BY BARBARA M. TOBIAS –
After all, admission is free to almost all the events at the gallery. Why bother?
There are a number of reasons, and high on the list is that the gallery is a non-profit organization doing a great many things for our city:
• We bring nationally recognized artists here to display their work at least once a year and frequently more often.
• We provide a place for local artists to display and sell their work, gain experience, and have an opportunity to join those nationally recognized ranks.
• We host many groups with special interests: writing, photography, and fiber arts to name a few.
• We offer children’s classes to fill the gap in what our public schools are able to provide.
• We bring tourists to Mena, and that helps to strengthen local businesses.
• We present an annual celebration of the arts: Ouachita Arts Celebration. The 2014 Celebration was a great success, and plans are already well underway for 2015.
• We are in the process of developing an annual National Juried Painting Competition that will bring the work of around 80 or 90 of our nation’s best artists here for you to enjoy. This will also bring tourists: the artists themselves as well as art collectors who seek to buy their work. Watch your local paper for more information on that later in the year.
But all of this is not really free: we must pay for utilities and building maintenance, the salary of our one employee, and all the other normal business expenses. Dues (which are only $20 per year for an individual) go a long way toward meeting these expenses, so if you have not renewed your membership for 2015 or have never been a member, please either go online at www.MenaArtGallery.org, click on Membership, and download the form so you can tell us who you are and what you want from the gallery. You may either send in the form and your check or (much more fun!) drop by the gallery, talk to Julie VandeZande, our Executive Director, or one of our volunteers, and enjoy what’s on display while you are at it. The annual Three-Dimensional Artwork Exhibit is up now, and gallery hours are 11 am to 2 pm on Tuesdays and 10 am to 3 pm Wednesdays through Saturdays.
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