The Clinton Presidential Center’s Fusion: Arts and Humanities Arkansas program enriches the teaching of our heritage, culture, and human achievement by weaving the arts and humanities together to provide a unique interactive experience. To achieve these objectives, the Fusion program incorporates live performances and demonstrations mixed with factual presentations and discussions among scholars and experts into a public symposium and a multi-day educator institute accompanied by a temporary exhibit at the Clinton Center.
The Mighty Mississippi: Heart and Soul of the Southern Delta
Due to its expansive historical and cultural significance, The Mighty Mississippi will be Fusion’s theme for two years. Fusion 2020, titled The Mighty Mississippi: HeART and Soul of the Southern Delta, will focus on the rich cultural heritage emanating from the privilege and poverty of the Lower Mississippi River Delta Region. Discussion topics during the institute include Contrast of Prestige and Poverty: Agricultural Society of Post-War Delta; The Evolution of Southern Delta Economy; a keynote on Cultural Identity of the Southern Delta, by Grammy Award winner and nationally acclaimed scholar Dr. William Ferris; and more. As in previous years, the program will include engaging breakout sessions designed to encourage creative ways to incorporate the history and culture of the Southern Delta into classroom activities.
The Fusion 2020 Educator Institute was canceled due to COVID-19. Click here for information about how the Clinton Center is responding to COVID-19.
Fusion 2020 was made possible because of the generous support of Centennial Bank, Little Rock Port Authority, Pine Bluff Advertising and Promotion Commission, Union Pacific Foundation, and the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma.
The Mighty Mississippi: A Mosaic of America’s Growth
Fusion 2019 explored the impact of the Mississippi River on commerce, agriculture, environment, and culture. The public symposium included an original score, “Jazz Journey up the Mighty Mississippi,” performed by the Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra Jazz Ensemble; a lecture by Dr. Tom Rankin, nationally acclaimed photographer, filmmaker, and folklorist; a performance of “Literature Inspired by the Mighty Mississippi” by the North Little Rock High School Theater Department; a performance by Grammy-award winner and 2018 Grammy nominee David Evans; and remarks by Dr. Rolando Herts, director of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning and the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area. Click here to watch the full video from the Fusion 2019 public program.
The educator institute included presentations from subject-matter experts, live performances, panel discussions, and a viewing of the documentary, A River Runs Through It.
The accompanying temporary exhibit included first editions of Mark Twain’s novels; original Normal Rockwell lithographs; a scale model of the Sultana side-wheel steamboat, which burned and sank on the Mississippi claiming the lives of 1,800 people; the Epiphone guitar and playing knife of Helena native and famed blues guitar player Cedell Davis, and more.
Fusion 2019 was made possible through the generous support of the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma, Centennial Bank, and the Little Rock Port Authority.
FUSION 2019 Photos and Video Resources
The Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra Jazz Ensemble performed an original score, “Jazz Journey up the Mighty Mississippi,” during the public program. Click the image to watch the full video from the Fusion 2019 public program.
John Ruskey demonstrated canoe carving techniques during the Fusion 2019 educator institute. Click the image to watch the video of the Educator Institute Breakout Session Discussion with John Ruskey and Dr. Stephen O’Connell.
Dr. Tom Rankin, nationally acclaimed photographer, filmmaker, and folklorist, opened the program with a presentation called “The Lawless Stream: The Mississippi River.” Click the image to watch the video of Dr. Rankin’s presentation.
Dr. Rolando Herts, director of the Delta Center for Culture and Learning and the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area, spoke about the economic influence of the Mississippi River today. Click the image to go to the Fusion Playlist, which includes Fusion 2019 video resources.
Grammy-award winner and 2018 Grammy nominee David Evans performed Delta Blues selections during both the Fusion 2019 educator institute and the public symposium. Click the image to watch the video of Dr. Evans’ performance and remarks during the Fusion Educator Institute.
North Little Rock High School student Taylor Stewart performed “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” by Langston Hughes
Fusion 2019 Educator Resource Guide
Download a PDF of the 2019 Fusion Educator Resource Guide that includes a timeline and information that could be helpful when teaching the history of the Mississippi River in your classroom.
The Great Expedition: Exploring the Louisiana Purchase and Its Impact on Arkansas
Fusion: Arts + Humanities Arkansas 2018 explored the Louisiana Purchase and its impact on Arkansas. The symposium and the educator institute featured discussions with expert historians and authors on the subject, musical performances by Grammy-nominated fiddler David Greeley, and living history demonstrations by period reenactors.
FUSION 2018 Photos and Video Resources
Members of the Early Arkansas Reenactors Association engaging with Fusion 2018 participants. Click the image to watch Dr. Kathleen DuVal’s Fusion 2018 keynote discussion about the Geopolitical and Cultural Setting during the negotiation of the Louisiana Purchase.
Educators learning about mapping skills in a Fusion 2018 breakout session.
The Fusion 2018 exhibit, The Great Expedition: Exploring the Louisiana Purchase and Its Impact on Arkansas, featured three original Louisiana Purchase Treaty documents.
Dr. Brian Keith Mitchell from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock discusses the impact of the Louisana Purchase.
Educators enjoyed a musical performance and discussion by David Greely, Grammy-nominated fiddler and music educator. Click the image to watch the video.
Congressman French Hill spoke to educators during Fusion 2018. Click the image to watch the video.
Fusion 2018 Educator Resource Guide
Download a PDF of the 2018 Fusion Educator Resource Guide that includes a timeline and information that could be helpful when teaching the history of the Louisiana Purchase in your classroom.
The Quapaw Tribe in Arkansas
The inaugural Fusion: Arts + Humanities Arkansas program, held in 2017, focused on the Quapaw Tribe – Arkansas’s namesake. The program featured symposia, professional development workshops, performances, and demonstrations to bring new perspectives and insight into Native American history and culture.
FUSION 2017 Video Resources
Fusion Educator Curriculum Guide
Download a PDF version of the Fusion Educator Curriculum Guide that notes the Arkansas Department of Education Standards that align with the information presented during the 2017 Fusion event. You will also find recommended Primary Source Documents to help in your lesson planning.
Fusion Educator 2017 Resource Guide
Download a PDF of the Fusion Educator Resource Guide that includes a timeline and information that could be helpful when teaching the history of the Quapaw Tribe in your classroom.
Fusion Recipe Guide
Download a PDF of the Recipe Card for Traditional Quapaw Pecan Butter, which was demonstrated during the 2017 Fusion event.
FUSION: Arts + Humanities Arkansas
In addition to the Fusion professional development workshop, a temporary exhibit featuring Quapaw artifacts and history was on display at the Clinton Center for a month following the program.
I have been wanting to learn more about the Quapaw tribe, as well as Osage and Caddo for years. This opportunity fit the need perfectly, not to mention provided so much more current info that I had not known. I so appreciate the opportunity and my students and I will both benefit from Fusion!FUSION PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOP ATTENDEE