As a new presence on the Rogers art scene, the Artists of Northwest Arkansas hope to bring to the table "a wide array of art, art workshops, educational opportunities and scholarships, and an organization that artists in the Northwest Arkansas area can belong to and feel welcome," says ANA spokesman Gary Johnson.
As an organization, the Artists of Northwest Arkansas have been accomplishing all those things since 1991. The big difference is now the members have a long-term home.
"The Board of Directors has been wanting to expand into a larger space for quite some time," says Johnson. "We've rented spaces to hold education meetings, board meetings and workshops, that were adequate; however, [they] didn't always meet the needs of the organization. Further, many of the artists in the organization wanted to have a gallery where they could exhibit their works for sale on a more permanent basis rather than the sporadic monthly shows from galleries in the area. These didn't always allow the artist to show their full range of art with just one showing per year or longer between showings.
"This space in Rogers came to us through the Rogers Experimental House," he goes on. "They were seeking a tenant to occupy a portion of the first floor of the building they are in. It fit our overall needs. ANA has never been well known because we haven't had a place to call home. Now that we do, I feel confident that ANA's membership will expand. Our hope is to slowly develop programs to meet the needs of our artists and the art community as a whole."
Founded in Fayetteville in October 1991 by artist Beth Vacanti, ANA has hosted shows at the Arts Center of the Ozarks in Springdale, the Fayetteville Community Creative Center, Art Ventures in Fayetteville and the Fayetteville Town Center. Now, 12 charter artists will rotate their work through the Rogers gallery every two months, with an all-member show lasting a month between each rotation, in June, September and December.
"The membership has never had this kind of opportunity to hang art three to four times yearly," says Johnson. "The charter artists will hang different art every quarter to keep the public interested. ... Our goal is to not have the same pieces hanging forever, as that gets a bit boring. We want repeat visitors and plan to publicize each change of art in social media to inform art patrons throughout the region."
Plans also call for a regional or national exhibition during one of those quarters, he adds.
"We have a large number of artists on our waiting list who also want to exhibit, and as we reconfigure our available space, we'll slowly add an artist or two to increase our numbers of artists wanting this kind of opportunity," Johnson says. "Our charter artists may also release their space to another on the waiting list to enable someone to show their works as well."
Johnson says new members may join ANA on the organization's website at artistsnwarkansas.com. Membership is $35 for an individual or $40 for a family, and members receive an artist profile page on the website, along with seminars and opportunities to show their work. Members are asked to occasionally volunteer, Johnson says, but the gallery is staffed by the 12 charter members.
The ANA will showcase those artists and more at the June 10 Art on the Bricks in Rogers. Hours are 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. that Thursday during the art walk, which is held the second Thursday of every month.
"If you've never been to Art on the Bricks, you're missing out on some really great art to be seen," Johnson says. "The ANA will have somewhere around 50 different artists showing their work in one location, the ANA Gallery. Our artists cover the gamut in photography, digital art, oil, pastel, acrylic, watercolor, sculpture, pottery, mixed media, charcoal drawings, etc. This should attract just about everyone who might be seeking that one piece to add to their collection or to find that one artist that you might want to start to collect."
Among the ANA charter artists are:
Mediums you work in: Acrylic and mixed media
Subjects you most often paint: Landscapes, figures and abstracts
I love the process – from the very kernel of an idea to the completion of the piece.
Mediums you work in: Acrylic/mixed media; collage; watercolor
Subjects you most often paint: Abstract paintings, especially land and seascapes
I think of myself as an experimental artist, especially drawn to the abstract. Whether painting with watercolor or acrylic on paper, canvas or wood, I often begin with color rather than specific subject matter. Recent work has evolved from an earlier focus on land and seascapes, blending that focus with abstract concepts and collage. My acrylic paintings are typically layered with decorative papers which become part of the textural underpinning of the work. The fun comes as the work emerges and later as I talk to viewers about what they see.
Mediums you work in: Oil
Subjects you most often paint: Landscapes -- Ozark landscapes but other regions also
I had an older brother that was handicapped and because he couldn't be physically active, he spent his time drawing. He got me started when I was old enough to hold a crayon, and the interest never left me.
I feel that we live in a noisy crowded society with much anxiety, pain, grief, tension and worries. A quiet time with the sounds of nature, the tinkle of water or gentle rustle of leaves can restore a battered soul. I want the viewer to feel that they can step into my paintings and feel the peace that nature so lovingly offers even if it's only briefly.
Mediums you work in: Preferred medium is oil. Sometimes I use acrylic and occasionally watercolor.
Subjects you most often paint: I love painting florals up close and personal.
Someone told me one time my art made them happy. What I want viewers to take away is joy. A piece of me is in everything I create, and I was inspired by its unique beauty to re-create it in a permanent way that is pleasing to others.
Mediums you work in: Watercolor and occasional acrylic
It takes my mind into new places. I relax and even dream of paintings I should do. I like the reaction I get when people view my work, especially my abstracts, to hear what they see in my works. Sometime funny; most times it's what I didn't see.
Artists of Northwest Arkansas
WHEN — Noon-8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday; noon-4 p.m. Sunday
WHERE — Rogers Experimental House, 121 W. Walnut St.
COST — Admission is free; artwork is available for purchase
INFO — artistsnwarkansas.com