Fur, Fins, and Feathers at Mena Art Gallery

The current exhibit at Mena Art Gallery will be displaying photographs, paintings, drawings, sculptures (and whatever other media I can’t think of, but our local artists can!) of anything with Fur, Fins, or Feathers. Actually, you may find paintings of people with a pet, or any number of other combinations. It simply must have a member of the animal kingdom included. I find myself wondering if anyone will come up with lizards or snakes or perhaps a beautiful amoeba (if such exists)!

The reception will be Saturday, September 1, from 1 to 3 pm. The exhibit will be on display through September 22 during regular gallery hours: 11 am to 2 pm on Tuesdays and 10 am to 3 pm Wednesdays through Saturdays.

So make it a point to come see what our very creative artists have come up with. If you can make it to the reception, it will be a chance to meet some of the artists and ask why they chose the particular subject they did. Should be interesting.

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Class on Alcohol Ink Paintings

On Saturday, August 25, from 1:00 pm to approximately 4:30 pm, David McRoberts will conduct a class on using Alcohol Inks on Tile at Mena Art Gallery, 607 Mena Street.

The class will include:

Basics: Dropping ink on tile. This exercise shows how the ink reacts with the alcohol

Using a brush

Using a felt pad

(optional) Using compressed air. This can get messy. But, a lot of people want to learn this technique.

Basic fee for the class is $30 and will include all materials needed.

To register for the class, please call our Executive Director, Whitney Espinoza, at 479-394-3880. Because space is limited, and David will need to know how many students to prepare for, registration will be cut off on August 18, so get your name on the list early!

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Ouachita Expressions Reception at Mena Art Gallery

Next Saturday, August 4, from 1 to 3 pm, there will be a reception at Mena Art Gallery, 607 Mena Street, for the gallery’s annual Ouachita Expressions art competition.

For over 25 years, this has been a premier annual exhibit, drawing entries from all over Arkansas and some of the adjacent states. There will be art in any style: realistic, contemporary, or abstract. Categories for judging include:

  1. Works on canvas, wood, gesso board, etc., including oils and acrylics
  2. Works on paper, including watercolors, pastels, pencil, prismacolor, block prints, and pen/ink
  3. Photography and computer-generated art
  4. Three dimensional art (decorative rather than functional)

Since most of the artists entering this competition will be from this region, we usually have quite of few of them attending the reception: a great time to meet them, talk with them, and learn a bit about what they do and how they go about it.

Awards will be announced around two pm, but most of the artists will be here for the full two-hour reception.

And, as always, many local culinary artists will help by providing munchies. Yes, cooks are artists, too!

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Ouachita Expressions Entries Due Soon

The Ouachita Expressions Show has been the premier judged show for local competition at Mena Art Gallery for over twenty five years. There are four categories: works on canvas, works on paper, photography and 3-D art. The show is open to artists from Arkansas and the surrounding areas.

Entries are due at the gallery on Tuesday, July 31, between 10 am and 4 pm. You can find complete rules for entry and print an entry form from the gallery website: http://www.MenaArtGallery.org. Of course, you can always pick up an entry form in the gallery (607 Mena Street) and have your questions answered at the same time. To say nothing of being able to enjoy the Fiber Arts show while you are there.

Works may be in any style and are open to the following categories:
1. Works on canvas, wood, gesso board, etc., including oils and acrylics

2. Works on paper, including watercolors, pastels, pencil, prismacolor, block prints, and pen/ink

3. Photography and computer-generated art

4. Dimensional art – Decorative rather than functional

Awards will be $250 for Best of Show plus these awards for each category: first Place $100; second place $50; third place $30; honorable mention ribbons.
We look forward to seeing entries from the many talented local artists for this traditional competition.

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Art in Mena

Art is really not a new phenomenon in Mena, although the pace of growth has certainly accelerated in the last few years. Think of the businesses in downtown Mena where art is a major part of the offering: there are the Ouachita Little Theatre and Mena Art Gallery, the anchors of the relatively new Downtown Art District. But don’t stop there. American Artisans has an amazing array of paintings as well as a wide variety of fine crafts. Chameleon Arts offers budding artists all sorts of crafts as well as the tools to create them. Then there is the Cherokee Trading Post with fine crafts in the Native American tradition. The library has some lovely statuary in its “front yard.” A stroll around downtown Mena will uncover even more.

Mena also has a history of murals depicting its past and displaying the talents of its artists. All too many of the murals have disappeared, but new ones are springing up to take their places. American Artisans has a lovely mural on the side of its building that is perpendicular to Mena Street. And then there are the murals at Papa’s Mexican Restaurant, the Frieda Kahlo recreations at La Villa, the Gallery at UA Rich Mountain, the Gallery artists featured at the Fish Net Lodge, Monta Philpot’s artwork on display at the Limetree Restaurant and the Depot, and the photography at the Chopping Block. Union Bank has an interesting mural behind the row of tellers in the bank lobby.

In the past, you may not often have had reason to cruise down the alley behind Mena Art Gallery, but some of our local artists are in the process of changing that. A couple of years ago there was a contest among the gallery membership to design a mural for the back of the gallery building, and Lorraine Timmerman is in the process of bringing it to life. You have probably seen some of of Lorraine’s work in the past, although without a signature: she has painted quite a few sets for the Ouachita Little Theatre that contributed to the success of the plays you have seen there.

How many more pieces of art can you find in our town?

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July: A Month of Fiber Art

Mena Art Gallery’s annual Fiber Arts Show is now openwith work in a wide variety of beautiful and useful pieces ranging from hand-pieced quilts to rugs to knitted lace shawls to hand-woven scarves to lined mittens or knitted Harry Potter bookmarks. And if you are a do-it-yourselfer, there is also hand-spun yarn in a variety of weights and colors.

In addition, some of our fiber artists have scheduled classes this month so that you can learn the basics of several skills:

Friday, July 2 Knitting

Friday, July 13 Drop Spindle Spinning

Thursday, July 19 Stamps Make Quilting Easy

Saturday, July 21 Textile Expert Brenda Horton will give a history and details of the    ancient “Boro” technique of quilting

Saturday, July 30 People’s Choice Award

For details, please check our website: http://www.MenaArtGallery.org.

On Friday, July 20, from 3 pm to 8 pm, the gallery will join the Downtown Partners “Christmas in July” with A Night at the Gallery. This will continue on Saturday, July 21. You may enter a drawing to win prints or greeting cards with artwork by some of our local artists.

For more information about any of this, drop by the gallery at 607 Mena Street during regular gallery hours of 11 am to 2 pm Tuesdays or 10 am to 3 pm Wednesdays through Saturdays. Or call the gallery at 479-394-3800 and talk to Whitney Espinoza, our Executive Director, or check out the website.

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Fiber’s The Thing at Mena Art Gallery

In July, Mena Art Gallery will be celebrating all the beautiful things that can be done with fiber. The exhibit will open on Friday, June 29 at 10 am. And we are joining with the Downtown Partners with a theme of “Christmas in July” for this show.

There will be a lot going on during this show with classes to introduce you to several forms of fiber art.

Friday, July 6, there will be an “Introduction to Knitting” class. If you have wondered if this craft is for you, here’s your opportunity to find out. We will have yarn and needles on hand that you may use. Of course, if you already have these, bring them along. Fee for the two hour class is $8.

Friday, July 13, at 5:30 there will be a Drop Spindle spinning class. This is the oldest and simplest way humans have created yarn from fiber and the perfect way to determine whether you want to learn to spin without investing in a spinning wheel. Fee for this class is $5 plus $10 for a kit which includes a spindle and two oz. of fiber.

Thursday July 19 textile expert Brenda Horton will have a “Stamps Make Quilting Easy” class. On Saturday July 21 at 1:00 pm she will present the history and details of the ancient “Boro” technique of quilting on a 100+ year-old local quilt.

We will accept entries on Tuesday, June 26, from 10 am to 4 pm. You can pick up an entry form with all details at the gallery, 607 Mena Street or download a copy from http://www.MenaArtGallery.org.

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