BY BARBARA M. TOBIAS –
As I’m sure many of you know, we are first and foremost an art gallery: We have different exhibits almost every month so there is always something interesting and beautiful on the walls. Right now it is the annual Ouachita Expressions competition. But that’s only the beginning: there’s something going on almost every day.
Art Day on Tuesdays has been popular for over four years now. A group of artists—sometimes two or three and sometimes six or eight—bring their current projects and meet in the classroom from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Some work in watercolors, some in pen and ink, some in colored pencil or watercolor pencil, some in clay. You never know who will be here or what new media you might find out about on Tuesdays.
Recently another group has begun meeting at the gallery on Tuesdays also, fiber artists. Knitting, crochet, spinning, weaving—there is a bit of all of it from time to time. And since they all like to talk as well, the name they have come up with is Yarns and Yarns.
A couple of Fridays a month, a group of writers gathers in the classroom to go over work each has produced and help each other with editing. Sometimes they work on the nuts and bolts of writing, grammar and punctuation. Other times they will discuss other tools in the writers’ kit like similes, metaphors, characterization, dialog, or plot. And occasionally they have poetry sessions to learn more about how poems are constructed.
The second Saturday of each month, a group of photographers gathers in that same classroom to critique photos and discuss all the arcane things photographers have to know to produce the beautiful shots you see in many of the gallery exhibits. There is also a monthly challenge where they decide on what subject matter each is to shoot and compare the results at the following meeting. They also schedule photo shoots now and then.
There are a variety of classes at the gallery, almost all of which are taught by gallery members. Right now there is an ongoing class on watercolor. There is a monthly children’s class tailored to the needs of the 6 to 12 year olds who will be tomorrow’s great artists. Classes are scheduled whenever we find a sufficient number of people who would like to take the class and a qualified instructor to teach it.
Each month, just prior to the members’ meeting, there is a short program about some aspect of art. The September meeting was about Turkey and the beautiful architecture in Istanbul; the October meeting will be about Native American drumming with a group of Mena residents who happen to be Native American doing the presentation.
There is also a store area in the gallery now where you will always find art for sale.
If any of these sound appealing to you, you are welcome to join the fun. Call the gallery at 479-394-3880 to get details. Most are free.