LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Arts Council will recognize Jerry Fisk, a well-known Nashville bladesmith, with an Honorary Arkansas Living Treasure award during a reception 5-7 p.m. Thursday, May 23, at the Historic Arkansas Museum.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to recognize Jerry Fisk, who is a master bladesmith and who has helped keep Arkansas’s traditions alive,” said Stacy Hurst, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. “Mr. Fisk, for example, helped pioneer the Arkansas Living Treasure program we have today.”
The Arkansas Living Treasure program annually recognizes an Arkansas artist who excels in the creation of a traditional craft and who preserves and advances his or her craft through community outreach and by teaching others.
The honorary award is a first for the Arts Council. Ricardo Vilar, a fellow bladesmith originally from Brazil but not living in Nashville, will speak during the reception. Arkansas Arts Council Director Patrick Ralston will present the award.
“The Arkansas Arts Council and its Arts Advisory Council wanted to recognize Mr. Fisk’s continuing influence on its programs that grow and preserve Arkansas’s traditional crafts,” Ralston said. “He has also worked with us to highlight artists of many other traditional disciplines. He is the very definition of an Arkansas Living Treasure.”
Fisk, formerly of Lockesburg, was named National Living Treasure in 1999. He then helped start the Arkansas Living Treasure program in 2002 by working with the Department of Arkansas Heritage and the Arkansas Arts Council.
Outside of his public service, Fisk is a nationally and internationally recognized bladesmith. He creates various styles of knives, including the Bowie Knife – a fighting knife first made in Arkansas.
Fisk’s knives are in permanent museum collections, including the New York State Museum and the Historic Arkansas Museum, where Fisk is an adviser. He also holds workshops on traditional knife-making techniques at various locations.
The reception is free but reservations must be made by May 8. Tickets are available at arkansasarts.org or by contacting Robin McClea at 501-324-9348 or firstname.lastname@example.org.