Editor's Note: At press time, the following events and meetings were known to be still scheduled. Organizers or appropriate officials are encouraged to contact Sandra Hope at firstname.lastname@example.org to make additions or changes.
UAPB graduation features Ben Crump
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff will host its 166th commencement ceremony on Dec. 9, at 10 a.m. at the Pine Bluff Convention Center and will livestream the ceremony via YouTube. (The processional begins at 9:45 a.m.) Renowned civil-rights and personal injury attorney Benjamin Crump will serve as commencement speaker. The doors will open at 7:30 a.m. and guests should allow extra time for entry. The doors will close once the processional begins and will not reopen until graduates are seated in the arena. Metal detectors will be located at the main entrance. All carried-in items will be searched by security personnel prior to entering the Convention Center, according to the news release.
UAM plans fall graduation
The University of Arkansas at Monticello will conduct its fall 2022 commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Friday at Herman C. Steelman Fieldhouse at Monticello, according to their website. The graduation is for UAM's Monticello, Crossett, and McGehee campuses. Scheduled speakers include UAM Chancellor Peggy Doss and C.C. "Cliff" Gibson III, chairman of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees. Special recognitions will include the presentation of the Chancellor's Legacy Award. A clear bag policy is in place for all guests, according to a news release. Details: https://www.uamont.edu/ or the Office of Academic Affairs at (870) 460-1033. Commencement will be streamed live on YouTube. The link will be accessible from the website.
Live@5 to feature Josh Park Band
The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas will host the Josh Park Band during its Live@5 concert series from 5-7 p.m. Dec. 9. "Listen to heavy electric blues and rock sounds that will bring explosive solos and rich tones to the Catherine M. Bellamy stage at 701 S. Main St.," according to the news release. Admission is $5 for ASC members and $10 for nonmembers. Guests must be 21 or older. Complimentary alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks and snacks will be provided. ASC's Live@5 concert series, sponsored by MK distributors, is home to live jazz, blues, and rock & roll at 5 p.m. is usually held the first Friday of each month.
ASC sets Jewelry Making: Wire-Wrapped Rings
The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas will hold a beginner-friendly Jewelry Making: Wire-Wrapped Rings workshop from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 at The ARTSpace on Main. Jeweler Mary Pat Tate will teach the craftsmanship of wire-wrapped rings. Students will learn two techniques: a basic wire-wrapped ring with a round bead and a wire-wrapped bezel ring using a coin bead. Students will make two rings to take home and gain the skills to make many more. Tate has fashioned jewelry for the past two decades and re-purposes found objects with precious metals to make one-of-a-kind pieces. The cost is $20 for ASC members and $25 for nonmembers. Must be 16 years or older. To register, visit asc701.org/events/2022/beginning-jewelry-wire-wrapped-rings or call (870) 536-3375. Details: Kourtlynn Pinkins at email@example.com.
Saturday, Dec. 10
Author to sign books
Local author Alice Horton will host a book signing and meet and greet session from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Library System's main library, 600 S. Main St. Horton's books include Grandma Got Stuck in the Bathtub, The Real Meaning of Christmas, and The Cat's in the Doghouse, according to a news release.
Blues band fundraiser set
Jason Lee Hale and the Personal Space Invaders won the right to advance to the 2023 International Blues Challenge to be held on Beale Street at Memphis. Port City Blues Society will host a fundraiser concert and send-off event featuring the band at 8 p.m. Dec. 10 to help cover expenses of the competition, according to a news release. The event will be held at RJ's Grill & Bar, 128 S. Main St. The doors will open at 7 p.m.
Kids Cookin' for a Cause set
The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas will present Kids Cookin' for a Cause with instructor Faith Anaya from 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 10 at The ARTSpace on Main. This event is free for ages 10 and older. To register, visit asc701.org/events/2022/kids-cookin-for-a-cause-december. "This community service program allows youth to practice their kitchen skills while cooking delicious pasta dinners for hungry Arkansans served by Potluck Food Rescue. The organization helps to provide meals to children's programs, women's emergency shelters, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and more," according to a news release.
Dollarway author, illustrator host event
The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas welcomes Dollarway High School students Savannah Lawson and Jasmine Stinnett for the Second Saturday Family FunDay: "Mello's Aquatic Life" Workshop Adventure, 1-3 p.m. Dec. 10. This event is free and open to all ages. This author-illustrator duo created the book "Mello's Aquatic Life," which guides readers through the character's Coral City life while counting its diverse inhabitants, according to a news release. Lawson will guide participants to draw Mello, and Stinnett will read "Mello's Aquatic Life." A book signing will follow with a limited number of copies of the book for visitors to take home free. More will be available for purchase.
Sunday, Dec. 11
Eighth Avenue sets Women's Day
Eighth Avenue Missionary Baptist Church, 1200 W. Eighth Ave., will present its annual Women's Day at 11 a.m. Sunday. The featured speaker will be Laverne Graham of Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church. The community is invited to attend. The pastor is Kirby L Gulley.
1st Ward pantry, Jones' set Christmas give away
First Ward Living Grace Pantry will host the Bill and Sharri Jones 2022 Christmas Toy and Food Drive Give Away from 3-5 p.m. Dec. 11 at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff football stadium parking lot. Organizers expect to provide for more than 500 families in the drive-through event. Vehicles may have a maximum of two families each. The giveaway is first come first served. Participants must not get out of their vehicles. Vehicles will enter University Drive and exit Oliver Road to L.A. "Prexy" Davis Drive. Supporters are Bill and Sharri Jones of Sissy's Log Cabin, Arkansas Food Bank, Tyson Foods, and others, according to a news release from Debra Allen, executive director of First Ward Living Grace pantry.
St. John AME observes 154th anniversary
St. John AME Church, 1117 W. Pullen St., will celebrate its 154th anniversary at 11 a.m. Dec. 11. The pastor, the Rev. Chestine Sims Jr., will deliver the worship message. The community is invited to attend the service in person or virtually via Zoom, with Meeting ID 380 457 5496 and Passcode: 1117; by audio-call in at 1-312-626-6799 (when prompted use: 3804575496# when prompted use 1117#); or by Facebook Live at https://www.facebook.com/St.JohnPineBluff/.
Enchanted Land of Lights open
The Enchanted Land of Lights and Legends drive-thru holiday lights display is now open from 6-9 p.m. daily through New Year's Eve at Regional Park. Electrical issues caused a delay in turning on the exhibit. More than 150 lighted displays are on the trail and include a gigantic Christmas tree, a magical castle, Santa in a fishing boat, a twinkling pig, glowing seahorses and more. Many of the displays like snowflake arches and a happy green dragon are animated. Local businesses and individuals sponsor the displays.
Area Agency sets blanket drive
The Area Agency on Aging of Southeast is hosting the Warmth Blanket Drive now through Jan. 3 in Jefferson County. The drive began Dec. 5, according to a news release. The purpose of the event is donate blankets to individuals who are elderly or disabled to keep warm this winter. For details or make donations, contact Carolyn Ferguson, (870) 543-6309 or Pauline Jones (870) 543-6313, at Area Agency.
Monday, Dec. 12
Watson Chapel School Board to meet
Watson Chapel School Board will meet at 6 p.m. Monday at the district office, 4100 Camden Road. The agenda includes the superintendent's report, financial report, and an update on construction plans for the new high school. Also, the Coleman Choir will sing, according to a news release. Details: (870) 879-0220.
A&P finance panel to meet
The Pine Bluff Advertising and Promotion Commission Finance Committee will meet at noon Dec. 12 in the offices of the A&P Commission, 623 S. Main St. Participants are asked to let the staff know if they plan to attend, according to a news release. Details: Betty Brown, A&P administrative assistant, (870) 534-2121.
Angel Tree deadline set
The Salvation Army Angel Tree Program at Pine Bluff is underway until Dec. 12 to help children in need. There are names to be adopted and drop-off Angel Tree locations at the Donald W. Reynolds Community Services Center, 211 W. Third Ave.; Simmons Bank, 501 S. Main St.; Hibbett Sports, 1650 E. Harding Ave.; and Walmart Supercenter, 5501 S. Olive St., which is offering in-store and online options. Just select a name from the tree, buy the gift and drop it into the Salvation Army's Angel Tree box, which is usually located near the store's exit. Details: TheSalvationArmyofPineBluff/ on Facebook.
Tuesday, Dec. 13
A&P meeting set
The Pine Bluff Advertising and Promotion Commission will meet at 4 p.m. Dec. 13 in the the A&P Commission office, 623 S. Main St, at the ARTSpace. Participants are asked to let the staff know if they plan to attend, according to a news release. Details: Betty Brown, A&P administrative assistant, (870) 534-2121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chamber slates Lunch & Learn
A Lunch & Learn session will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Donald W. Reynolds Community Services Center, 211 W. Third Ave. The session will be in rooms A&B, according to the Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce newsletter. The guest speaker will be Stephanie Ezell, donor recruitment director for the Arkansas Blood Institute. Lunch is $10 and it's sponsored by the institute. Reservations are required at email@example.com or (870) 535-0110.
Stone Bank sets holiday open house
Stone Bank, 7739 Sheridan Road, will host a holiday open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 13. Refreshments will be served and the public is invited to attend the event. The bank will also make a holiday contribution to the EAST Lab at White Hall Middle School, according to a news release.
TOPPS to hand out food
TOPPS, 1000 Townsend Drive, will conduct its monthly food distribution at 10 a.m. Dec. 13. An application form must be completed on the day of the distribution, according to a news release. One application per household will be provided. Clients must have ID with proof of residence and the address must match the ID. Participants must be present to receive a food box and there are no exceptions. TOPPS is a non-profit, community based organization. Details: TOPPS, (870) 850-6011.
Beginning Tuesday, Dec. 13
Pine Bluff Community Band hosts concerts
The Pine Bluff Community Band announced its upcoming concerts. Performances include: their major Christmas concert on Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. at the First Baptist Church at White Hall, 8708 Dollarway Road; and a performance Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. at The Villages of General Baptist East, 6811 S. Hazel St. Concerts are free and open to the general public.
Wednesday, Dec. 14
Pine Bluff Commercial sets church news deadline
Church news is printed in The Commercial on Friday. The deadline to submit church announcements is noon Wednesday. Pastors, ministers or others interested in writing for the Devotional Page may also submit columns for consideration. Column writers should have connections to Southeast Arkansas. Articles should be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Details: (870) 534-3400, ext. 5.
Thursday, Dec. 15
The Links set entrepreneur session
The Pine Bluff Chapter of The Links Inc. will host Enlarging Your Empire: Entrepreneurial 101 via Zoom at 7 p.m. Dec. 15. The community is invited to attend this fourth part of the 2022-2023 virtual series, Preparing our Community for Success, sponsored by The Links. The presenters are Codney Washington, Jeffrey Pulliam, and Kevin Williams. The Zoom link is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81687358782?pwd=dnpZcGFYbFl6TFZKNThXSTJLMThOQT09 with Meeting ID: 816 8735 8782 and Passcode: 257663. For dial in, use 646-558-8656.
Parole Board meeting set
The Arkansas Parole Board will hold its monthly board meeting at 9 a.m. Dec. 15 in the Richard Lee Richardson Auditorium of the board office at North Little Rock, according to a news release. The full calendar of hearings and meetings slated for and by the parole board can be found on the website at https://doc.arkansas.gov/parole-board/ under Meeting Information and Hearings & Board Schedule. Details: (501) 682-3850.
Friday, Dec. 16
UAPB sets groundbreaking
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff will conduct a ground-breaking ceremony for the UAPB Student Engagement Center at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 16. The event will be held at the STEM Conference Center, 1530 L.A. Prexy Davis Drive, according to a news release. The community is invited to view the ceremony which will be live-streamed at https://www.youtube.com/uapbtelevision. Details: email@example.com or (870) 575-8701.
SEARK plans graduation
Southeast Arkansas College will host its fall 2022 in-person commencement at 7 p.m. Dec. 16 at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. Details: https://www.seark.edu/.
Chamber sets deadline on junior leaders
The Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce is seeking applicants for its Junior Leadership Pine Bluff program. Leadership Pine Bluff is geared toward high school juniors looking to gain leadership skills, network with other like-minded students, and those wanting to build their resumes for college applications, according to the Chamber newsletter. Applications are due by Dec. 16. Details: Jamal Gordon, member engagement manager, firstname.lastname@example.org or Chamber Director Jennifer Kline, email@example.com or (870) 535-0110.
Saturday, Dec. 17
Summit Soundz to perform
Summit Baptist Church, 901 Ridgway Road, will host the Christmas Spectacular Concert presented by the Summit Soundz Celebration Band at 6 p.m. Dec. 17. The program will feature many Christmas favorites including songs from the movie: "Polar Express." A mash-up medley of 30 familiar tunes entitled: "Christmas In A Nutshell" will be presented using themes from the Nutcracker Suite. The concert is free and open to the public, according to a news release.
St. John AME to give away food
St. John AME Church, 1117 W. Pullen St., will give away food boxes to those in need Dec. 17 from 9 a.m. until all food has been given out. State ID's are required to receive one box per family. Food will be picked up in front of the church on Cherry Street. For safety reasons, recipients are asked to stay in their vehicles and open their trunks, according to a news release.
Delta Network to give away food
The Delta Network Food Bank of Pine Bluff will give away food from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 17 at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. The annual Drive-Thru Hunger Relief Distribution will feature a truckload of chicken donated by Tyson Foods to help families in economic distress, according to a news release. Participants should remain in their vehicles at all times. Vehicles will line up down Eighth Avenue and drive through the North access to the Convention Center, receive the food available for each registered household, and follow the instructions of the traffic directors. Registration forms will be available on site. Details: (870) 536-2424.
ASC announces Miracle on Main
The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas will present "Miracle on Main: A Holiday Special" at 7 p.m. Dec. 17. Tickets can be purchased at asc701.org/2022-season or by calling (870) 536-3375. Tickets are $20 each. Children 3 and younger can sit on the lap of their parents/guardians for free entry. "Remember those television Holiday specials: the singing, the dancing, and those family-friendly comedy skits? Get ready to celebrate 'the most wonderful time of the year' during ASC's holiday variety show featuring talent from Southeast Arkansas. Join the laughter, the fun and many holiday favorites. Santa himself may stop by for a visit," according to the news release.
Yoga in The Loft set at ASC
Ages 13 and older are invited to exercise and relax with certified yoga instructor Florence Love, aka FloEssence, every third Saturday of the month from 1:30-3 p.m. during Yoga in the Loft. The next session is Dec. 17. The cost is pay-what-you-can ($15 recommended). This program takes place in the Loft Gallery at the ARTSpace on Main, a program of the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas. Advanced registration is required at asc701.org/yoga or by calling (870) 536-3375. Participants may use provided yoga mats or bring their own. People should also wear yoga-appropriate attire. The event is sponsored by Angela J. White Smith, Realtor. Details: Kourtlynn Pinkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Police toy drive event set
The Pine Bluff Police Officers' 4th annual Toy Drive event will be held Dec. 17. The Toy Drive Committee is asking for the community's support in helping the officers provide new toys. They will also accept monetary donations to purchase toys, according to the City of Pine Bluff Facebook post. Donations can be made to: Pine Bluff Police Officers Toy Drive, 200 E. Eighth Ave., Pine Bluff, AR, 71601. For more details or for donations to be picked up, call (870) 413-6756 or (870) 489-6006.
Sunday, Dec. 18
Southeast Arkansas Male Chorus sets concert
New Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church, 1026 Missouri St., will host the Southeast Arkansas Male Chorus in their 23rd annual concert, "Magnifying The Lord Through Praise," at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 18. The concert is free, but a love offering will be accepted. The chorus is comprised of Christian men throughout southeastern Arkansas. The worship leader is the Rev. Christopher Briggs, pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. The Rev. R.D. Howard Sr. is the pastor of New Morning Star.
New Community hosts Kingdom Building
New Community Church, 321 N. Birch St., will host its Kingdom Building program at 6 p.m. Dec. 18. The speaker will be Sam Gibson, a New Community deacon. The apostle/pastor is Patrick Lockett.
Through Monday, Dec. 19
DRA seeks applicants for medical missions
The Delta Regional Authority released a Request for Proposals seeking an organization within the DRA region to partner with local community agencies and the U.S. Department of Defense to deliver two Innovative Readiness Training Medical Missions in summer 2023. The deadline for submitting a proposal is 5 p.m. Dec. 19, according to a news release. Details on Innovative Readiness Trainings is available at youtu.be/qwvvVwuQJgY and irt.defense.gov/Community/. Details on submission requirements and scope of work is available at dra.gov/rfp.
Wednesday, Dec. 21
Housing board to meet
The Pine Bluff Housing Authority will hold its board of commissioners meeting at 6 p.m. Dec. 21 at Colonial Steakhouse, 111 W. Eighth Ave. Details: (870) 541-0706.
Through Saturday, Dec. 31
Road improvements closes lanes
Alternating lane closures began recently on Highway 79 between Saline County and Rison for one mile across the Saline River Bridge. Due to the lane closures, the maximum load width on the bridge is eight feet, according to a news release from the Arkansas Department of Transportation. These closures will continue daily until the end of December, weather permitting, and will allow crews to conduct hydro demolition of the current bridge deck, followed by a latex-modified concrete overlay. ARDOT reminds drivers to slow down and be cautious of people in work zones.
Monday, Jan. 2, 2023
NAACP sets Emancipation observance
The Pine Bluff Branch of the NAACP will hold its annual Emancipation Proclamation Program at 10 a.m. Jan. 2 at Eighth Avenue Missionary Baptist Church, 1200 W. Eighth Ave. Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley M. Washington will be the featured speaker. The theme is "This is Power." Music will be furnished by Eighth Avenue's Praise Team, according to Stuff in The Bluff.com. Wanda V. Neal is president of the local NAACP. The Rev. Kirby L. Gulley is the pastor of Eighth Avenue.
NAACP recruits for academic contest
The Pine Bluff Branch NAACP is recruiting youth for its 2022-23 Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO.) Contestants will compete for scholarships and monetary prizes, according to a news release. Students at Pine Bluff, Watson Chapel, Dollarway, and White Hall high schools are eligible to participate. Parents and teachers are urged to register their students as soon as possible to take advantage of scholarship opportunities offered by the National NAACP in essay writing, art, and engineering. Registration ends in December. To get an ACT-SO registration packet, to volunteer, or for more information, contact Maryann Lee at (870) 718-5330.
Beginning Saturday, Jan. 7
Blues concerts on tap for downtown
The Port City Blues Society will host "Blues By Budweiser," live blues concerts on the first Saturday of each month through February 2023 at RJ's Sports Grill & Bar, 128 S. Main St. The doors open at 7 p.m. and music begins at 8 p.m. Port City Blues Society members are admitted for free. There's a $5 cover charge for nonmembers, according to a news release. Performers include Jan. 7, 2023 -- Sean Bad Apple; and Feb. 4, 2023 -- Arkaholics. Details: portcitybluessociety.com or facebook.com/PCBluesSociety.
Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023
Berry reception, Gillett Coon Supper set
The 11th annual "Berry Pre-Coon Supper Reception" will be held at 3:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at the Berry Farm Shop at Gillett. The 79th Gillett Coon Supper will follow at the Gillett School Gymnasium at 6:30 p.m., according to a news release. Tickets to the Coon Supper may be purchased by contacting Larry Bauer at (870) 830-4002. Tickets for the reception are $40 each. All tickets will be available for purchase at the door. For reception sponsorship details, contact Becky Barnes Campbell at (501) 912-7560 or Gabe Holmstrom at (479) 409-3329.
Through Friday, Jan. 20
Downtown project seeks chefs, entrepreneurs
Go Forward Pine Bluff is seeking food trucks, chefs, entrepreneurs and start-ups for business opportunities supported by the Sixth & Main project. GFPB is transforming the Sixth and Main Street Plaza into a fully functioning space that will feature four restaurants, a roof top bar and several retail areas in Downtown Pine Bluff, according to a news release. The plaza will also feature an outdoor amphitheater, outdoor dining, a rainwater garden, and a fountain bridge. All interested vendors are encouraged to contact The Generator at (870) 663-0200. Space is limited. The deadline to apply is Jan. 20, 2023.
Through Saturday, Feb. 4
Midst: Artwork by Nick Hobbs set
The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas is hosting the exhibit "Midst: Artwork by Nick Hobbs" through Feb. 4, 2023. "Hobbs' current practice is defined by small, highly detailed graphite drawings that interweave the everyday and the sublime in curated juxtapositions. He has been involved with amateur astronomy for over a decade, and it influences everything he does," according to a news release. Details: nickhobbs.art.
Through Friday, Feb. 24
Taylor exhibit addresses racism, prophecy
An exhibition at the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas showcases the work of noted Memphis-based artist Madai Taylor. "An Elegy to America in Black and White II: The Artwork of Madai Taylor" features 18 pieces. Taylor's exhibition addresses racism, and prophecy. The exhibition will be on view in the William H. Kennedy Jr. Gallery through Feb. 24.
Saturday, March 11
SEARK announces gala
Southeast Arkansas College will host the Sock Hop fundraising gala March 11 at Seabrook, 6808 S. Hazel St., a SEARK college and community recreation center. The VIP reception is from 6-7 p.m. and the gala from 7-11 p.m., according to the newsletter of the Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Through Monday, May 15
SBA disaster loans available
Small nonfarm businesses in 75 Arkansas counties are now eligible to apply for low‑interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The deadline to apply is May 15, 2023, according to a news release. These loans offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by excessive heat and drought that began on May 30. Details: https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/. Applicants may also call SBA's Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email email@example.com.
Covid-19 vaccines, testing available
The Arkansas Department of Health, various pharmacies and healthcare providers offer the covid-19 vaccine, tests and other information about coronavirus. Details: Call the Arkansas Department of Health at (800) 985-6030, visit the website at healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/covid-19-vaccination-plan or contact area medical professionals, according to spokesmen.
Unity Christian offers free financial classes
Unity Christian Fellowship Church (UCFC), 2712 S. Bay St., invites the community to its free Small Business and Personal Financial Education classes at 7 p.m. Tuesdays. Recent subjects included "The Importance of Having a Financial Plan" and "Financial Literacy," according to Stuff in the Bluff website. "You cannot afford to miss out on these life-changing classes. We are practicing social distancing and will have hand sanitizer wipes available," according to the site. Anthony Armstrong is the senior pastor. Details: firstname.lastname@example.org or (870) 329-1182.