There are those who make an enormous contribution to Arkansas. Some do it in business, others in public service, and still others in the arts. Jim Dyke was one of those people who made his enormous contribution in the arts.
Jim Dyke knew art, and loved French paintings. He donated over 130 of them, Paul Signac watercolors, to the Arkansas Arts Center, now renamed the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts. The center built a special gallery to exhibit them.
His contributions were even greater. He was a major financial supporter of the Arkansas Arts Center, donating not just his money but his time, business acumen, and creativity to making it successful. He served in numerous capacities, including chairman of its foundation.
Jim was one of those Arkansans who left the state, got a great education--in his case at Georgia Tech and Yale--and returned to his native state to make it even better. A native of Fort Smith and a resident of Little Rock, he loved the state and its people. He contributed to multiple programs that he thought would make a difference to Arkansas and Arkansans. He became convinced that Arkansas is a state for the 21st century.
He was an astute businessman with extensive holdings in timberland and forest products. Later in life he and his family made their mark in Napa Valley with their winery.
Jim exhibited a quiet sophistication. His love for his family was unmistakable, and he was also a devoted friend. He had a keen sense of humor, and his laughter made everyone happier. He seldom sought the limelight, but especially for those who knew him, his influence was everywhere.
Arkansas' greatest asset is its people. Arkansas was certainly greater for the life and devotion of Jim Dyke.