By Terrah Baker
Tommy Culpepper of Bentonville had a trying year in 2010 — a divorce, a new city, a new job — but hitting the open mic. nights throughout Fayetteville helped him get through.
“I was doing so many open mic.’s, on the way home from one I almost ran into an 18-wheeler because I was so tired,” Culpepper explained.
That’s when he realized Bentonville needed an outlet for the type of art he enjoys. So with his own resources, time and connections to the art world, he created Verbal Tapestries as a way to bring together the word maestros of NWA.
It’s an intimate event, initially drawing six local artists to perform. Recently, there’s been about 10, with crowds of about 40, all sharing various forms of poetry, music, drama, comedy; anything with spoken language.
“I don’t sit on Mount Pie and judge people before they perform. People say they have something to offer, I’ll check dates and slots and then each person will get 15 minutes to do whatever they want,” Culpepper said of choosing the artists.
Culpepper hopes the growing crowd keeps up so he can continue to offer the other side of NWA a bit of artistic expression, he said.
“I’m planning on keeping it going. This is part of my DNA now. This is me and who I am, and it’s a vehicle that allows a lot of the local talent to grow as well, and to promote themselves,” Culpepper said.
The next Verbal Tapestries will be at the Executive Escape Lounge, 1120 S. Walton Blvd., Suite 148 in Bentonville, on Sat., May 25 at 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.verbaltapestries.com