SWAAC seeks donations for ARTpark

By submitted, 11/13/17 1:35 PM


HOPE – The Southwest Arkansas Arts Council (SWAAC), in order to ensure that every artist, regardless of age, location, ethnicity, cultural background or degree of expertise, has the paint and supplies necessary to participate in the group’s ARTpark project, has started a program to underwrite the efforts student artists having a financial need.

The fund has collected $600 and additional donations will be allocated exclusively to the ARTpark.

The ARTpark, a one-of-a-kind project, which will include a 25,000-square-foot, permanent outdoor display of more than 110 original paintings and is an SWAAC Hempstead County bicentennial effort. Hempstead County celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2018.

Located in the 100 block of East Division Street across the street from the Amtrak Station and the SWAAC Arts Station, the project is being billed as the “world’s first” such outdoor art exhibit designed to reflect a region’s passion for art, as well as continuing to provide the needs of the driving and walking public.

George S. Smith, council executive director, said, “Two paintings – by C. Jason Smith, a former resident of Hope and a professor of English who recently retired to the Sutton Community in Nevada County, and Lilly Allen of Blevins, a fifth grader with an affinity for drawing animals – are in progress on the south sidewalk of the East Division behind Tailgater’s Restaurant.

“We are pleased with the first two efforts in that they display totally different styles (Smith is painting a woodlands scene with an example of his rural art specialty – a painted wood pallet, and Allen is painting a 120-square-foot owl’s head). They both are very impressive.”

The council is inviting any artist, family, church or school group, regardless of degree of art expertise, to contact the SWAAC . All that is required is a sketch or drawing or picture of the intended painting and meet the council’s guidelines and be assigned a space for the drawing.

Each artist is required to sign a contract stating he or she “owns” the space and when it needs refurbishing – estimated at five to seven years – the artist has the right to retain and maintain the space or relinquish it to another artist.

Artists are requested to provide paint or supplies (exterior, deck, marine or concrete paint; Rustoleum-type spray paint may also be used independently or as a base coat). The artist can also have a preference of having a base coat of exterior paint on the concrete sidewalk or parking space or using spray paint as the base.

The council may provide supplies in cases of financial support through a special donation program to underwrite the efforts of artists in need.

Smith said, “We are extremely happy that the first couple of painting will be finished before winter hits. For the most part, cold concrete and paint are natural enemies. We expect to sign up artists over the winter with extensive work being done in the spring and summer.”

The council is looking for a completion date prior to the December 15, 2018 finale of bicentennial activities.

“We are working with a variety of artists, from graffiti specialists to 3D artists to those interested in reproducing classic masterpieces,” Smith said. “The ARTpark will not only be esthetically and artistically pleasing but we expect it to be a major tourist attraction.”

Guidelines for inclusion in the ARTpark prohibit nudity, religious images and any painting with a political theme.

He urged anyone who has an interest in being a part of this unique undertaking or who knows of an artist who would be interested in the project to contact the council.

Anyone wanting to sponsor a young artist in need can send a check to Southwest Arkansas Arts Council, P.O. Box, 1004, Hope, AR, 71802. The SWAAC is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible.



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