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Arkansas unemployment rising, the Momentary receives updated look


Increased unemployment in Arkansas

Unemployment in Arkansas went up slightly in October. The state unemployment rate rose 2/10 of a percentage. This is similar to the joblessness rate in the United States, which went up 1/10 of a percentage point in October. The labor force in Arkansas went up by 803 jobs. According to the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services, this is higher than usual. Jobs increased in the sectors of transportation, government, construction, education and health.

Boys and Girls Club of Benton County receives
climbing wall and bikes

Last Friday, the Boys and Girls Club of Benton County unveiled a new rock climbing wall in their gymnasium. The wall was made possible by the 1Climb foundation. Professional rock climber Kevin Jorgeson founded the organization to introduce 100,000 kids to rock climbing. Jorgeson was in Bella Vista last week to celebrate the opening of the new wall and says he’s dedicated to 1Climb’s mission because rock climbing was such a positive influence on his own young life.

“If it's anxiety you need to overcome, climbing gives you an opportunity to overcome it,” Jorgeson said. “Like whatever is going on in your life, climbing is this amazing mirror because it's just you on the wall, you and gravity. There's no ball, there's no score board, there's no opponent. There's no team. It's a very personal thing where success is self defined. And it's really unique in that way. So that's what's beautiful about it's just like the simple act of getting kids on the wall is transformative, like let alone all the stuff you can do after with specific programs and curriculum and all this stuff. And it's like that's all icing on the cake. Simply getting kids on the wall is transformative in its own way.”

Local nonprofit Pedal It Forward was also at the event and donated more than a dozen mountain bikes to the Boys and Girls Club for use on nearby trails. Club CEO Matt Taliaferro says the new climbing wall and bikes present an opportunity for recreation that kids in a rural area like Benton County might have never had the chance to experience.

“These kids are under a lot of pressure these days,” Taliaferro said. “I mean everything from school to social media to what have you. And mental health is a big issue with our kids right now and kids. their self esteem has as you know ever since COVID has really begun to go down when a kid gets on a climbing wall. And then they make it to the top. Their competence goes through the roof. There you can see the smile on their face and they begin to believe in themselves again, and not only there it improves their competence, but it introduces them to a new skill. I mean, they're like then they begin to think well now what else is possible? What else can I do? And so this is just one one way one thing that we can do to increase their confidence to introduce them to a whole new sport, a whole new skill and something that they will be able to keep with them forever.”

You can visit our website for more information about the 1Climb Foundation, Pedal it Forward and the Boys and Girls Club.

The Momentary gets a face-lift

A revised Momentary is open to the public. The sister museum of Crystal Bridges opened the exhibit Enduring Amazon: Life and Afterlife in the Amazon Rainforest this weekend. Jill Wagar, the director of The Momentary, says the opening coincides with a remodel of the Momentary.

“To be able to create warmer spaces to help people feel more welcome,” Wagar said. “If you've been here before you’ll notice significant changes in the lobby and the onyx lobby over in the atrium where there is a digital installation and the store here that Elizabeth is running is expanded and it's beautiful and you'll see other changes.”

She says the remodel doesn’t change the mission of the Momentary to be a place for music, art and food of our time.  The new exhibit includes multimedia, immersive displays that highlight the biological diversity of the Amazon Rainforest but also the destruction taking place throughout the rainforest.   Joe Thompson, curator at large at the Momentary, says the new exhibit explores a wide range of issues facing the Amazon.

“I'm left with the feeling going through this show in a way that there's no doubt the Amazon is going to be around in some form in some shape there might be doubt about what our relationship is to it or its relationship to us,” Thompson said.

The exhibit will remain at Momentary through mid-April. On tomorrow’s Ozarks at Large, we’ll hear from some of the artists whose work is included in Enduring Amazon.

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Kyle Kellams is KUAF's news director and host of Ozarks at Large.
Matthew Moore is senior producer for Ozarks at Large.
Jack Travis is a reporter for Ozarks at Large.
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