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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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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