The Art of Hair at Mena Art Gallery


Your local art gallery is bringing you an exhibit that is in our tradition of embracing all forms of art, and this one is truly new to us: The Art of Hair.

Artists will have two entry opportunities: photography (with before and after photographs) and mannequin. There are four categories under photography: braid, color, cut, and style.

The theme for the mannequin is Xanadu: anything imaginative, magnificent, beautiful. Let your imagination go wild

Entries will be accepted on Tuesday, February 27 at the gallery (607 Mena Street) from 10 am to 4 pm.

There will be a reception and awards ceremony on Saturday, March 3, from 1 to 3 pm. Awards will be presented around 2 pm.

You will find entry forms on the gallery website, You may call the gallery at 479-394-3880 if you have questions. Or better still, stop by and see the current exhibit, Portrait of Arkansas, at the same time you get answers.

This show is sponsored by University of Arkansas Rich Mountain.

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Mena Art Gallery: 2018

I have been working with Mena Art Gallery for over a dozen years and have seen it grow and change. Here are some of the things planned for 2018:

Two national juried painting competitions will bring the best work from artists all over the U.S. Artists can enter either or both by posting photographs of their work online; a jury of three artists will select the best work and those artists will send their paintings to the gallery. We especially welcome local artists to both shows—there are special awards for the best Arkansas entries. More details are available at

In February, we will have our first “Portrait of Arkansas” exhibit featuring a variety of artists’ concepts of what our state means to each.

We have several other new exhibits this year: The Art of Hair, Photography, and Fiber Arts to name just a few. Our annual Young Artists Competition is open to all our up-and-coming artists.

The gallery will take part in the annual Ouachita Arts Celebration in November: an opportunity to see what is happening in the many different aspects of art in our community.

We hold workshops with local artists teaching the basics of many different aspects of art, most recently a series of classes on drawing skills and an ongoing series on creating pencil portraits.

There are monthly classes for young people: one for children 6 to 12 years old and another for teenagers and beginner adults. Our classes for the younger artists are on hold for this month as our instructor, Deborah Longest, recently passed away. She will be missed; she did a great job. The classes will resume as soon as we can find another qualified instructor.

And for those of you who don’t care for organized classes, there is Art Day every Tuesday from 11 am to 2 pm. Artists come and go to work on current projects and to visit with each other. You are welcome to join them either to work on any project that is portable enough to bring or just to watch and join the conversations. It’s always fun.

Some of the concepts we are working on include some videos teaching basic art skills and once-a-month Brown Bag Lunches where you bring your lunch to the gallery and one of our artists will demonstrate some aspect of art. We’ll tell you about these as soon as they are available.

As many of you know, we are a 501(C)3 non-profit corporation: we are funded primarily from membership fees and donations from many generous and supportive businesses and individuals in our community.

We have one part-time employee: Julie Vande Zande does a great job as Executive Director. Most of the people who greet you when you come into the gallery are volunteers who give of their time to make it possible to keep the gallery open. If you would like to join their ranks, talk to Julie: there is a task to match whatever skills and time you can bring. Another way to support the gallery is by becoming a member: memberships start at $20 per year and keep you up-to-date on whatever is going on by our monthly newsletter.

You can also keep up with what is going on by checking our website: You are welcome to attend our monthly Board of Directors meetings held on the second Tuesday of each month at 5:30 pm. Your ideas and suggestions are always welcome and we would love to have you take part!

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Mena Art Gallery is Working with the “Cash Mob”

The “Cash Mob” is a creation of Mena’s Downtown Partners, a group of merchants in the Mena Arts District who are working to help Mena grow.

They (approximately 10 to 15 ladies) meet at 10 am the second Saturday of each month for coffee and snacks, a couple of planned activities, and to draw the name of the store to be mobbed. They then conspicuously parade down Mena Street with music and balloons to the store chosen for the month to spend $20 each. They met at the gallery this past Saturday.

Our gallery is in the hat and will be drawn at some point as the “target of the month.” If you are interested in joining the fun, you can pick up information at the gallery (607 Mena Street) about when and where the Mob will meet in February. It’s a great way to meet new people, find out more about what Mena has to offer in the shopping department, and have a good time while helping to support our local merchants.
And the end result of all this will be a healthier economy for your home town and a growing, thriving arts district.

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Portrait of Arkansas

The February Exhibit at Mena Art Gallery will be An Artist’s Portrait of Arkansas, the Natural State. Each artist will find something that means “Arkansas” to them and that will be the subject of their work.

Entries can be in any media: Paintings, photographs, drawings, pen and ink, and three-dimensional work will be included.

This will be a judged show, open to nonmembers as well as members. Entries must include a description of the work, including the date, location, and the artist’s thoughts about
the subject on a card to be exhibited with the work. For details, see the gallery website:

Not an artist? Then mark your calendar for January 31 through February 24 to see the exhibit and find out whether there is an artist out there who sees the same things in our state that you do. Or you may find that there are aspects of our beautiful state that you have not yet noticed. Reception will be from 1 to 3 pm on February 3; regular gallery hours are from 11 am to 2 pm on Tuesdays and 10 am to 3 pm Wednesdays through Saturdays.

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Mena Art Gallery’s 2018 Exhibits

2018 is shaping up to be a banner year for your local art gallery, and we’d like to give you a “heads up” on what is coming in the not too distant future.

In February, a new concept exhibit will open: Portrait of Arkansas. Each artist entering the show is going to portray through art their concept of what the Natural State is like. And, just as there is a great deal of variety between the Delta, the Ozarks, and the Ouachitas, we expect to see, through the eyes of our local artists, all the things our state means to them.

In March, another new concept will take the stage: The Art of Hair. Hair artists will compete in several categories with before and after pictures. There will also be a hair/head manikin competition. Follow our website and facebook page for more information as we get closer to this exhibit.

The annual Young Artists Competition will take center stage in April with the reception scheduled for March 31. Many of these young artists have been taking classes at the gallery all year, but the show is open to all young artists with categories to include everything from photography to sculpture.

May will bring the second annual National Small Works Show with entries accepted from all parts of the United States. If the second Small Works competition is anything like the first, you will see some exceptional work.

The summer and fall will include: the Photography Show; Americana Open Show; Ouachita Expressions; Fur, Fin & Feathers; the fourth annual National Juried Painting Competition; and the annual Christmas Gifts Show. The gallery will also participate in the Ouachita Arts Celebration on November 3.

Stop by the gallery at 607 Mena Street and pick up the 2018 schedule and see the 2018 Artists’ Garage Sale. You can also follow us on Facebook as well as our website:

It’s going to be a great year and we hope you will enjoy it with us!

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Artists’ Garage Sale

Mena Art Gallery will have its annual Artists’ Garage Sale during January, 2018. You will find work exclusively by local artists in all media, but that is just the beginning: it is also a time when artists bring in art supplies. It gives the artist a chance to clear out unused supplies and gives the rest of us an opportunity to pick up supplies to try something new at very little expense.

If you are an artist who has decided to switch from oils to watercolors (or watercolors to oils, for that matter), you can find a market here and clear up your studio space at the same time. If you have always wanted to try a new medium, here’s your chance to do that without straining the budget. Or if you just want to try your hand at creating art work, chances are that you can find the supplies you need to start here.

Don’t quite know what to do with those supplies yet? Bring them to the Tuesday Art Day at the gallery. Artists of all skill levels come and go between 11 am and 2 pm, each working on whatever project they prefer and all willing to help beginners learn.

Entries for the show should be brought to the gallery between 10 am and 4 pm on Tuesday, January 2. You can find entry forms and more information at or you can call the gallery at 479-394-3880 during regular gallery hours: 11 am to 2 pm Tuesdays and 10 am to 3 pm Wednesdays through Saturdays.

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Portrait Drawing Class

We have rescheduled the Portrait Drawing Class that Barbara Tobias will conduct in January because a couple of people asked that we do it during the day so they would not have to drive at night. This four session class will take place 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm on Mondays, January 8, 15, 22, and 29.

Barbara will concentrate on standard proportions for male and female faces and how to alter them to reflect individuality of the person sitting for the portrait.

The class will be working primarily with graphite pencils, although those who prefer to work in charcoal or another drawing medium can do so.

Supplies needed are a sketch pad (at least 8.5 inches by 11 inches), one or more pencils, and a kneaded eraser. Barbara will supply paper for a final drawing to give students the chance to see the difference that quality of paper can make.

If you are interested in taking the class, please call the gallery at 479-394-3880 to register as space in our classroom is limited.

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