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Thea Foundation’s Blue Plate Special is BACK

Thea Foundation’s Blue Plate Special is back, and it’s uniting 10 chefs, 2 mixologists and 13 artists for the cause of supporting and celebrating the arts and the work the foundation does to further the arts in education. October 15 – painters, filmmakers, poets, musicians, fashion designers and more will represent the local arts scene while assisting chefs and mixologists in serving gourmet food and cocktails on the Capital Hotel’s mezzanine.

We got to know a few of the artists participating in this year’s event and why they’re so excited to support the cause:

Barry Thomas

What art form do you practice?

Painting, specifically in oils but I can work with acrylics as well.

How did you first get involved in the art form?

When I was taking art classes in school, it helped me translate and express what I couldn’t properly express in words, and since then I’ve loved my craft.

How did the arts impact you when you were growing up?

In a tremendous way. It showed me the hearts of people rather than their words. Instead of focusing on their performance, I could see them as a person and how they wanted to express themselves. Art made relationships more connected and personal for me.

How can we view your work now?

I own a studio in North Little Rock in the Argenta Arts District, but anyone can follow my social media (@barry.thomas.studio) and look at my website: www.barrythomas.us

If you’ve participated in the Blue Plate Special before, what was your favorite part about the experience? If this is your first year, what are you most looking forward to?

I’ve never been before, but I’m definitely looking forward to meeting all these other artists!

Why do you think it’s important for people to support and be involved in the arts?

The arts allow people another way to look at the world and give them numerous ways to express themselves. It can bring people together, whether it’s through painting, dance, poetry, and just find a way to relate to each other. The arts can motivate and all around inspire people!

Rodney Block

What art form do you practice?

I play the trumpet and am the founding member of The Rodney Block Collective.

How did you first get involved in the art form?

I started on trumpet in the 6th grade.

How did the arts impact you when you were growing up?

Music was everything to me growing up. It gave me confidence in interacting with people. Music is common ground to everyone.

How can we hear your work now?

You can listen to my music on all digital outlets; Rodney Block on iTunes, Spotify, CD Baby, Tidal, Pandora Radio, etc.

If you’ve participated in the Blue Plate Special before, what was your favorite part about the experience?

My favorite part of this event is the FOOD, DRINKS, and NETWORKING with all the wonderful attendees.

Why do you think it’s important for people to support and be involved in the arts?

The arts cultivate new and innovative ideas while enhancing quality of life.

 

Janis Kearney

What art form do you practice?

Literary art. I write and publish books – mostly nonfiction and memoir.

How did you first get involved in this art form?

I was obsessed with listening to other’s stories and imagining writing my own stories since childhood. It began with my father who was a master storyteller. My first effort was to write his story, from there I went on to writing my family’s and my community’s stories, then my own story and eventually, I began to write stories about women and men whose lives I personally find fascinating.

How did the arts impact you when you were growing up?

I fell in love with books around the same time I fell in love with hearing other’s stories. As a child I had a high susceptibility to the written word. I loved reading more than I loved eating. Besides, I was very shy. I imagine it was being born right smack in the middle of 17 siblings, I never found the voice, or the space to express myself. Writing was my mode of self-expression. While I also love music and visual art, I have no aptitude in that direction.

How can we read your writing now?

My books are available in some local bookstores, on online bookstores and nationally. They are also available at www.wowpublishing.org. I have not ventured into the e-book publishing or audio book formats, yet. I do quite a bit of public speaking to groups and organizations inside and outside the state on a fairly regular basis.

If you’ve participated in the Blue Plate Special before, what was your favorite part about the experience?

I’ve never participated in the event, so I’m just looking forward to the experience. It sounds absolutely fascinating. I am also excited to meet and learn about the other artists who will be there. Oh, and I love eating…almost as much as I love reading.

Why do you think it’s important for people to support and be involved in the arts?

Where do I begin? Books and writing helped shape me and gave me a voice. It validated who I was when there were so many things that could have completely invalidated me. I believe there is a direct correlation between the arts and our souls, and the arts and our children’s learning capabilities. One of the saddest things for me is the knowledge that there are schools that do not offer the arts for young people. I can’t imagine how many children’s achievement levels are negatively impacted by the dearth of arts in their schools or communities. We need the arts because it makes us all better human beings and touches a part of our children that regular educational curricula never can.

Gerry Bruno

What art form do you practice?

A storyteller at heart using filmmaking as the medium.

How did you first get involved in the art form?

I’ve been telling stories since I was a kid, never realizing that I would someday make a living at it. I didn’t even know you COULD make a living at it. When I went to college, I had no idea what I wanted to study. I was talking to a friend whose neighbor’s son was a pProducer on a TV show. I had no idea what a producer was, but as he explained it, I got chills and knew at that moment that’s what I wanted to do.

How did the arts impact you when you were growing up?

The arts really didn’t take over my life until I got to college. I’d always been drawn to stories, paintings and theatre but I never realized there were people actually making those things. It felt very distant to me. In college, when I was exposed to everything ART, I was in love. I loved meeting and talking with artists, collaborating and learning how to express myself. It has steered my life ever since. There is a quote from sculptor Jóhann Eyfells that I love… “You are obligated to express yourself. If you don’t, you will have cheated your own existence.”

How can we view your work now?

Currently I am the Creative Director and Executive Producer at CenterRock Advertising, so a lot of my commercial work is on TV. I’m not very good at keeping my channel up to date, but some of my work can be seen on my YouTube channel: youtube.com/gerrybruno

If you’ve participated in the Blue Plate Special before, what was your favorite part about the experience? If this is your first year, what are you most looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to being in an environment where we all believe in the power of Art. Where we can see the passion in a young artist’s eyes. It is an amazing experience.

Why do you think it’s important for people to support and be involved in the arts?

I go back to the quote from Jóhann Eyfells. We as human beings have to… need to express ourselves. It is a way to break down barriers, gain confidence, see things through different perspectives, to feel emotions that you wouldn’t normally feel. Art can humble you, can fire you up, can make a statement, can make you feel empathy. Art can do so many things if we’re willing to let it.

Stacey McAdoo

What art form do you practice?

I’m a writer.

How did you first get involved in the art form?

I’ve always loved language. I also learn by writing (As a student I would write and rewrite my notes in order for them to stick. As an adult, I’m most efficient when I write out to do lists. Like physically write them out vs not type.) I’m most known as a poet…and I fell in love with it in my 10th grade Communications class when I was required to do an Oral Interpretation assignment.

How did the arts impact you when you were growing up?

See the answer above — an addendum to it is that prior to that class I was a nonfiction/expository writer. I thought poetry was that brown, cow, how unrelatable poetry that I had been force-fed in all my English classes. That class was when I discovered poetry that sounded like and looked like me.

How can we view or hear your work/performance now?

Sometimes at various open mics and poetry shows. Or through the work of my students. (I also have two books that were written many, many years ago.)

If you’ve participated in the Blue Plate Special before, what was your favorite part about the experience? If this is your first year, what are you most looking forward to?

This will be my first time. I’m not exactly sure what I’ve gotten myself into (I love Nick Leopoulos and his whole family, so when I was asked I quickly said yes without any reservation or full explanation. lol) I am, however, extremely excited and seriously looking forward to everything!

Why do you think it’s important for people to support and be involved in the arts?

They are important because the humanities are what make us human. They allow us to connect with one another, are great confidence builders, entry points to address/discuss social injustices and often are very therapeutic for both the artist and community.

Linda Rowe Thomas

What art form do you practice?

Fashion design.

How did you first get involved in the art form?

My mother was a remarkable seamstress and designer. I started sewing doll clothes with a hand needle and thread from the scraps left behind from her projects.

How did the arts impact you when you were growing up?

I was always intrigued by paintings and how stories seemed to encase within the colors. I started sketching and painting at an early age as well. Being able to breathe life into my designs via paint has always allowed me to be as creative as my mind will allow.

How can we view your work now?

The Romas by Linda Rowe Thomas is located at 310 Center Street, Little Rock, AR 72201 By appointment only.

www.romasbylrt.com // Instagram @LindaRoweThomas & @Romasbylrt

LeRon McAdoo

What art form do you practice?

Visual art (portraits, comics, and graphics); poetry, articles and plays; singing, producing and performing music; and break dancing.

How did you first get involved in the arts?

I was born a creative, and my earliest memory was of me drawing on furniture. I started getting paid for art and performing when I was in high school.

How did the arts impact you when you were growing up?

The Hip Hop culture during the early 80s gave my art purpose through graffiti, gave my writing purpose through rapping, gave my music purpose through djing and gave my dance purpose through breaking.

How can we view or hear your work/performance now?

I perform at poetry venues all over the country. I participate in art shows in this region of the United States. I also manage a weekly open mic at The House of Art in the Argenta area of North Little Rock.

If you’ve participated in the Blue Plate Special before, what was your favorite part about the experience? If this is your first year, what are you most looking forward to?

I am just excited to be invited.

Why do you think it’s important for people to support and be involved in the arts?

The arts are what makes us human. To deny the art, in my case, would literally be to deny myself.

Genine LaTrice Perez

What art form do you practice?

Music! I’m a recording artist, vocalist and entertainer.

How did you first get involved in the art form?

I was in a pageant at 12 years old, and my mother wanted me to sing, so I did.

How did the arts impact you when you were growing up?

The arts give me a confidence that otherwise I may not have had. Art allows me to be creative and be free. It gives me the opportunity to share all that I feel with those listening. You know that music is love, right?

How can we hear your work now? 

I have several clips online at www.geninelperez.com, and via YouTube; just search “Genine LaTrice Perez.”

If you’ve participated in the Blue Plate Special before, what was your favorite part about the experience? If this is your first year, what are you most looking forward to?

Oh, the time with the chef! That was the best. Helping and assisting the chef was the best. I love South on Main, so it was also awesome to brag on the food, staff, and the venue while helping support the Thea Foundation.

Why do you think it’s important for people to support and be involved in the arts?

It’s life changing.

Bryant Phelan

What art form do you practice?

I am a leather artisan and specialize in case/bag design.

How did you first get involved in the art form?

My mother brought home an antique venetian leather masquerade mask when I was 13 or so and I became obsessed with the use of leather. I had only ever seen plaster-of-paris masquerade masks before and became enthralled with the idea of creating leathergoods. I found some scrap leather at a local feed-store and started making leather masks inspired by nature, my dreams and fantasy.

How did the arts impact you when you were growing up?

I grew up in the small town of Malvern, AR and the Hot Springs Gallery Walk was an escape for me to delve into a world I was not yet able to truly be a part of. My mother’s fantastic personal style and strength inspired and inspires me to this day.

How can we view your work now?

You can check out my work on OFaolainLeather.com and see a large catalogue of my work on my Instagram account instagram.com/OFaolainLeather as well as on Facebook.com/OFaolainLeather.

If this is your first year attending the Blue Plate Special, what are you most looking forward to?

I am looking forward to a wonderful evening with other artists, including these amazing culinary artists, as well as the supporters and appreciators of local art and great food.

Why do you think it’s important for people to support and be involved in the arts?

I think people forget that art and philosophy is where all of our ideals are born. Mathematics and science once held hands with the arts, but there has since been a divide and a belief that people are either right or left brained, which is incredibly incorrect. We all have both sides, and if we nurture both we will live to a higher potential and greater appreciation of the world around us and, more importantly, understand how we interact with it and can change it for the betterment of ourselves and our society as a whole.

 

Get your tickets to the Blue Plate Special today! Tickets are expected to sell out again.

https://www.theafoundation.org/blue-plate-special

Inviting Arkansas
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