Northwest Arkansas is in itself a work of art. Nature has painted the region in a diverse palette of colors and textures creating the magnificent scenery of the Ozarks. But our impressive natural landscape is not the only reason people love to explore Northwest Arkansas. A walk through our town centers will reveal another side to the region: vibrant murals cover the walls of buildings and public sculptures dot the landscape, giving each of our urban areas its own unique flare. Local, national, and international artists are actively recruited and given platforms to express themselves in our public spaces—each enhancing people's experience of the region.
Below, we've shared two of the latest public art initiatives and an art event set to enliven the region in the not too distant future.
Call for Artists: Siloam Springs Memorial Park Art Installment Project
"This project offers a special opportunity to help tell the story of the Siloam Springs community. The selected artist should consider involving local partners, such as the nearby library, tapping knowledge of local historians, researching images and information about the park site, or involving local residents from different generations and perspectives. The end result should generate civic pride in the project and the park." - City of Siloam Springs
The City of Siloam Springs and Forecast Public Art are calling muralists to work on a triangular concrete wall in the Memorial Park—at the base of the Veterans Memorial Plaza—, which is expected to become the newest civic space of the park. They are looking for artists who are capable of portraying the story of the Siloam Springs community, turning this wall into a meaningful focal point of the park. "The wall could accommodate a mural, mosaic, low relief, or some other type of artistic treatment," reads the City of Siloam Springs website.
The deadline for submissions is March 15 at 4 pm. Among the required qualifications (according to the basic requirements of this project), applicants must be experienced in visual arts or artist teams and must live within 200 miles of Siloam Springs. Find out more HERE.
Art in the Paint 🏀
Students have been selected to design and implement a public art project for Memorial Park's 16 basketball courts. This is a collaborative effort between the Parks and Recreation Department, Bentonville Public Schools' Ignite students—a program that immerses high school students in a professional environment under the supervision of mentors—and Runway NWA—a group based in Bentonville focused on revitalizing public spaces to enrich the community. Runway NWA has worked on other courts in Northwest Arkansas, including the courts at the Jones Center in Springdale and Olive Street Park in Rogers (pictured above).
These students will paint designs that will last at least a decade, as the courts usually need to be sealed every 10 years. The students will use a slip-resistant stain instead of paint to achieve this. The Bentonville school board has already approved the project as a concept, so students can start developing a design that will need to be approved by the Public Art Committee and the City Council in order to to be implemented.
Volunteers Needed for Eureka Springs School of Arts Spring Event
"In the belief that art is vital to the human spirit, we are committed to cultivating, promoting and encouraging artistic expression by providing art education opportunities in a unique environment of beauty and creativity."—Eureka Springs School of Art
And if you are looking to get "hands-on" with the Northwest Arkansas' art scene, The Eureka Springs School of Arts (ESSA) is looking for volunteers to help out with ESSA's Spring Fundraiser Hands on ESSA!, which will take place on March 31 from 3 pm to 6 pm. ESSA needs people to assist at the various art stations and at their check-in/check-out table. This is a great way of getting involved with the local arts, as there will be hands-on demonstrations of woodturning and wood carving, blacksmithing, jewelry making, multiple types of clay work, and more. Participants will be able to try out their hand in these activities and create something special by themselves. The event will also feature a raffle and a silent auction of postcard-sized art. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 479-253-5384.
Each time we encounter a piece of public art, we encounter the visual storytelling of Northwest Arkansas—stories of who we are and who we strive to be.