and are moving across the country as various organizations and schools are jumping on board! Kids can take their Kindness Rocks and hide them throughout Wildwood, their neighborhood, or other public places around Little Rock.
Be inspired by the future as you view interpretive Presidential Portraits & Inauguration Stands by 4th graders from Wildwood’s Arts-in-Education partner schools, Robinson Elementary School & Roberts Elementary School.

The student artwork on display at Wildwood is the result of five-day school residencies with Texarkana sculptor and Wildwood teaching artist Kay Thomas.  During her residency, Thomas worked with 4th grade students instructing them in basic 3D paper construction techniques as an arts integration approach to their humanities curriculum on U.S. presidents and the inaugural ceremony. The exhibit will be installed for viewing in the Galleries at Wildwood from January 9 to January 23. Families who visit the Park during Wildwood’s Family Volunteer Day on January 16, 2017, will have access to materials to create their own interpretative presidential portraits.

WILDVolunteer Happy Hour – January 9, 5;30 pm – 7 pm. 

Join us on Monday, January 9th anytime from 5:30-7:00 to learn more about the upcoming season’s volunteer opportunities and meet our new AmeriCorps group that will be with us in the New Year. Bring a friend (or two, or three, or more!) and enjoy a glass of wine, beer or hot chocolate and some yummy snacks. We’ll have volunteer sign-up sheets for upcoming events (including LANTERNS!), and we’ll be here to answer any questions you may have about volunteering. We’d love to know if you are planning to attend. RSVP, if you can, by emailing angela@wildwoodpark.org!

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Great strides: WAMA @ Wildwood

 

As of June 27, the third week of WAMA is in full swing! The first two weeks of the Wildwood Academy of Music & the Arts were absolutely invigorating, and we’re continuing the momentum! WAMA is showing its capacity to expand – both in size and scope:

In 2016, WAMA supporters made it possible to bring students and interns from across Arkansas to make music together at Wildwood. (Housing was provided in partnership with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.) Young instrumentalists worked intently in full rehearsals with conductor Daniel Black (Ft. Worth Symphony) each day. They shared in master classes with the renowned ensemble WindSync and a variety of side-by-side performances and coachings from the faculty, which included Tatiana Kotcherguina, Ashley Walla, Barry McVinney, and Kiril Laskarov, Concert Master for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.

WAMA is living the vision to bring students in both the Instrumental core and the Vocal core together in concert. Under the batons of Daniel Black and Dr. Bevan Keating, WAMA Artistic Director, more than 30 orchestral musicians collaborated with almost as many advanced vocal students to create a spectacular culminating concert, A Summer Schubert Serenade, on June 24th.

The intermediate program is overflowing with instrumentalists and singers eager for training to reach the next level. Music faculty from the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, UALR, and local schools are joined by teaching artists who provide such multi-arts electives as yoga, visual arts, culinary classes, creative writing and theatre.

In week three, advanced vocal students shift their focus to the more whimsical side of musical theatre, with equally intensive training by faculty and two internationally-renowned guest artists. Baritone-bass Curtis Sullivan and collaborative pianist, Dr. Kyung-Eun Na, will also perform a concert for the public:

Awake the Beauty

Thursday, June 30 / 7:30 pm

Lucy Lockett Cabe Festival (indoors)

The next afternoon, July 1st at 5 pm, participants in the Advanced Vocal Core will present a culminating concert.

In the weeks following, WILDMusic beginning students will embark upon artistic adventures in African drumming, ukulele classes, visual arts, culinary arts and musical theatre. Each week culminates with a student performance. These emerging young artists, just like the more advanced WAMA students, are developing musically and artistically the skills crucial for self-discipline, collaboration, exploration and creativity. Register your young artist here.

WAMA students are making great strides. Help us continue the momentum. Keep the metronomes going, the paintbrushes vivid, the voices on cue. Thanks to a growing number of funders and patrons just like you, WAMA is pleased to provide world-class faculty members, innovative classes, and a variety of performances and performance opportunities so that hundreds of young people each summer have access the highest standards in music and arts education. Click here to make a donation today to support the Wildwood Academy of Music & the Arts. Or contact Mary Bea Gross, Development Officer, at 501-821-7275, or via email at marybea@wildwoodpark.org.

With gratitude,

Dr. Bevan Keating, WAMA Artistic Director

Angela Collier, WAMA Curriculum Manager

Leslie Golden, Executive Director

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Thank you, Americorps Alpine 6!

Farewell, Alpine 6!

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Wildwood has been bustling with improvements January – February of 2016 thanks to nine Americorps team members, led by grounds manager David Pickens, facilities manager Ira Grace, and an elite crew from Central Arkansas Master Naturalists, the Nature Conservancy, Tom Tull Studios and Stageworks. Known as “The A Team” around Wildwood, Alpine 6  of NCCC Americorps’ Southwest Region provided more than 4500 hours of volunteer service to improve the Park and its amenities.

Here’s a condensed list of what Team Leader Brian Wegner, along with Haley, Maddy, Charles, Patrick, Tayla, Perry, Jessica and Waldemar accomplished:

  • Trailblazed the Wild 40, the Nature Trail, and the Ruth Allen Dogwood Trail
  • Landscaped park areas and refurbished multiple flowerbeds throughout the Butler Arboretum
  • Recovered 100+ lobby chairs
  • Built a new bridge and created a new rock dry bed for the Nabucco Waterfall in the Asian Woodland Garden
  • Attained Level A chainsaw status
  • Removed thousands of pounds of tree debris from Denny Road and the Wildflower Glen
  • Provided support for Wildwood’s Jr. Naturalist Camp
  • Inventoried properties and scenery and, outdoors, indigenous plantings throughout the Park
  • Painted the concessions stand and several restrooms
  • Built a volcano and decor for LANTERNS! Festival, and hosted more than 8000 guests with 350 volunteers

Thank you, A Team, for being part of Team Wildwood – may our paths meet again!

 

 

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Grow the Love on April 7, 2016

ArkansasGivesApril7Between 8 AM and 8 PM on Thursday, April 7, you can change Wildwood Park for the Arts and Arkansas for the better.

ArkansasGives is a 12-hour statewide online giving event sponsored by Arkansas Community Foundation. Visit ArkansasGives.org between 8 AM and 8 PM on Thursday, April 7, and select Wildwood Park for the Arts in the drop down menu.

And make your dollars count even more! On ArkansasGives Day, each nonprofit is eligible to qualify for additional dollars through a matching pool of funds from Arkansas Community Foundation. All participating nonprofits will receive a portion of the matching pool. The more a nonprofit raises, the more bonus dollars it will receive. Even small nonprofits receive matching funds!

We’ll make it really easy for you! Let us help you help Wildwood! With your permission, Wildwood will make a courtesy call or email a personal reminder to you on April 7th. Simply contact Mary Bea Gross, Wildwood’s development officer, at marybea@wildwoodpark.org

As an extra incentive, by making a gift to Wildwood Park for the Arts during this 12-hour giving period, your impact will be DOUBLED thanks to a generous matching gift from a Wildwood supporter. When you choose to give to Wildwood Park, your gifts will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $10,000, on this special day of giving. 

Take a few minutes to give to Wildwood Park for the Arts on ArkansasGives Day April 7th! Your contribution will be matched by our supporter, and Wildwood will receive Arkansas Community Foundation funds as well – a perfect trifecta of giving!

When you give on ArkansasGives Day, you are joining a statewide celebration of giving and can help Wildwood raise even more dollars to support the Park’s mission to enrich the lives of Arkansans of all ages by creating community through nature and the arts.

Join us in supporting Wildwood Park for the Arts on ArkansasGives Day April 7th. Together we can make a difference!

ArkansasGives donations are online only through the ArkansasGives website, credit card only, for 12 hours only on April 7th, and in a minimum donation level of $25 (no maximum).arkansasgives-color