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Open Avenues welcomed more than 400 backers to the annual Spring Fling Luau benefit May 19 at the Embassy Suites in Rogers. The luau-themed evening helped the nonprofit organization raise some $120,000.

The organization serves adults with disabilities and helps its clients live as independently as possible while being active participants in the community at large. The nonprofit organization provides employment and job skills training along with job placement services.

Kelly Sampson, Open Avenues development director, said the nonprofit organization’s Community Employment Program is the organization’s fastest growing program. “CEP helps our clients find employment within our community and includes help with resume preparation, interviewing, job placement and job coaching. We’ve placed more than 400 people into community jobs since our inception.”

Charlie McAnally was presented the group’s Spirit Award for “always exhibiting a positive spirit towards his work and peers, having an incredible work ethic and being willing to work hard no matter what the project.”

Among those out for the Fling were Cassie and Greg Cathey, Tracey and Robert Brown, Michelle and Tom Hauge, Sandy and Joe Steinmetz, Sarah and Don Kendall and Susan and Tommy Coughlin.

Arts patrons and artists were treated to a preview of The Beyond — Georgia O’Keefe + Contemporary Art on May 24 at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville.

Alice Walton, museum founder and chairwoman, welcomed exhibition sponsors for the preview that consists of 36 works from the iconic O’Keefe, interspersed with works from 20 up-and-coming contemporary artists. Highlights of the exhibition include Abstraction — one of O’Keefe’s few sculptures — and several of her sketchbooks on view for the first time.

Curated by Lauren Haynes, Crystal Bridges contemporary art curator, and Chad Alligood, independent curator, the exhibition is divided into six themed sections: Flowers, Finding the Figure, The Intangible Thing, Still Lifes, Cities & Deserts and The Beyond.

The exhibition will run through Oct. 13 when it will travel to North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh.

Those previewing the exhibition included Jennifer and Louis Martin, Brooke and Doug Waller, Marvelyn Stout, Terri and Chuck Erwin, Robin and Gary George, Mary Kathryn and Matt Brown, Julie and Patrick Swope, Rhonda and Harrison French, Lynn and Don Blakeman and Susan and Jim von Gremp.

Spring Fling Luau

Who: Open Avenues What: More than 400 supporters helped the nonprofit organization net some $120,000. When: May 19 Where: Embassy Suites in Rogers Next: Putts and Pints, Sept. 13 Information: (479) 636-5082 or



Who: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art What: Patrons were treated to a preview of The Beyond — Georgia O’Keefe and Contemporary Art temporary exhibition. When: May 24 Where: The museum in Bentonville Next: Garden Party, June 16 Information: (479) 657-2335 or

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Columnist Carin Schoppmeyer can be reached by email at .

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