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story.lead_photo.caption Kinya Christian Springdale From that first moment in 2000, to serving as a board member, performing on stage, working on some of my best creative projects, and displaying my art in Zephyr's gallery, it's been a nearly 20-year love affair I can't see ending any time soon. I have found acceptance and validation within the community that we call Arkansas Public Theatre.

"With every step taken

"we should try

"to extract

"meaning and purpose

"from our life."

So wrote Vol Douglas "Zephyr" Blevins in a poem titled "Steps." Blevins was an artist in nearly every medium imaginable, from words to watercolors to flowers in his mother's garden to homemade cheesecake topped with candied ginger he made himself.

"Z was multi-talented and disciplined, a seeker, spiritual, self-assured but humbled by the wonderment of nature," S.K. Clark-Will of Rogers remembers the friend she calls her "creative soul mate." He was "zany with a sometimes scorching sense of humor, authentic, intolerant of choices or performance he considered ordinary by those he thought extraordinary, fiercely loyal, a word wizard, physically beautiful, brave and forgiving, leaving this world with grace."

Blevins died Dec. 7, 1991, his life cut short by AIDS. It was about a dozen years later that Clark-Will, at the time a member of the Board of Directors of Rogers Little Theater, had an idea.

"Since Z's passing, I had pondered ideas of how to memorialize his illustrious life," she says. "After curating several exhibits in our newly renovated Victory Theater, it was during a reception for the artists that I had the epiphany that the way to honor my friend was to support the arts in his name by means of the gallery."

It was on July 1, 2004, that the gallery at the Victory Theater was renamed the Zephyr Blevins Gallery. Marking the 15th anniversary of that event, the company that is now Arkansas Public Theatre at the Victory will host a rededication ceremony at 4 p.m. July 11, followed by a "Christmas in July" art market from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. as part of the monthly downtown Rogers Art on the Bricks.

"Art makes more art," says Ed McClure, APT's artistic director. "Creativity in any form must be celebrated, elevated and appreciated."

Kaye Cotton, one of the founders of the theater troupe, says it never occurred to them way back in the 1980s that they'd ever have a permanent home, let alone "a beautiful place" like the Victory Theatre. "And when we did, an art gallery just seemed like a natural extension," she says. "It seemed like the perfect thing to do."

Loneta Townsend Blevins, Zephyr's 90-year-old mother, couldn't be more pleased to have another chance to honor her son, who would have turned 65 on July 5.

"He was a wonderful artist, a wonderful writer, just really artistic," she says. "I don't think he was ever as appreciated here for his artwork as he was in other places."

Blevins attended art schools in New Orleans and Boston, showed his work around the country and studied with several well-known artists, all with the goal of establishing a teaching studio in his hometown of Rogers.

"Zephyr Blevins left behind a bounty of expression manifested from every media," Joseph Farmer, APT's executive director quotes from the gallery's 2004 dedication brochure. "That's why we're honoring him July 11 by showing art in as many mediums as we could invite artists, from photographs to watercolors to acrylics to fabric."

Diana Michelle West Fork My photography tends to be a bit dark, but I have also had people describe it as whimsical, so maybe it is a little of both. I seek out broken and forgotten items in and around abandoned houses. It can be anything really, an old creepy doll peeking out at you from under the pine needles, a plastic horse with its legs ripped off. It excites me, and it does not come easy or often. I want my art to evoke emotion!
Courtesy Image Zephyr Blevins, a Rogers artist and poet, was honored in 2004 with the naming of the Zephyr Blevins Gallery at Arkansas Public Theatre at the Victory. The gallery will be rededicated at 4 p.m. July 11, followed by an art market from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. as part of the monthly downtown Rogers Art on the Bricks.
Linda Scogin Fayetteville "Driftwood," a photograph, captures the rootball of a 200- to 300-year-old tree, one of many full-size trees that are driftwood that float around parts of the Puget Sound in the Seattle area. "Some residents complain when their favorite piece of driftwood moves from one beach to another," photographer Linda Scogin says.
Zeek Taylor Eureka Springs Most patrons of the theater are also lovers of visual arts and vice versa. Having art hanging to be viewed before and after a performance is a two-for-one treat. Not only are the exhibitions good exposure for the artists, the art may attract additional attention to Arkansas Public Theatre.
Phillip T. Price Rogers I love the fact that we are able to see fantastic local arts, both visual and theater under one roof. Combined, they are a fantastic release from the rigors of everyday life. The arts in Northwest Arkansas are alive, and the APT is the place to watch it all happen!
Susan Idlet Fayetteville I love color, and I want my art to bring a smile to the viewer. I hope the richness of the theater and visual art experience follows viewers home, and they are able to be extra-awake to the people and ordinary experiences in their lives.

FAQ

Rededication & Art Market

WHEN — July 11: 4 p.m. rededication; 4:30-6:30 p.m. art market

WHERE — Zephyr Blevins Gallery at the Victory Theatre in Rogers

COST — Free; artwork will be for sale

INFO — 631-8988

FYI

Art Market Open At APT

Among artists showing their works for an Art on the Bricks art market July 11 at Arkansas Public Theatre at the Victory are:

• Diana Michelle, photographs

• Zeek Taylor, watercolors

• Susan Idlet, Prismacolor pencils

• Kinya Christian, acrylics & mixed media

• Phillip T. Price, acrylics

• Susan Jackson, fabric art

• Linda Scogin, photographs

• Nancy Dallison, silver-smithed jewelry

NAN What's Up on 07/07/2019

Print Headline: Art Inspires Art, 15 Years Later

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