The Sentinel-Record


- Melinda Gassaway Guest columnist

Hot Springs continues to be a community that celebrates history, the arts, entertainm­ent and diverse cultural interests that make it a great place to live and work and a popular tourist destinatio­n.

Today’s digit doings column commences with a “Thumbsup” and “Thank you” to the Hot

Springs Branch of the

NAACP for presenting a Feb. 4 symposium entitled, “Voices of Elaine:

The 1919 Arkansas Massacre and Its Ongoing Impact.”

Held at the Central Theatre, the symposium featured a preview screening of “We Have Just

Begun,” a documentar­y film by Michael Wilson, director and producer, a panel discussion with descendant­s of the Elaine Massacre, a keynote address by the Honorable Wendell Griffen, and a question-and-answer session.

Kudos to Esther Dixon, Hot Springs NAACP vice president and justice of the peace, Kristie Rosset, chair of the Voices of Elaine Committee, the Hot Springs Chamber Players and the volunteers and sponsors of this important educationa­l program.

We also send out another well-deserved “Thumbs-up” to The Pocket Community Theatre’s presentati­on of “Tuesdays with Morrie,” a play based on the book by Mitch Albom.

A round of applause to the director, Kevin Day, actors Steven Mitchell and Dan Breshears, Kelly Column, assistant director, Christi Day, producer, Kristen La Madrid, music and vocal arranger, and the hardworkin­g crew members who brought this treatise on friendship to local audiences.

And our gratitude to the many loyal Pocket Community Theatre sponsors who ensure the presence of such good dramatic and comedic offerings in the Spa City.

Next up, here’s a big “Thumbs-up” to the Feb. 6 unveiling of sculptor Chad Fisher’s bronze statue of baseball great, George Herman “Babe” Ruth Jr. at Majestic Park.

Baseball historian Tim Reid and Ruth’s grandson, Tom Stevens, stressed “The Babe’s” fondness for Hot Springs cheered the generosity of the statue’s donors — Dr. Robert T. Muldoon and family, the Hamby Family whose gift honors the late Daniel B. Hamby Jr., and F. Lee Beasley and family.

Commendati­ons to Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs, Mary Zunick, Visit Hot Springs Cultural Affairs manager, Wayne Smith, board chair, and members of the Hot Springs Advertisin­g and Promotion Commission, Derek Phillis, Majestic Park general manager, and all of the individual­s involved in bringing this artful addition to our town.

Staying on the subject, here’s a “Thumbs-up” to Mid-America Science Museum for its new exhibit, “Tree/Cycle: An Exploratio­n of Art & Science.” As Casey Chandler, MASM’s director of education developmen­t, recently explained, “We’re trying to capture the fact of repeating patterns and repeating stories and that’s what trees are doing — they tell a story.”

The exhibit features works by local artisans Linda Williams Palmer and Gene Sparling.

Palmer’s color pencil portraits feature “champion trees” — some of the largest in Arkansas — and Sparling creates vessels and sculptures from the woods through wood-turning.

The exhibit — on display in the Hall of Wonder — is open until May. It also features some scientific and artistic activities such as a collaborat­ive mural and vinyl tree where museum-goers can add their thoughts about why trees are important and a still-life circle for visitors to show off their own artistic abilities.

The words that we rhyme

Are not always sublime

But the poets know verse

Be it for better or worse

With that little ode, we say, “Thumbs-up” to the dedicated poets and many fans who gathered on Feb. 1 at Kollective Coffee and Tea to mark the 34th anniversar­y of the Wednesday Night Poetry readings that began here on Feb. 1, 1989. A city proclamati­on officially designated that time as Wednesday Night Poetry Day and named host Kai Coggin as the first Poet Laureate of Hot Springs.

An author and teaching artist, Coggin hopes to “bring more poetry to the people here and to continue teaching thousands of children here in Central Arkansas.”

The Thumbs Column appears in The Sentinel-Record the first and third Wednesday of each month, The newspaper welcomes readers’ comments and suggestion­s, which should be submitted in writing with a telephone number and home address for contact and verificati­on purposes. This informatio­n is kept confidenti­al.

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