The most memorable front pages from each year of our storied past.
Former NFL player Keith Jackson and his wife Melanie are the founders of Positive Atmosphere Reaches Kids (PARK), a nonprofit in south Little Rock designed to positively change the lives of at-risk youth in grades 8-12. The two sat down with Soirée to discuss their mission, goals and impact on kids in the city.
Photo by Dero Sanford, June 2002.
Jennings Osborne, a titan of the philanthropic community, founded the Arkansas Research Medical Testing Center in 1968 with his wife Mitzi. This particular feature focused on another of his passions: Christmas lights. Osborne was known for hosting elaborate holiday shows for the city to enjoy and later donated his displays to Walt Disney World, creating the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.
Photo by Nancy Nolan, December 2003.
Truthfully, we never expected Skip Rutherford to be on board with this idea to mark the opening of the Clinton Presidential Center. Rutherford, then the president of the William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation, surprised us all by climbing onto the back of an elephant named Betty Boop (in a tux, no less) and providing one of our most memorable covers to date.
Photo by Nancy Nolan, November 2004.
Will Etta Oates, known as Willie, left an unmatched legacy of philanthropy and social activism that included her time in the Arkansas Legislature. Rarely seen without one of her trademark colorful hats — she was deemed the "Hat Lady of Arkansas" by official state proclamation in 1989 — her daughter Dr. Debbie Erwin and son Randy Oates joined us for this feature highlighting the significance of their mother's work. On the day of the shoot, Oates had to be carried into the studio due to a recent stroke, but lit up once the camera began to click.
Photo by Nancy Nolan, August 2005.
Longtime philanthropist and supporter of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Herren Hickingbotham allowed us into his home for this shoot highlighting he and his wife Susan's roles chairing the ASO's signature Opus Ball. Eleven years later, the couple would grace our cover once again as co-chairs of the gala supporting youth music programs across Arkansas.
Photo by Jason Masters, October 2006.
As the then Arkansas Arts Center (now Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts) prepared for the return of its biennial, two-night event Tabriz, we were catching up with Chucki Bradbury in the AAC's Rockefeller Gallery to chat about the upcoming festivities, from the famous hot dogs to the glamorous black-tie gala, and wishing we could take these Visconti baroque pearl earrings home with us.
Photo by Jason Masters, February 2007.
For this holiday shoot, then-executive director of Our House Georgia Mjartan posed on set with multiple trained doves from United Doves in Cabot. Our House, which serves central Arkansas' homeless population, had seen a surge after the economic crash and was in the midst of a capital campaign to help meet that need.
Photo by Jason Masters, December 2008.
Newly elected to the Historic Arkansas Museum Foundation board, then-Assistant Attorney General Jean Block paid homage to her Indigenous heritage by chairing the opening of the HAM permanent exhibit "We Walk in Two Worlds: The Caddo, Osage and Quapaw in Arkansas." The exhibit was created in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of the American Indian and representatives from the tribes. Between the custom dress by Korto Momolu, an unbelievable sky above Two Rivers Park and Block herself, we knew right away we had something special on our hands.
Photo by Jason Masters, March 2009.
Longtime advocate Mica Strother took a break from her busy role as finance director for Gov. Mike Beebe's re-election campaign to discuss the importance of childhood literacy. She was currently serving on the board of Reach Out and Read, a nonprofit that provides free books to kids at their pediatric check-ups, and was the perfect centerpiece for this otherworldly shoot in the sand.
Photo by Jason Masters, April 2010.
Dr. Katrina Davis channeled her inner Billie Holiday for this stunning vintage portrait. The UAMS professor and OB/GYN, along with her husband Dennis, were chairing Blues in the Rock, a jukebox-fueled fundraiser for the Arkansas Medical, Dental and Pharmaceutical Association's scholarship program.
Photo by Jason Masters, August 2011.
Volunteer extraordinaire Carla Emanuel, who spent much of her time with the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, of which her husband Peter was the director, instead joined this issue in support of her passion for academics. She was serving on the board of trustees for Little Rock Christian Academy, which had just announced plans for a $3.5 million expansion. Even with a heavy overcast sky threatening this outdoor shoot, the end result was nothing short of angelic.
Photo by Jason Masters, June 2012.
Every year, the Women's Foundation of Arkansas hosts its signature fundraiser Power of the Purse thanks to a team of dedicated volunteers. In 2013, the marketing guru and committed mentor Mimi San Pedro was at the forefront of that effort as chair of the WFA's communications committee. The Kate Spade bag at the forefront of this shot was unable to steal the spotlight from San Pedro, though it did put up a good fight.
Photo by Jason Masters, October 2013.
With just a few months left in his second term, Gov. Mike Beebe welcomed us into the Arkansas Governor's Mansion to photograph and interview him and first lady Ginger Beebe as recipients of the Pat and Willard Walker Tribute Award for the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute's 2014 Gala for Life.
Photo by Rett Peek, September 2014.
Apart from a celebrated career that included serving in the military, launching multiple consulting firms and leading some of the state’s most notable corporations, Sherman Tate is also a devoted mentor, supporter and past president of the Greater Little Rock Chapter of 100 Black Men of America. Tate sat down with Soirée to discuss his heart for the nonprofit and its mission to bolster the success of young Black men in the city.
Photo by Jacob Slaton, August 2015.
The Arkansas Arts Center was a space where all ages and backgrounds could engage with transformative, life-affirming art, and that was the story board member Ashley Merriman helped us tell with help from her daughter Emery, who was also part of the shoot.
Photo by Jason Masters, May 2016.
The Easterseals Arkansas Fashion Event is hands down one of the city's most loved and joyous occasions where professional and budding models alike take to the runway. Shawn Morehart and Jennifer Mahler were two of the 14 Easterseals clients who came to our studio to give readers a taste of the starpower they'd be serving on the catwalk, meanwhile providing Team Soirée with one of our all-time favorite shoots.
Photo by Jason Masters, February 2017.
"One great big tree house" is how the owner described this remarkable modern abode, which we named one of Little Rock's Most Beautiful Homes in 2018. Designed by Fennell Purifoy Architects and built by Fred Lord, the home boasts 4,000 square feet, three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms and incredible views of The Natural State from its remote Ferndale location.
Photo by Vince Palermo, June 2018.
Calm and cozy won the day at this shoot with Rachel Parker Harding, even when her two young sons hopped on the couch for their turn in front of the lens. Parker Harding invited us into her lovely Heights home in between executing duties as co-chair of Women & Children First's 2019 Woman of the Year Gala.
Photo by Jason Masters, February 2019.
Local singer, songwriter and poet Bijoux cast her spell on our set (and our team) from the very beginning. Glowing in bright citrus hues, she shared insight on her music career and love for nonprofits, including plans to perform at the 2020 Evolve Gala for the Centers for Youth and Families. The only problem? Having to choose one photo for the cover.
Photo by Jason Masters, February 2020.
A glimpse inside an artist's studio is a rare gift, and that's exactly what Milkdadd offered when she opened her home to us. This "Artists in Residence" feature captured local artists on their creative turf — no styling, wardrobe or makeup artists allowed — and the intimacy of Milkdadd's workspace was unforgettable.
Photo by Jason Masters, August 2021.