The Sculpture

Inspiration

Two of Arkansas's most historically important artists, Louis Freund (1905 - 1999) and Elsie Freund (1912 - 2001), were among the first to exhibit in Historic Arkansas Museum's Gallery for Arkansas Artists, a contemporary gallery conceived by Peg Smith. The Freunds also became Peg's close friends. Louis and Elsie each created variations on an iconic Arkansas art form, the square dance. The museum presented these paintings to artist Alice Guffey Miller as jumping-off points for her creation.

Osage Moccasins from the Smithsonian's NMAI collection
Quapaw Buckskin Leggings from the Smithsonian Institute's NMAI collection
Caddo Head Pot from the Historic Arkansas Museum collection

Arkansassy and her Dancers

The fiddler, named Arkansassy by the artist, and her square dancers were all cut from ½” aluminum at SeaArk Boats, a family-owned Arkansas company. Staff at SeaArk participated in many aspects of the fabrication, which went perfectly with the museum’s commitment to Arkansas Made. All of the figures come to life in a spirited dance as visitors are invited to walk (or dance!) among them.

All 75 Counties

In a way that is quintessentially her own, artist Alice Guffey Miller involved all sectors of Arkansas’s vast community. Alice invited Arkansans to provide objects—a rock, horseshoe, brick from a bygone building—to embed in the sculpture’s pedestals, hoping to get objects from each of Arkansas’s 75 counties—which she did! Each object tells a story—of a town, community or person. The stories were collected along with the objects and can be searched on this website.