Clinton Center to explore impact on Mississippi River

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – This year, the Clinton Presidential Center’s Fusion: Arts + Humanities Arkansas program will explore the impact of the Mississippi River on commerce, agriculture, environment, and culture. Throughout the month of February, the Clinton Center will bring together Mark Twain and Norman Rockwell, dozens of Arkansas educators, a GRAMMY Award-winning musician, and the foremost experts of Mississippi River history and culture.
 
Now in its third year, Fusion promotes heritage and culture and celebrates human achievement by weaving the arts and humanities together. Fusion: Arts + Humanities Arkansas is made possible through the generous support of the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma, Centennial Bank, and the Little Rock Port Authority.
 
“The Mighty Mississippi River has been called ‘the spine of our nation,’ and ‘the lifeblood of American commerce,’ so it is fitting that we spend two years exploring its tremendous impact on everything, from transportation to literature,” said Stephanie S. Streett, executive director of the Clinton Foundation. “We are especially grateful to our wonderful partners and sponsors who have made Fusion possible.”
 
The accompanying temporary exhibit, The Mighty Mississippi: A Mosaic of America’s Growth, will debut on Feb. 9, 2019. The exhibit will explore the influence of the Mississippi River on commerce, specifically in the transportation of commodities to market; on the growth of agriculture and its expansion to markets across the globe; on the environment, evidenced by floods, disasters, and other historic markers; and on culture, as captured in popular literature, music, and art. Visitors will take a journey down the Mississippi River as they view dozens of artifacts and ephemera, including:
 
    first editions of Mark Twain’s novels, “The Prince and the Pauper” and “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”
    original Normal Rockwell lithographs from Twain’s works
    the Epiphone guitar and playing knife of Helena native and famed blues guitar player Cedell Davis
    a scale model of the infamous Sultana side-wheel steamboat, which exploded in the United States’ worst maritime disaster
 
On Sunday, February 10, the Clinton Center is hosting the Fusion: Arts + Humanities Arkansas public symposium, featuring captivating performances and insightful remarks from subject matter experts. The program will include an original score, “Jazz Journey up the Mighty Mississippi,” performed by the Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra Jazz Ensemble; a lecture by Dr. Tom Rankin, nationally acclaimed photographer, filmmaker, and folklorist; a performance of “Literature Inspired by the Mighty Mississippi” by the North Little Rock High School Theater Department; a performance by Grammy-award winner and 2018 Grammy nominee David Evans; and remarks by Dr. Rolando Herts, director of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning and the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area. The public symposium is open to the public and free to attend. Reservations can be made by calling (501) 748-0425 or visitingwww.clintonpresidentialcenter.org/events. 
 
On February 10 and 11, the Clinton Center will host an educator institute for the more than 50 teachers from across the state who applied and were selected for the program. The participating educators will hear about the mighty Mississippi River from subject-matter experts, enjoy live performances, participate in panel discussions, and watch the documentary, A River Runs Through It.
 
Subject matter experts and program participants represent many educational, governmental, and cultural institutions. Objects featured in the exhibition are on loan from a number of museums in the region, including:
 
    Arkansas Arts and Science Center
    Arkansas State University, ASU Heritage Sites, and the ASU Delta Studies Center
    Arkansas Symphony Orchestra
    Delta Cultural Center
    Duke University
    Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum
    Little Rock Port Authority
    Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum
    Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area
    Mississippi River Museum
    Old State House Museum
    Plantation Agriculture Museum
    Quapaw Canoeing Company
    Sultana Museum
    University of Central Arkansas
    University of Arkansas Fayetteville
 
The Mighty Mississippi theme will extend to 2020 when the Clinton Center debuts The Mighty Mississippi: The HeART and Soul of the Southern Delta, which will focus on the history and culture of the Southern Delta from the 19th century until today.
 
The Mighty Mississippi: A Mosaic of America’s Growth exhibit will close on March 3, 2019. Admission to the exhibit is included with each regular admission ticket.
 
The Clinton Presidential Center’s annual Fusion: Arts + Humanities Arkansas program enriches the teaching of our heritage, culture, and human achievement by weaving the arts and humanities together to provide a unique interactive experience. To achieve these objectives, the Fusion program incorporates live performances and demonstrations mixed with factual presentations and discussions among scholars and experts into a public symposium and a multi-day educator institute accompanied by a temporary exhibit at the Clinton Center.
 
The William J. Clinton Presidential Center is the home of the Little Rock offices of the Clinton Foundation; the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum; the Clinton School of Public Service, the first institution in the nation to offer a Master of Public Service (MPS) degree; and is a managing partner of the Presidential Leadership Scholars program, a national bipartisan executive-style leadership development initiative. The Clinton Center is a world-class educational and cultural venue offering a variety of special events, exhibitions, educational programs, and lectures throughout the year. Located on the banks of the Arkansas River in Little Rock, Arkansas, it has welcomed more than 4.6 million visitors from around the world since opening in 2004. Most importantly, the Clinton Center offers a unique perspective of the work – past, present, and future – of the 42nd President of the United States.
 
Learn more at www.clintonpresidentialcenter.org, www.Facebook.com/ClintonCenter, and @ClintonCenter on Twitter and Instagram.
 

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