Argenta Downtown Council has unveiled a new public art installation commemorating the Trail of Tears. The glass and metal sculptures, created by artist Ed Pennebaker, Red Fern Glass, are located in front of the Argenta Branch of the North Little Rock Public Library System at 420 Main Street in North Little Rock.
Thanks to a grant from the Division of Arkansas Heritage, the art aims to increase public awareness about the Trail of Tears and pay homage to the role downtown North Little Rock played in this significant historical event. 200 years ago, the area now known as North Little Rock was Arkansas’ most active site during the Indian Removal, during which thousands of Native Americans from the Choctaw, Muscogee, Chickasaw and Cherokee tribes were forced to relocate 1,200 miles away from their homes so that white Americans could use their land.
When Ed posted individual photos of his work on Facebook on Dec. 13, he wrote, "Finally completed the sculpture project for Argenta Library in North Little Rock. Five columns of textured cast glass blocks were installed representing the Trail of Tears/Five Tribes. 1. Cherokee Creation Story, 2. Corn, 3. Tracks of wagons, people, and livestock, 4. Teardrops and Ripple patterns, 5. Prayer Feather, Turtle Shell, and Stickball. Signs give explanation and QR code for website with information about Trail of Tears history."
Ed Pennebaker says his work is inspired by the environment and Nature. The sculptures combine natural elements that are a testament to the resilience and strength of the Native Americans who endured the Trail of Tears.
Ed and his wife Carol Corning, who is also an artist working in collage and mixed media, are pictured at their home and studios in Clinton.
Totally worth watching, see the linked video on Facebook, --a video from the North Little Rock Libraries which includes a conversation with Ed, with close-ups of his installation, and delves into where he learned his craft, from western Kansas to Arkansas.
He's a graduate in Fine Arts of Emporia State University, Emporia, KS. He's currently the President of the Arkansas Craft Guild. (shown below - Ed in 1983, Minturn, Colorado at the “SummerVail” workshops.)
Sign up with the Beginning Glass Blowing Workshop sponsored by the Arkansas Craft School Mar. 9-10, 2024. Students will work with hot glass from the glass furnace to make solid glass forms the first day and blown glass forms the second day. It will be held at Ed's workshop in Clinton, space is limited. Visit the link for details.
Some of Ed's glassware can be purchased at the Arkansas Craft Gallery in Mountain View.
Other places to purchase Ed's work:
Arkansas Craft School - Mountain View
Osage Clayworks - Osage
Taylor Gallery - Springdale
Art on the Square, Bentonville
Eurekan Art Studio & Shop - Eureka Springs
Zarks - Eureka Springs
Craftsman House - St. Petersburg, FL
Witford Laguna - Laguna Niguel, CA
Witford SF - San Francisco, CA
Ed's work can be seen in few public places in Arkansas including Fairfield Bay, Compton Gardens in Bentonville, Laman Library in North Little Rock, UAMS and the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. Across the country and abroad, check out a long list on “the artist” page of redfernglass.com under the Public Commissions and Collections paragraph heading.
Visit his artist roster page here at the website to view chandeliers and other beautiful art pieces.