UA Little Rock’s Department of Art & Design has a resident art program that was created to expand the course offerings in the art and design curriculum. This program offers two residency positions – a representational painter position and a metalsmith resident artist position.
“It brings new energy in every few years and activates the conversation, and it’s not just one perspective,” Brad Cushman said.
Cushman is the gallery director at UA Little Rock where the current exhibition, ‘Building a Collection’, features past and present resident artists’ work. He said that every two to three years, the department contracts a representational painter who exhibits their work in a campus gallery, teaches courses, and engages in the community art scene.
“The artist selected teaches courses in painting and drawing. Their personal style is imagery based on representations of real life [people, landscapes, still life etc.],” said Cushman.
The Department Chair and the resident artist work together to schedule courses for students. If the course is a part of the general [art and design] program, then any student interested in art can take the course. If the courses are upper-level courses, then certain pre-requisites must be met.
Since its start in 2003, the program has had five representational painter residents and 1 metalsmith resident artist.
David Clemons, the metalsmith artist, is currently the only resident artist on staff. He has been the resident metal artist since 2010. Some of his specialties include jewelry and blacksmithing. Prior to the resident artist position, Clemons worked as an adjunct instructor for ‘Beginner Drawing’ at UA Little Rock.
Clemons said he loves working with the students and faculty at UA Little Rock.
“The engagement I have with the students and the community of UALR and Little Rock, in general, have been inspiring for my work,” Clemons said. “Seeing the light of understanding and ability to use metalsmithing to express their ideas is immensely gratifying.”
As his time at UA Little Rock comes to an end, Clemons reflected on the experience the resident program has awarded him.
“I truly enjoy teaching. The ability to facilitate empowerment through knowledge and practice is the greatest aspect of what I do here,” Clemons said.