AIA Award of Merit: June Biber Freeman

As an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, June Biber Freeman attended a lecture by Frank Lloyd Wright. Long drawn to the vacant Robie House, on the edge of the school’s campus, hearing Wright opened her eyes to architecture and its possibilities.

Freeman earned a bachelor of sciences degree since the university did not offer much in the ways of art and architecture. She was two years into graduate study, working toward a Ph.D. in clinical psychology when a move to Pine Bluff with her husband put those plans on hold.

Freeman made use of her time in Pine Bluff as a volunteer and in 1959 was instrumental in establishing the city’s first arts center, the Little Firehouse Community Arts Center. In response to an invitation from her as its director, Fay Jones showed a selection of his drawings in the Center’s gallery, formerly the firemen’s sleeping-quarters, later saying that it was his first exhibition. (The Center later morphed into the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas, on whose board Freeman served as member and chair.)

Currently, as director of the Architecture and Design Network, Freeman oversees a series of free, public lectures by architects and design professionals. Now in its tenth season, the program she conceived and has run as a volunteer is supported in part by the Central Arkansas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the Fay Jones School of Architecture and the Arkansas Arts Center.

Freeman is a long serving member of the advisory board of the UAMS Psychiatric Institute. She is an honorary member of the Dean’s Circle of the Fay Jones School of Architecture. Current memberships include the American Alliance of Museums and the Association of Architectural Organizations.

Freeman and her husband Edmond have lived in Little Rock since 1995. They have four children and six grandchildren.