Third Annual Ouachita Arts Celebration

"Doc Hudson" - One of the Vintage Tin Cars

“Doc Hudson” – One of the Vintage Tin Cars

On Saturday, November 5, the third annual Ouachita Arts Celebration festival will open at 10 am with the Mena High School Choir singing the national anthem. From there, it will be non-stop events until 3 pm. You can pick up a schedule of events at the Mena Art Gallery so that you will be sure not to miss the things that are most important to you.

Among the highlights will be the Vintage Tin “Making Old Cars New Again” exhibit featuring “Doc Hudson” from the Pixar movie “Cars.”

The Junior Ouachita Little Theater will be performing; the Acorn choir will sing; there will be a fashion show; belly dancers will perform; and when you need a rest from all of the activity, American Artisans will feature Donna Chrisman’s fabulous chicken pot pies for lunch.

The city will block off Mena Street between Maple and Janssen streets so you can stroll between artists’ booths and all of the other events safely.

Mena Art Gallery will have their annual Christmas sale up with lots of unique gifts for you to fill those stockings. In addition, there will be artists demonstrating several different media techniques.

The day will wind up with a drawing at 3:00 pm for a $250 cash prize, so be sure to get your name in that pot early.

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Annual Christmas Sale

Christmas at the Gallery

Christmas at the Gallery

For all the many talented artists in the Mena area, the day for you to deliver your work for Mena Art Gallery’s annual Christmas Sale is Wednesday, November 2. For more details on how to enter, go to our website: and click on “More Info” under “Shows and Exhibits, Christmas Gift Show.” You may also call 479-394-3880 and talk to Julie Vande Zande (our Executive Director) or one of our volunteers.

For those of you looking forward to Christmas shopping, you will find unique items from stocking stuffers to that special piece that will make someone’s eye light up on Christmas morning starting on Thursday, November 3. There will be paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture, jewelry, pottery, and almost anything you can imagine in the art field. Most of the prices will be between $10 and $50 (although there will be a few “luxury” items as well).

While you are in the gallery, take a few minutes to check out the Gallery Store. This location, at the back of the gallery proper, is the place where local artists offer their work for sale all year long. The artists change out the work on display frequently, so you can always find something new and different!

Reception for the Christmas Sale will be Saturday, November 5, from 1 to 3 pm.

And don’t forget that you have another week to see the 2016 Art of the Heartland Exhibit. This is a once-a-year opportunity to see some of the finest art produced in the United States. This year’s exhibit is outstanding.

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Mena Art Gallery’s Annual National Painting Exhibit

American Beauty by Tiffany Lane - 3rd Place

American Beauty by Tiffany Lane – 3rd Place

There is still time for you to see the second Art of the Heartland exhibit. This show features the fifty-two very best paintings selected from hundreds of entries from all over the United States (California to the East Coast and the Dakotas to Louisiana). It is a rare opportunity to see art of this quality right here in Mena.

And to make it easier for you to find a time to get in, we are keeping the gallery open extra hours from now through October 30:

Tuesdays, 11 am to 2 pm
Wednesdays, 10 am to 3 pm
Thursdays through Saturdays, 10 am to 6 pm
Sundays, noon to 4 pm
Closed on Mondays.

Either our Executive Director, Julie Vande Zande, or a knowledgeable volunteer will be there to greet you and answer your questions about the exhibit.

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Winners’ at Mena Art Gallery’s Art of the Heartland Show

New York Street Chefs

New York Street Chefs, by Charles Rouse

On Friday evening, September 30, Mena Art Gallery officially opened the 2017 Art of the Heartland exhibit. It consists of 52 paintings by artists from New York to California, North Dakota to Louisiana, and lots of points in between. Nineteen of the paintings in the exhibit are by Arkansas Artists. The award winners are:

First Place: Charles Rouse from New York

Second Place: Judy Takacs from Ohio

Third Place: Tiffany Lane from Mena, Arkansas

Special Arkansas Artist Award: Daniel Cassity from Hot Springs, Arkansas

These paintings were selected from entries from artists all over the United States and are equal in quality to any exhibit you might see anywhere in the nation.

The artists were tasked with creating paintings that illustrated the best of America, and they did a spectacular job of that. Our judge of awards, Andre Pater, said that it was very difficult to select the winners because so many of the paintings were superbly executed and most did portray America’s best.

The gallery will be open more hours than usual during the month of October so that you will have an opportunity to see this show for yourself. Hours this month will be:

Sundays: noon to 4 pm.

Tuesdays: 11 am to 2 pm.

Wednesdays: 10 am to 3 pm.

Thursdays through Saturdays: 10 am to 6 pm.

We hope you will take advantage of our extra hours and come in to see some of the best paintings in the nation.

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National Juried Painting Exhibit Opens Friday, October 30

Mena Art Gallery’s second annual Art of the Heartland exhibit will open Friday evening, October 30, with a reception and awards ceremony at the gallery, 607 Mena Street, from 6 to 8 pm.

This summer, artists from all parts of the United States submitted entries; 50 of the best have been selected for the exhibit. This is a rare opportunity to see world-class paintings right here in Mena, and many of the artists will be attending the opening.

The first, second, and third-place winners have been selected by Andre Pater, internationally acclaimed artist whose work has been recognized by art lovers and collectors around the world. His oils, pastels, gouaches and charcoals can be found in many private and corporate collections. From the time he first landed in the United States in 1981, the Polish-born artist has come a long way. Strong Polish traditions in the breeding of the Arabian horse made Pater initially interested in that as a subject matter. It wasn’t until he moved to Kentucky in 1988 that his interest shifted from Arabian horses to powerful Thoroughbreds.

In addition to the three awards selected by Pater, there is a special $1,000 award for the most outstanding painting by an Arkansas artist. This award was contributed by Joe and LaDonna Van Wolf.

The exhibit will be open at the gallery with special hours during October: 11 am to 2 pm Tuesdays, 10 am to 3 pm Wednesdays, 10 am to 5 pm Thursdays through Saturdays, and 12 noon to 4 pm on Sundays. Come take advantage of this once-a-year opportunity.

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Indian Tacos at Mena Art Gallery

If you’ve never had Indian Tacos, you’re in for a treat on Saturday, September 24, from noon to 5 pm at Mena Art Gallery, 607 Mena Street. Carolynne Cook, who is a member of the Cherokee Nation as well as a member of the gallery, will be the chef, and all proceeds go to support your local art gallery.
Carolynne starts with fry bread. Then she combines ground beef with garlic, onions, and seasonings to go over that and tops it off with lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese. It’s delicious.
Come by the gallery any time from noon until 5 pm; visit with your friends and enjoy a really different lunch. Or take it home with you as take-out. While you are at the gallery, take time to have a look at this month’s exhibit—it will only be on display the rest of September.
The price is $8 per person including a drink. So you get a treat, and your gallery can continue supporting local artists as well as bringing you the work of great artists nation-wide of the caliber you will see at October’s Art of the Heartland national painting competition.

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Andre Pater, Judge for Mena Art Gallery’s 2016 Art of the Heartland Competition

Stables by Andre Pater

Stables by Andre Pater

We are very fortunate to have Andre Pater as the judge for this year’s national juried painting competition at Mena Art Gallery. Just over 50 paintings have been accepted by our jury panel from the entries made by artists all over the United States. Andre Pater will select the works for first, second, and third place awards. An additional award for the outstanding painting from an Arkansas artist will be selected by the donors, Joe and La Donna Van Wolf.

Andre Pater is considered to be the heir to the artistic throne vacated when the revered Sir Alfred Munnings died in 1959. Polish born Pater shares the twentieth-century master’s gift for breathing realistic life into his subjects. As affirmation to that genius, his recent London exhibit sold out to a huge, enthusiastic crowd in only 21 minutes.

Upon graduating Summa Cum Laude, in architecture, from the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts, Pater came to New York. Shortly after his arrival in the United States, Pater moved to Dallas and worked as a designer for an architectural firm. Poland has a strong Arabian horse breeding tradition and Pater had drawn and painted the breed for years. As a result, he was drawn to the Arabian horse world in Texas and soon returned to the work that always fed his soul — painting. Upon moving to Kentucky in 1988, his focus shifted from Arabian Horses to Thoroughbreds. Being enthralled and embraced by the Thoroughbred racing world, Pater also discovered the ‘Sporting Life.’ He began to depict racing, fox hunting, sporting dogs, cattle, and wildlife. Andre’s paintings and drawings speak for his artistic skill, inventiveness, and originality. Through his Zen-like observations he finds the essence of his subjects, and brings life to his work. His style ranges from detailed realism to action-filled, blurred images, which express the emotion of equine sports.

Having a judge of such ability and experience will help to ensure an outstanding exhibit here in Mena. The reception will be from 6 to 8 pm on September 30, 2016. The exhibit will on display during regular gallery hours (11 am to 2 pm Tuesdays, 10 am to 3 pm Wednesdays through Saturdays) during the month of October.
The attached photo is of one of Andre Pater’s paintings.

Barbara Tobias

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