Workshops and Paint Outs at Mena Art Gallery

There will be a plein air workshop, two plein air paintouts, and a photoshoot, all connected with Mena Art Gallery’s 2016 National Juried Painting Competition.

The workshop, to be held at a beautiful lakeside estate near Mena on October 2 and 3, will be conducted by Dave Ivey, one of the artists in the 2015 painting competition. To get an idea of his style and lots of examples of his work, visit his website at For details on how to sign up, check out our webpage at

The two days of plein air paintouts will be held at the same lakeside estate on October 1 and 2 with a wealth of scenes to choose from. These are sponsored this year by Oil Painters of America, one of the largest (over 4,000 members) and most prestigious art organizations in America. They are inviting their members in this region to participate in our paint out.

Our 2016 Photo Shoot, led by Betty Acheson, a talented local photographer who knows all the sweet spots, will be at Crooked Creek. To see what the location is like, search for “Crooked Creek, Arkansas” on the Internet and click on “More Photos.” We’ll leave Mena early enough on Sunday, October 2, to get the best light, and your $40 fee will include a box lunch.

To register for any of these, go to our website at
And don’t forget the exhibit that goes with all of this: it will be on display at the gallery during the month of October with a reception from 6 to 8 pm on Friday, September 30. This year we have some fabulous work entered. It’s a chance to see world-class art without leaving Mena.

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Open Art Show at Mena Art Gallery

In the month of September, your local gallery will host a show open to all local artists. It will accept work in any media and on any subject: painting, drawing, sculpture, pen and ink, pastel, watercolor, oils, acrylic, pottery, woodwork, jewelry, photography, fiber arts, and more.

Artists who wish to enter the show should bring their work to the gallery at 607 Mena Street on Wednesday, August 31, between 10 am and 4 pm. You can find complete details and the entry form on

This show will be on display during regular gallery hours: 11 am to 2 pm on Tuesdays; 10 am to 3 pm on Wednesdays through Saturdays, from September 2 through the 27th. Great chance to see more work by our talented local artists. And Mena and the surrounding counties have many of those!

If you would like more information, please call the gallery at 479-394-3880.

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Third Thursday at Mena Art Gallery

OttersThe Otters, a Women’s Drum Circle, will be performing at Mena Art Gallery, 607 Mena Street, at 6:00 pm on Thursday, August 18. The Otters was formed in 1992 and is a multicultural women’s drum circle. It is guided by Lyn Dilbeck and Denie Westphal.

Thirty women participated during the following eighteen years. Interested in a new direction, seven of these women decided to become active in pow-wow style drumming and singing. Their first public performance was for the Cherokee Cultural Day in October 2011. Since then, they have performed for Heritage activity, school children, youth organizations, senior groups and state parks. These women bring a widely varied background to the group. Some have Native American backgrounds, others bring the diversity of America’s “melting pot” immigration history. What they have found is a commonality that defines women everywhere and a respect for their heritage.

While you are visiting the wide variety of shops that will be open until 8 pm Thursday, we invite you to stop at the gallery, have a seat, cool off a bit from our August heat, and enjoy their performance. You may also want to take time to look around at the beautiful art on exhibit in this year’s Ouachita Expressions exhibit.

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Still Time for Local Artists to Enter!

Mena Art Gallery’s 2016 Art of the Heartland national juried painting competition’s deadline is August 15, 2016. This is the second year, and we would love to see more of our local artists’ work. Arkansas has some wonderfully talented artists, and many of them live and work in and around Mena.

The awards this year will be at least $9,000, including a $4,000 First Place, $2,000 Second Place, $1,000 Third Place, and $1,000 for top painting by an Arkansas artist. All of the details about how to enter are available on our website:

In addition to the competition, we are planning a Plein Air Painting Workshop to be led by Dave Ivey of Shreveport, Louisiana. Dave was one of the entrants in the 2015 Art of the Heartland show, and you can see his work on his website:

There will also be a photo shoot at Crooked Creek led by Betty Acheson, a talented local photographer who knows all the sweet spots. To see what the location is like, search for “Crooked Creek, Arkansas” on the Internet and click on “More Photos.” This is open both to photographers and to artists wanting photos to work from in their studios.

Oil Painters of America is sponsoring a plein air paintout in early October. This will be at a beautiful lakeside estate with lots of room and views to choose from.

You can find more information about all of these on the website: If you still have questions, please call Mena Art Gallery at 479-394-3880 during gallery hours of 10 am to 3 pm Wednesdays through Fridays.

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Ouachita Expressions

Ouachita Expressions is our oldest competition for art: it has happened annually for over thirty years. The reception to open this year’s exhibit will be Saturday, August 6 from 1 to 3 pm. This exhibit will make awards in the following categories:
Works on canvas, wood, gesso board, etc., including oils and acrylics

Works on paper, including watercolors, pastels, pencil, prismacolor, block prints, and

Photography and computer-generated art

Three-dimensional art

Awards for this competition are made possible by local businesses who contribute annually toward this exhibit. And this year, there are two additional awards: Bees and Butterflies and Sponsor’s Choice. Winners in each category will be announced about 2 pm.

As always, there will be snacks to enjoy while you are seeing the artwork—our volunteers are just as talented in the kitchen as with a paint brush.

We look forward to welcoming you to Mena Art Gallery. This is your once-a-year opportunity to see some of the finest work being done by artists, most of whom live among you.

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Vendor Opportunity for Ouachita Arts Celebration

The Ouachita Arts Celebration will take place this fall on Saturday, November 5, and it will be bigger and better than ever this year: more artists, more music, and some fabulous cars.

The Willys, Overland, Knight Registry will be bringing their restored pre-1943 cars and have invited Vintage Orphan Car owners (those no longer manufactured) up to 1960. These impeccably restored cars have to be seen to be believed. This “Art of the Car” exhibit includes the “Doc Hudson” from the Pixar movie “Cars.” Attendees of the Ouachita Arts Celebration will even be able to sit in the Doc Hudson car!

We expect more people to enjoy the show this year. The city is again permitting us to block off Mena Street between Janssen and Maple, so there will be plenty of room for vendor’s booths. Applications are now available at Mena Art Gallery, 607 Mena Street, or online at, and must be received by October 3.

Here are some of the attractions already scheduled:

Mena Art Gallery will have art demonstrations and hands-on activities

RMCC will have a culinary booth making delicious edibles

Pottery demonstrations

Four Winds Trading Post will have dream catcher weaving demonstrations and storytelling

The Mercantile, Mena Antique Mall, and Progressive Kids Therapy will all have open houses.

Chameleon Arts will have DIY pottery decorating projects

Steve Mosley will be demonstrating flint knapping

The Fair Lady will be showing the latest styles in their fashion show

Tommy Young will be talking about falconry and birds of prey

A drawing for a $250 prize will be held. You must be 18 years old to enter The winner must be present to accept the award. Sign up at the Ouachita Arts Celebration. Details on time of giveaway to come.

Ouachita Little Theatre will be doing an acting workshop with costumed actors roaming around in the downtown arts district

Mena High School choir will be performing

Logan Lind will provide live music and MC the stage productions.

American Artisans and Skyline Café will be cooking up something special. Eat inside or outside and enjoy the entertainment.

Vendors with art to add to the array, should be sure to get an application in!

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Third Thursday at Mena Art Gallery

Mena Art Gallery is joining the Downtown Partners’ “Third Thursday” in July. The gallery will be open until 8 pm.

In addition to viewing the “Sam and Barbara” exhibit of paintings, drawings, and photographs that will be on display during the month of July, Barbara Tobias and Victoria Dempsey will be demonstrating how to use simple traditional drawing tools: graphite pencils, charcoal, and conté crayon. Both artists love the effects you can achieve with simple black-and-white drawings.

To rest a few minutes from the walking and shopping in all of the Downtown Partners’ businesses, stop in the gallery at 607 Mena Street, have a seat, watch and ask questions.

Third Thursday is the latest addition to the gallery’s long list of activities the public is invited to attend. Another fairly recent addition is the Friday afternoon discussion group led by Alice Rains-Davis. The lively conversations, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm every Friday afternoon, usually center around some aspect of literature or writing. Some topics coming up soon include:

  • Discussion of one of the Federalist Papers
  • What is a great work of fiction and of non-fiction (with examples) and why they are great.
  • What book influenced you most as a child? What book influenced you most recently?
  • Why is Chaucer considered great?
  • Here’s what you may not have learned about Shakespeare 50 years ago but which is known now.
  • General overview of the history of the English language using The Story of English.
  • How did you get started writing? What do you want to write? What are you working on now? What do you want to accomplish? Can we be of any help to you in doing that?
  • Discussion of a local author’s work.


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