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Mena Arkansas News covering Polk County and the surrounding area

Expressing the Ouachitas: Mena Art Gallery’s Longest-Running Show

By Trey Youngdahl

Judging has been finalized on the 2021 Ouachita Expressions show. Starting in 2002 after the gallery moved into its new building, this is the oldest running show from the gallery. The Expressions show is a multimedia art show with a broad range of mediums for different tastes and interests, setting this show apart from others the gallery hosts. 

This exhibit showcases art in several different forms including paintings, blown glass, photography, and woven pine needle baskets. Due to its broad scope of both medium and subject matter, the show has become so popular that it has been extended to run until May 1, a week over what was originally scheduled. 

Not only is this exhibit eclectic in it’s art forms, but also in it’s contributing artists. The youngest artist in the show is 14 year old Emmaline Rath. The oldest artist who participated in the show is in their 80’s. Because The Mena Art Gallery is all-inclusive, any aspiring artist who wants to get involved is encouraged to join and become a Southwest Artist member. 

“The Mena Art Gallery is one of the best kept secrets in town. We don’t want to continue being a secret.” Lynn said. “Even if you can’t do art, it’s free to come in and appreciate it.” 

There are several benefits afforded to artists who join. Because every piece in the gallery is for sale, it’s a great way to not only contribute to the community, but also to make money from your art. 

Local artist Jim Brace shared what inspires his art work.

“Painting faces comes from way back when – when I was a kid. I saw the pop art of the soup cans and contemporary art of the era,” Brace said. “The pop art at the time was heavy into the faces in that style, and that was very influential to me.” 

For more information, you can visit The Mena Art Gallery is located in the downtown arts district at downtown Mena Street across from the Ouachita Little Theatre. They are open Wednesday through Saturday, from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. 

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