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ASC’s Live@5 gets crowd rocking

by Richard Ledbetter Special to The Commercial | May 14, 2022 at 2:54 a.m.
Little Rock keyboard player and singer Tim Anthony entertained a crowd of about 50 patrons with a variety of tunes during Live@5 at the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas. (Special to The Commercial/Richard Ledbetter)

The Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas reconvened its Live@5 concert on the back patio of the ART Space on Main, 623 S. Main St.

Entertainers for the recent spring outing were Tim Anthony on keyboards and vocals, accompanied by Gregory Shawn Nelson on drums, Alvis Diiab on percussion and Steve Barns sitting in on bass for a few numbers.

Diiab is a familiar face to record lovers around his hometown of Little Rock, where he worked for years with Anthony's father, who owned and operated Soul Brothers Record Shop.

"We're calling this the 'friends and family' tour," Anthony said with a smile while welcoming the crowd. "It's always good when we can bring friends along on our musical journey."

"Tonight, it's all about having fun. There is so much going on in the world these days that sometimes we just need to toss all that aside, bend a few rules and just have a good time," he said.

Anthony complimented the host city of the concert.

"There is just something about this town being the gateway to the Delta region. Every time I come from Little Rock to Pine Bluff I'm immersed in all the history and traditions of the region that goes back to the very roots of so many musical genres. It's always an exciting adventure for me," Anthony said.

Anthony's vocals range from cool and clear to raspy and soulful, lending his versatility and unique flavor to such numbers as "My Girl," "Easy Like Sunday Morning" and a handful of Bob Marley covers.

Only a few numbers in, Anthony's flawless keyboard playing and positive personality, backed by the solid sounds of his tight-knit musicians had ASC patrons clapping their hands and up on their feet dancing around the outdoor art space.

Meanwhile, the musicians performing on the patio continued to deliver nonstop high-energy entertainment with complimentary snacks and refreshments provided by MK Distributors.

"We are all together here hanging out, enjoying this beautiful night," Anthony told the approximately 50 patrons at the venue. "Something I forgot to mention, if you want to sing along, we won't get mad and if there's something we haven't played you'd like to hear, just call it out."

The band played until 7 p.m., to the delight of everyone present.

While R&B, soul and rock music reverberated through the halls and across the outdoor lawn, guest artist in residence Aida Ayers conducted mini-tours of her tapestry work on display in the upstairs Loft Gallery.

As she guided individuals around the walls covered with her needlework, Ayers shared tidbits of her life story and inspirations leading to the colorful creations.

"These pieces are primarily portraits to pay homage to different women who have inspired me on my journey through life," Ayers said.

She shared how she got started with her unique medium of artistic expression.

"My grandma on my mother's side was from Mexico, so she taught me traditional Hispanic hand stitching beginning when I was age six. Later in school, I got introduced to the sewing machine in home economics classes. Much of the fabric you see in this art I either dyed or made myself. Other pieces are cloth I brought back from my time living on Zanzibar Island in Africa or from when I lived in India. Every piece on display here is hand stitched and has its own origin story," Ayers said.

Ayers lived in Zanzibar for 20 years, as well as spending considerable time in India teaching art and empowerment classes to local women she became close to through shared experiences. These same women are present in several of her tapestry portraits currently on display with ASC.

"Somehow it seems, my students have always been drawn to me because I had something to offer they were in need of," she said.

Ayers grew up in Albuquerque, N.M. She now resides in El Paso, Texas, where she has lived for the past four years.

During her sojourn in Pine Bluff, she also worked with fellow artists Elly Bates and Brie Boyce instructing art students from several local schools to compile photos of important local folks and convert those into a group of collage quilts now on display in the loft. The quilts and tapestries will remain on view through July 1.

  photo  Approximately 50 patrons turned out to support the Live@5 concert, a program of the Arts and Science Center of Southeast Arkansas. (Special to The Commercial/Richard Ledbetter)
  photo  Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas' guest artist Aida Ayers shared the story of two African women she became close friends with during her 20-year residency on Zanzibar Island. (Special to The Commercial/Richard Ledbetter)
  photo  Under direction of guest artists Aida Ayers, Elly Bates, and Brie Boyce, local art students compiled photos of important Pine Bluff figures for collage quilts at the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas. The quilts are on display through July 1. (Special to The Commercial/Richard Ledbetter)

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