University of Arkansas at Little Rock


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Arts & Letters Presents the Folk Art of Ed Stilley. Featuring Kelly Mulhollan, with special guests from Polygraph Lounge

April 26, 2018 @ 7:30 pm

Arts & Letters invites you to join us while we record for a show about Kelly Mulhollan’s book True Faith, True Light, The Devotional Art of Ed Stilley.

Ed Stilley was a farmer in Hogscald Hollow, Arkansas. One day while plowing his field, he was overcome with what felt like a heart attack. As he lay there in the freshly plowed dirt, Ed heard God telling him that he would be restored to health if he would agree to make musical instruments and give them to children. And so he did. Ed worked tirelessly for twenty-five years to create over two hundred instruments, each a crazy quilt of found objects: A rusty door hinge, a steak bone, a stack of dimes, springs, saw blades, pot lids, metal pipes, glass bottles, aerosol cans—anything he could use to build a working guitar, fiddle, or dulcimer. On each instrument Ed inscribed “True Faith, True Light, Have Faith in God.”

Kelly Mulhollan has collected a number of these instruments and documented Ed Stilley’s life and work in her book True Faith, True Light: The Devotional Art of Ed Stilley, giving us a glimpse into a singular life of austere devotion. Join us for an evening of education, enlightenment and spiritual elevation.

Donna Mulhullan and Polygraph Lounge’s Rob Schwimmer, Mark Stewart, and Melissa Fathman—no strangers themselves to self-made instruments—are eagerly looking forward to treating the audience to a song or two on Stilley’s instruments.

Tickets are $10. UA Little Rock and UA-Pulaski Tech faculty, staff and students get in free. Call 569-3294 or purchase online at

Friends of the Arts will sponsor a reception with light hors d’oeuvres and beverages before the event from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Rob Schwimmer is a composer-pianist/keyboardist, thereminist, vocalist and Continuum player who has performed and recorded throughout the world. Mark Stewart is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer and instrument designer. Since 1998 he has recorded, toured and been musical director with Paul Simon. Melissa Fathman, soprano, is equally at home on the opera stage, in the concert hall and in clubs. She has collaborated with innovative performance artists, composers and educators, and developed and performed in a number of educational projects.

Produced by J. Bradley Minnick and Mary Ellen Kubit, Arts & Letters is an educational radio show that strives to enlighten its audience with authentic Southern voices. It is dedicated to showcasing aspects of the humanities and literary arts in Arkansas, the Mid-South and beyond. Arts & Letters is made possible by generous support from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Arts & Letters podcast can be accessed online at, NPR One App, iTunes, PlayerFM, and the NPR Podcast page.


April 26, 2018
7:30 pm
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Jeremy Lane


Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall
Fine Arts Building
Little Rock, AR 72204 United States
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