By Annie St. Pierre | Photography by Rett Peek
What is art? This question is presented to students and contemplated by countless artists. Google defines art as various branches of creative activity. ACANSA’s mission reflects and supports these branches – cultivating a more dynamic arts community and enriching the cultural vitality of Arkansas.
In celebration of this purpose, ACANSA’s established the Charlotte Gadberry Award to honor the organization’s history and its steadfast commitment to presenting meaningful programming throughout the year. The annual award ceremony is a primary fundraiser for the Spring Break Art Camps, which provide free art camps across a variety of artistic disciplines. ACANSA Executive Director Dillon Hupp recognized the potential of a shared vision and contacted artistic “movers & shakers” in the community to make this art camp a reality – one being Epiphany “Big Piph” Morrow.
Big Piph remembers, “Before the program was fully formed, I was able to build a relationship with Dillon. We entertained some ideas for the future, but ultimately nothing tangible came from it at the time. However, as similarly minded individuals with a passion for creatives in the Central Arkansas landscape, we kept communicating. As a result, when the ACANSA Spring Break Program was formed, Dillon reached out to me to be a part of it and I gladly accepted.”
With a heart for service, Big Piph shares his talents to the children attending the Spring Break Camps. Empathetically he explains, “Everybody has a story and arguably, everyone has some type of talent. Both tend to get overlooked by others to the point we often second guess or neglect them ourselves.” He aims to build a stronger community through a self-awareness expressed through action and verbalized in rhyme. “From the skills acquired though a life in hip-hop, my goal is to bring the proper recognition back to them. And yeah, and there will definitely be music and rapping too.”
Last year, 150 children were able to take advantage of ACANSA’s classes and an expected 250 will be in attendance for 2019. Dillon explains, “We offer a wide variety of courses across the artistic spectrum – everything from arts and crafts, to theater, to ballet, and even hip-hop.” With the program’s overwhelming success, Dillon looks forward to another series of curriculum. “We’re excited to work with partners like Ballet Arkansas, Argenta Community Theater, and Big Piph to provide classes for any kind of artistic interest.”
The Charlotte Gadberry Award Presentation, this year honoring Linda Newbern, is unlike any other. Rather than a traditional dinner, the organization will host a performance-based ceremony featuring the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Youth Jazz Ensemble and Broadway performer Jeremy Stolle from Phantom of the Opera. The devotion of the ACANSA team and community partners is a clear representation of the values instilled by the organization’s visionary. Dillon notes, “Charlotte Gadberry’s tireless dedication on behalf of ACANSA and her passion for the arts is unmatched, and I’m thrilled that we are able to hold this event every year to honor her vision.”