BY MICHAEL REISIG –
Chris Head will tell you his family has history here in Mena. His family came here from Germany by way of Chicago – “coming over on the boat,” he said, “like so many others.” In fact, his family was already here when the first train passed through Mena.
Head attended Mena High School and graduated there in 1981. He went on to Arkansas Tech, studying geology, and from there attended Oklahoma State where he majored in Geology.
“I have enjoyed the natural sciences since the seventh grade,” he explained. “I aimed my college education toward getting into the oil business, but it had already boomed and past by the time I got out of school, so I ended up taking a regular job. I went to work for Hobby Lobby in Wichita, and later in Colorado Springs, and I found I liked the arts and the physical part of the arts, such as framing.
“I had lots of artists in my family, so I found myself involved in the appreciation of the endeavor – I wasn’t particularly artistic myself but I enjoyed crafts and I found a way to turn that into a profession. I bought my first matt cutter in the mid-90s and became involved in framing. But when I returned to Polk County, Mena already had an arts and crafts store, so I got involved in custom picture framing.”
Head explained that although anyone can frame a picture, there is without a doubt, a talent in finding the right frame for the right picture. Chris Head developed that talent over the years, and today there are people who come from as far away as Dallas and Fort Worth to have him frame their pictures.
“It’s not just about being artistic, it’s also about preservation and conservation,” he explained. “For example, I framed/preserved a letter from the founding father, Thomas Jefferson a few years ago, which was quite valuable, and that was exciting and challenging.
“Most of the things I frame have special meaning to people and there’s a great deal of satisfaction in that aspect,” he added.
Completely aside from his framing, he takes care of a unique family farm. The Head family also owns a 10-acre farm where they raise horses and miniature donkeys, and they have special carts for riding. Head says there’s nothing like a donkey ride to relax you – they’re not exactly in a hurry.
“Donkey’s are great teachers, and you can learn a lot from them,” he said. “They’re far more intelligent that you would think. In fact, there are parables in the Bible about how intelligent a donkey can be. Years ago I became friends with Dr. and Mrs. Floyd, who raise miniature donkeys in Murfreesboro. From there I purchased a few. They live up to 50 years, so when you get one you can expect a long-time companionship from the creature.”
Head attends the First Christian Church and sings in the choir there. He also plays saxophone for the church, and for his own pleasure, and has been doing so since high school.
“I like Mena, it’s a great place, but I like to get away occasionally,” he added. “I go to Marti Gras every year, and I make it over to Nashville once a year as well, but it’s always nice to come back to the great people of this area. This is home.”