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Arkansas, the state that gave us Bill Clinton, Johnny Cash and graphic novelist Nate Powell, is brimming with artistic talent and innovative spaces in which to showcase it. From an open air sculpture garden and a suburban garage transformed into an arts space in Little Rock, to a popular new American arts museum in Bentonville, Arkansas is putting itself on the map as a must see arts destination.
Established in 1992, the Walton Arts Centre is a unique, multi-purpose space that aims to bring artists and performers from across the globe to Northwest Arkansas to engage its residents and visitors in the arts. Located in picturesque Fayetteville, the Walton Arts Centre features several gallery spaces including the Joy Pratt Markham Gallery – a visual arts space dedicated to showcasing the works of contemporary up and coming and internationally recognised artists. The centre has exhibited the work of contemporary Oklahoma-based Native-American artists Anita Fields, who works with ceramics, Tony Tiger, who blends photography and tribal designs in his canvasses, and sculptural artist Tasha Lewis whose last exhibition at the centre, The Herd and The Swarm, featured 17 sculptures of gazelles, antelopes and impalas.
Gallery 26 was established in 1995 and for nearly 20 years has been dedicated to bringing the most exciting and cutting edge art from artists based in Central Arkansas to its visitors. The deceptively large gallery is located within the historic Ice House Centre on Little Rock’s winding, boutique and restaurant lined Kavanaugh Boulevard in the historic Hillcrest neighbourhood. With an open-minded ethos, Gallery 26 accepts contributions from artists working across a number of mediums including painting, photography, sculpture and glass-based art. Exhibitions at Gallery 26 have included works by Little Rock based photojournalist Benjamin Krain, portrait photographer Jennifer Heimbaugh, and painters Jason Smith, Logan Hunter and Holly Moore Reding, whose work responds critically to the idea of mass culture.