Art Of PRI

long chandelier


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The Psychiatric Research Institute is six stories tall, with roughly 110,000 square feet of space. The building has received awards from the Arkansas chapter of the American Institute of Architects and the Brick Industry Association. Aside from the building’s unique and comforting appeal, the art housed within it holds both historical and therapeutic value.

First-time visitors to PRI are always drawn to the large multi-colored, vibrant chandeliers located in the grand stairwell and adjacent to the Walker Family Clinic on the second floor. They, along with the numerous colorful chargers displayed on the walls throughout the building, were created by Pine Bluff artist James Hayes, whose work in glass has brought him international recognition.


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The oil on canvas painting located on the second floor was painted by Rebecca Thompson, an Arkansas native who studied art at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Entitled “Communion,” the painting originated as a sketch Thompson made of two women having a picnic at Buffalo National River in Harrison, Ark. The painting is part of a series Thompson produced called “Working It Out” and was donated to PRI by James T. Dyke, whose support of PRI led to the creation of the Brain Imaging Research Center. Her creations can be found in galleries in Arkansas and Maine and in many private and public collections.


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The first-floor lobby is home to three works by George Dombek, who has taught architecture and art at universities in Arkansas, Ohio, Florida, Saudi Arabia and Italy. His work has been included in over 800 museum, corporate, and private collections and exhibited in more than 150 shows. A native of Paris, Ark., Dombek painted the watercolor portraits, “Red Flower,” “Yellow Flower” and “Blue Flower,” for the family of Winston Treadway, who donated the paintings to PRI in his memory.


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The watercolor portrait of the PRI lobby hanging in the Walker Family Clinic was painted by Vicki Kovaleski, who also studied at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Kovaleski was commissioned by PRI to paint a portrait honoring both the facility and its director, G. Richard Smith, M.D. Her goal for the painting was to embody the architectural elements of the building and the compassion Smith and the staff showed the people they served. Three of her paintings are currently on display at UAMS’ Winthrop Rockefeller Cancer Institute.

An oil painting by Little Rock artist Matt McLeod commemorating the opening of PRI on Dec. 2, 2008, hangs in the first floor of the facility. The energetic work recreates the day’s festivities and was painted by McLeod in part during the opening. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, McLeod has a second painting, “Nurturing Growth,” hanging in the lobby of PRI. The oil-on-canvas work was donated to PRI by his parents, George and Carolyn McLeod


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The Child Diagnostic Unit, located on the fifth floor of PRI, is home to several paintings done by students of Cooper Elementary School in Bella Vista, Ark. The terra cotta-and-paint underwater scenes that hang in the unit’s hallway, created by the students’ teacher, Tessa Foster, are hung at eye level for the young patients and were made to be viewed as well as touched.

The two steel statues in the Donna and Senator Percy Malone Healing Garden were designed by Terra Sculpture of Los Angeles. The statues, “Snap” and “Tempest,” were donated by Vic Jacuzzi in honor of his late daughter, Stacey Jacuzzi Antes.


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Little Rock artist Jane Hankins, known for her whimsical ceramic figures, painted the five fantasy-oriented portraits on display in the Child Study Center. Each painting features a young girl making her way through what Hankins calls “a mystical journey.” The paintings were donated by Patti Bailey in honor of PRI’s Betty Everett, Ph.D., and the young patients of the Child Study Center.

Matt McLeod

Matt McLeod’s “Nurturing Growth”

Vic Jacuzzi with “Tempest” (left) and “Snap” (right)