Arkansas Living Treasure Film Project

The Arkansas Living Treasure Film Project naturally combines the missions of two Department of Arkansas Heritage agencies who have joined forces to promote and document some of the state’s finest artisans and craft traditions. Since 2002, the Arkansas Arts Council has recognized Arkansas Living Treasures, Arkansas artisans who excel in the practice of a traditional craft and who have passed the tradition on to the next generation. For the past four decades, Historic Arkansas Museum’s Arkansas Made has systematically documented, collected and preserved the work of Arkansas artisans who lived and worked in the state from the early 19th century to present day. In 2013, the Arkansas Arts Council and Historic Arkansas Museum collaborated to produce a series of short films that celebrate the lives and work of each Arkansas Living Treasure.

Historic Arkansas Museum’s Arkansas Made research team worked with regional filmmakers to produce the short films, including Dave Anderson, Gabe Gentry, Greg Spradlin, Nathan Willis, Kat Wilson and Joe York. Profiled in the films are fiddle-maker Violet Hensley, basketmaker Leon Niehues, chairmaker Dallas Bump, potters Jim Larkin, Winston Taylor and Peter Lippincott, quilter Irma Gail Hatcher, master bladesmith J.R. Cook, woodworkers Doug Stowe and Robyn Horn and wood planemaker Larry Williams. The Historic Arkansas Museum and Arkansas Arts Council have future plans to produce a film about the first recipient of the award, Beatrice Stebbings, a now deceased stained glass artist, as well as Robert Runyan, a log cabin maker who has been named the 2014 Arkansas Living Treasure.

The Arkansas Made Living Treasure Film Series documents the work and lives of recipients of the Arkansas Living Treasure Award. Arkansas Living Treasures excel in their practice of a traditional craft and actively preserve their craft through educating others. Their creative legacy is a reminder of Arkansas’s rich and varied cultural history. The Arkansas Arts Council established the Arkansas Living Treasures award project in 2002, and it is the only statewide program to honor Arkansans in the visual arts field of traditional craft. Historic Arkansas Museum, through its Arkansas Made research project, is delighted to be a partner in the film documentation of some of our state’s finest artists and craftspeople.