Paint the Ouachitas

Known for it’s natural beauty and diversity of foliage and wildlife, Polk County has been officially named by the Arkansas Parks and Tourism as a PLEIN AIR CENTER. The term, “Plein Air” refers to artists who work outdoors in the “Fresh Air” as opposed to a studio. Artists gather from across the United States to paint together, network and learn in organized gatherings. It’s a fun occasion for everyone from the beginner artist to professionals. Skills and techniques are shared, while friendships are made.

SouthWest Artists, Inc. and the Mena Art Gallery will sponsor their “3RD ANNUAL PAINT THE OUACHITA’S” Paint Out in connection with their two annual National Art Shows. These premier shows often include painting done by skilled artists in a Plein Air setting, competing with and against some of the top artists in the United States and Canada for attractive cash prizes.

First of the two national shows is the SMALL WORKS NATIONAL COMPETITION. Eighty-five carefully selected, small paintings will be shown during the month of September. The show opens with a private awards ceremony and reception in which a Silent Auction of unique items will be sold. Members and guests are invited to attend. New members registering during the reception will receive a special 16 month membership, as opposed to the usual 12. More information is available at the Mena Art Gallery, 607 Mena Street, or by phoning 479-394-3880.

Following in October is the most professional show of the season, the NATIONAL ART OF THE HEARTLAND COMPETITION, bringing art to our community that rivals that seen in the most professional galleries. More information will follow. This is an exciting and inspirational show you won’t want to miss.

This year “PAINT THE OUACHITAS” will include two separate days, on two varied locations, with lunch furnished each day. The dates are September 30 and October 1, 2017. Registration may be done through the Mena Art Gallery or online here: The locations include a 600 acre cattle ranch through which the Ouachita River flows with picturesque mountain views, outbuildings, fields, woods and, of course, cattle. Next the artists will gather at the Queen Wilhelmina State Park, affording everything from mountain views, wooded trails, to a steam locomotive and rustic stone buildings.
Everyone is invited to take advantage of this annual experience. Come join the fun!

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