Arkansas - Culture

Culture

The culture of Arkansas is available to all in various forms, whether it be architecture, literature, or fine and performing arts. The state's culture also includes distinct cuisine, dialect, and traditional festivals. Sports are also very important to the culture of Arkansas, ranging from football, baseball, and basketball to hunting and fishing. Perhaps the best-known piece of Arkansas's culture is the stereotype of its citizens as shiftless hillbillies. The reputation began when the state was characterized by early explorers as a savage wilderness full of outlaws and thieves. The most enduring icon of Arkansas's hillbilly reputation is the The Arkansas Traveller, a painted depiction of a folk tale from the 1840s. Although intended to represent the divide between rich southeastern plantation Arkansas planters and the poor northwestern hill country, the meaning was twisted to represent a Northerner lost in the Ozarks on a white horse asking a backwoods Arkansan for directions. The state also suffers from the racial stigma common to former Confederate states, with historical events such as the Little Rock Nine adding to Arkansas's enduring image.

Art and history museums display pieces of cultural value for Arkansans and tourists to enjoy. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville is the most popular with 604,000 visitors in 2012, its first year. The museum includes walking trails and educational opportunities in addition to displaying over 450 works covering five centuries of American art. Several historic town sites have been restored as Arkansas state parks, including Historic Washington State Park, Powhatan Historic State Park, and Davidsonville Historic State Park.

Arkansas features a variety of native music across the state, ranging from the blues heritage of West Memphis and Helena-West Helena to rockabilly, bluegrass, and folk music from the Ozarks. Festivals such as the King Biscuit Blues Festival and Bikes, Blues, and BBQ pay homage to the history of blues in the state. The Ozark Folk Festival in Mountain View is a celebration of Ozark culture and often features folk and bluegrass musicians. Literature set in Arkansas such as I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Mya Angelou and A Painted House by John Grisham describe the culture at various time periods.

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Famous quotes containing the word culture:

    Here is this vast, savage, howling mother of ours, Nature, lying all around, with such beauty, and such affection for her children, as the leopard; and yet we are so early weaned from her breast to society, to that culture which is exclusively an interaction of man on man,—a sort of breeding in and in, which produces at most a merely English nobility, a civilization destined to have a speedy limit.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    A culture may be conceived as a network of beliefs and purposes in which any string in the net pulls and is pulled by the others, thus perpetually changing the configuration of the whole. If the cultural element called morals takes on a new shape, we must ask what other strings have pulled it out of line. It cannot be one solitary string, nor even the strings nearby, for the network is three-dimensional at least.
    Jacques Barzun (b. 1907)

    The fact remains that the human being in early childhood learns to consider one or the other aspect of bodily function as evil, shameful, or unsafe. There is not a culture which does not use a combination of these devils to develop, by way of counterpoint, its own style of faith, pride, certainty, and initiative.
    Erik H. Erikson (1904–1994)