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National Juried Painting Competition


SouthWest Artists has been enlivening the art scene in Mena for 70 years now. A few years ago, it opened Mena Art Gallery to provide a place for local artists to show and sell their work and for the people of our town to enjoy artwork of a steadily increasing quality. Over the past few years, we have begun showing the work of regionally and nationally recognized artists in addition to shows of the work of local artists. A few that you might remember are Bill Garrison, Carol Katchen, Tyrone Lewis and Barry Thomas.

Photography has also emerged as an art form in its own right and we have photographers showing their work from all around the state. One especially well-known photographer whose work has appeared here is Tim Ernst. Greg Disch from Fort Smith will be filling Mena Art Gallery with beautiful photographs during the month of September.

About a year ago, we gathered our courage and started planning a national juried painting competition to bring world-class art to Mena. It is happening this October with a reception to open the show on Sunday afternoon, October 11. A collection of 51 outstanding paintings will be on display from then until the end of October.

There are a number of other events planned around the opening of the show: a plein air painting workshop by Bill Garrison; a workshop on “How to Paint Beautiful Water” by our judge of awards, Nancy Meadows Taylor; and a Photo Shoot and Paint Out to take you to see some of the most scenic spots around here. You can find details on all of these on our website:

Drop by your local gallery at 607 Mena Street to see some of the best in artwork in the country. We’re right in the middle of what is becoming recognized as the Mena Art District

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