Arkansas Literary Festival Announces Banned Books Week Writing Contest 


The Central Arkansas Library System’s (CALS) Arkansas Literary Festival will hold a Banned Books Week writing contest beginning Thursday, September 1. The contest is based on the classic book, A Thousand and One Nights, also known as the Arabian Nights. All entries must be received by Monday, September 19.  Contest entries will be accepted via mail and e-mail.
This year’s Banned Books Week is September 25-October 1.

The rules and submission guidelines for the Banned Books Writing Contest are as follows:
  1. Pulaski and Perry County residents are eligible.
  2. Entries should be in the form of a short story and no fewer than 50 words and no more than 500 words in length.
  3. All stories should include the character of either Sindbad the Sailor or Shahrazad.
  4. One entry per person.
  5. On the first page of each submission, include the author’s name, age, address, email, and telephone number, and, if under age 18, a parent’s signature. Please submit entries to Arkansas Literary Festival Arabian Nights Contest, c/o Brad Mooy, 100 Rock Street, Little Rock, AR 72201
  6. Please submit e-mail entries to If the writer is under age 18, please include a parent’s name, phone number, and email address.
  7. Entries will be accepted beginning September 1. All entries must be received by September 19.
  8. Handwritten entries will be accepted from authors under age 12. All other entries must be  typed.
The contest will award one $300 grand prize and three $100 honorable mention prizes. One honorable mention prize will be awarded for each age group: under 12 years, ages 12 to 17 years, and 18 years and above. The grand prize winner can come from any age group. Winning entries will be selected based on creativity, flow, style, originality, and their fit with the rest of the tales.
Arabian Nights is a collection of nearly 400 folk tales, short stories, parables, fables, and morality tales including the characters of Aladdin, Sindbad, Ali Baba, and the framework story of King Shahryar and Shahrazad. Protest against the book have occurred as recently as 2010. In Egypt, it has been challenged for sexuality, offensive language, and “passages which posed a threat to the country’s moral fabric.” Even in the United States, U.S. Customs delayed English imports of the book during the 1920s. 
Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. The week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.

For more information, visit

Fort Smith’s The Unexpected announces 2016 line-up, expands to Fayetteville

The Unexpected, organized by 64.6 Downtown has finalized it’s artist line up for the event taking place in downtown Fort Smith, ArkansasSeptember 2-11. The artist line-up, curated by JUSTKIDS, includes Alexis Diaz, Okuda San Miguel, Guido Van Helten, Jaz, Pastel, Faith 47, Bordalo II, Cyrcle and returning artists D*Face and Maser.

Alexis Diaz will open The Unexpected beginning his mural the weekend of August 26 in Fayetteville.

“We had the pleasure to bring exceptional artists last year and the impact and response of Fort Smith was very positive. We are coming back with a brand new program including a variety of Art interventions such as installations, performances, videos and murals ” says Curator Charlotte Dutoit from JUSTKIDS.

Thursday, September 1 will see the kick off celebration at UAFS-Windgate Art and Design with the opening of Maser’s installation entitled Argon, an immersive sensory exhibit where visitors are encouraged to become part of the three dimensional canvas. Argon is sponsored by the UAFS Foundation and in collaboration with the UAFS Chancellor’s Coalition for the Visual Arts.

Says Mary Lackie, vice chancellor for University Advancement, “We love having the chance to invite the community to campus and to give people the opportunity to see what a wonderful facility we have in Windgate Art & Design, thanks to the generous gift from the Windgate Charitable Foundation. Hosting an artist installation on campus affords our faculty and students the opportunity to work and engage with an internationally known artist. This is the kind of value-added experience that we want to be able to provide for our students.”

“We are pleased to continue to bring innovative works to Arkansas and to introduce the state to new urban contemporary artists,” says event organizer Claire Kolberg. “Our continued partnership with UAFS and the community has had a positive impact by furthering our commitment to establishing creative spaces in Arkansas.”

Additional programming includes a mural designed and executed by the UAFS art department and students as well as a collaborative mural between Northside and Southside High Schools.

This year’s event was made possible by generous contributions from ArcBest, Arvest, BHC Insurance, Breeden Dodge, First National Bank, Fort Smith A&P, Ghan and Cooper Commercial Properties, Hanna Oil and Gas, Melanie Radcliff, CPA Inc., Mercy, OG&E, OK Foods, Penny Packard, Propak Corp, The Pruitt Family, Rheem, Slim Chickens, Sparks, UAFS Foundation in cooperation with the UAFS Chancellor’s Coalition for the Visual Arts, and Zero Mountain.

For more information including artist information and building locations visit

JUSTKIDS is a dynamic interface that conceives, produces and promotes comprehensive art projects on an international scale with some of the world’s most engaging artists, curators and strategic consultants. Founded in 2014 JUSTKIDS supports a diverse team of inspirational pros and upcoming talents to meet the demands of a constantly evolving audience, delivering public Art, gallery shows, Artist tour and branding, offering new consumer experiences with top tier visual artists. JUSTKIDS is the creator and producer of some of most innovative large-scale art events and the consultant for some of the leading Art institution and lifestyle brand.

Stay connected on @justkidsofficial on Instagram and Facebook and visit for more information.

64.6 Downtown is a Fort Smith non-profit committed to creating vibrant spaces in Arkansas. For more information visit

Thea Foundation rebrands “Governor’s Culinary Challenge” as “Blue Plate Special,” sets October date

Thea Foundation is putting a new spin on the fundraiser known for the past three years as the Governor’s Culinary Challenge. In keeping with the culinary theme, the revamped and renamed Blue Plate Special, presented by Malvern National Bank and chaired by South on Main’s Chef Matthew Bell, will combine the talents of 10 touted chefs and two mixologists in support of Thea Foundation’s scholarship program.

From 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, October 17, 2016, guests will indulge in creative, delicious treats by celebrated chefs, sip unique cocktails from local drink gurus, and mingle with artists, musicians, poets and media personalities, who will assist the chefs. Our chefs include: Matthew Bell, South on Main; Capi Peck, Trio’s; Payne Harding, Cache; Zara Abassi Wilkerson, private pastry chef/dessert consultant; Gilbert Alaquinez, Forty-Two; Marc Guizol, Capital Bar & Grill; Brian Kearns, Simply the Best Catering; Jeff Owen, Ciao Baci; Stephen Burrow, Skye’s Bistro at Stratton’s Market; and Shiem Swift, The Veg. Mixologists are David Burnette, of South on Main, and Luiggi Uzcategui, of Big Orange Midtown.

Assisting the chefs and mixologists will be Korto Momolu, fashion designer and Project Runway star; Kevin Kresse, artist; Kim Meyer-Webb, editor, Inviting Arkansas; Renee Shapiro, reporter and film critic, KATV News; James Hayes, glass artist; Chris James, poet, mentor and founder of The House of Art; Chris Kane, anchor, KATV News; Lisa Fischer, morning show host, B98.5; Katie Bridges, editor, Arkansas Life; Rodney Block, musician; Helaine Williams, columnist, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; and Greg Henderson, editor, Rock City Eats. Dr. Danny Fletcher and Co. will provide the music for the evening. Chef Matthew Bell, chair of the event, is a longtime supporter of the Thea Foundation and was part of Thea’s Governor’s Culinary Challenge the past three years.

“As a former musician in high school and college, I believe that practicing an art form can make our lives fuller and better,” Bell said. “The discipline, dedication and creativity I learned from 10 years of playing music helps me today as a business owner and a chef. By fighting for arts in education, the Thea Foundation is not only providing our students with a well-rounded education, they’re laying the groundwork for the betterment of these children’s future.”

All proceeds from the Blue Plate Special will benefit Thea’s scholarship program. Additionally, the Charles A. Frueauff Foundation has offered a challenge grant of $25,000 to match the first $25,000 raised by the Blue Plate Special.

Thea’s scholarship program has awarded more than $2 million to Arkansas high school seniors since 2002. Thea scholarships are awarded based on talent and creativity, never grades, test scores or intent to major in the arts. Our 30 annual scholarships are open to high school and homeschool seniors in the categories of visual arts, performing arts, fashion design, film, creative writing, and poetry slam. Thea partners with every 4-year and 2-year college in the state of Arkansas and several national institutions, who promise to match or exceed Thea’s scholarships.

The Blue Plate Special is presented by Malvern National Bank and sponsored by Southland Park Gaming and Racing; Ben E. Keith; and The Capital Hotel. Individual tickets to the Blue Plate Special are $75 and are available online at or by phone at (501) 379-9512. For more information about the Blue Plate Special, please visit and select “Blue Plate Special” from the dropdown menu “What We Do,” or call 501-379-9512.

Fayetteville Underground to host “Ambiguity” by Lisa Krannichfeld & “GLITCH” video art exhibit in September

Suit (in green) 1500pxThe Fayetteville Underground invites you to our First Thursday opening reception for the exhibition, Ambiguity and Glitch on Thursday, September 1 from 5 to 9 pm. The show will run through September 30.

This exhibition showcases the stunning and award winning multi media portraits of Little Rock artist, Lisa Krannichfeld, and, a curated exhibit of local and national artists exposing “glitch” in visual technology. Music will be provided by Second Line Strings, a gypsy jazz and swing band. Admission is free and beer and wine will be available by donation.


Lisa was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, in an interesting mix of a Chinese family living in the American South. Her experiences growing up in these two intermixing cultures and their traditions have greatly informed her work, which primarily focuses on the woman as its subject. Her expressive portraits refute the traditional portrayal of women being passive subjects to gaze upon, evident in their disinterested and at times defiant expressions. Lisa often uses traditional Chinese ink and watercolor material in a nontraditional and uncontrolled, free-flowing way.

About Ambiguity

“There is an irresistible drive in us as humans to define things, people, and experiences we have into categories; clear of ambiguity, mystery, and confusion. Evolutionarily, you could argue this instinct has helped us interpret the world around us in more efficient ways and helped us to avoid potentially dangerous encounters. While this powerful impulse can be helpful in some instances, it most certainly rejects a sense of discovery, curiosity, and tolerance for the unknown and unfamiliar when placed in the context of contemporary social order. This collection of expressionistic portraits refutes the impulse to categorize the female gender – a rigid category that shapes a woman’s life in immeasurable ways from the moment of birth. These portraits celebrate ambiguity in emotion and intention; unshackling categorization all while calling attention to the viewer’s innate impulse to revert back to clear definition.”


GLITCH is a show comprised of local and national artists who push the limits of visual technology. It features both print and video installations. The artists circuit-bend VHS players, convert images to audio and back again, combine stop motion animations and data corruption, find out what darkness looks like to a camera, print Snapchat filter glitches with 17th century processes, and rip the seams from seamless panoramas.

Corey Johnson: Corey’s use of limited tools and circuit bending techniques to craft glitch work provides a narrow but deep meditation on nostalgia, nightmares, and the relationship of humanity and technology.

Kaia Hodo: Kaia treats the image like a song. She opens photos in a music editing program, to interpret the picture data as sound. From there she mixes in clips of songs and adds effects, treating the waveform like a collage. After exporting the sound file back out as a bitmap, the alterations to the waveform translated as alterations to the data for the picture.

C Alex Clark: What does a camera see in the dark? C will photograph complete darkness – usually with the lens cap on. He then uses image editing software to repeatedly bring out detail until something emerges. What exactly we are seeing in the final product is unclear.

Nihil Minus: Nihil is inspired by the fluxus movement, technological failure, and the mathematics & textures of analog waveforms and signals. She makes videos, net art, installations, live visuals, and experiments at the intersection of art and technology.

Wanbli Gamache: Wanbli combines stop motion, glitch manipulation, audio, and portraits to collage a survey of organic and synthetic materials being broken down by erosion and weathering.

Helen Maringer: Helen uses a technique involving the latest Snapchat filters and almost no light to get the lowest resolution possible in her portraits for a dreamy effect and prints them using the Cyanotype photographic process, used as early as 1842.

Becca Jones: The purpose of the panorama function in the iphone is to create a seamless and static image. Becca abuses this function to rip the seams out of the image and create a patchwork view of moments in time.

The free Gallery and retail store is open to the public Thursday through Saturday 10am–7pm located at 101 W. Mountain St. Fayetteville, AR 72701. For more information on artists and events go to


Justus Fine Art Gallery announces September show with Jennifer Libby Fay, Donnie Copeland, Robyn Horn & Dolores Justus

Fay_unfold the sky-2rev2
Unfold the Sky by Jennifer Libby Fay
The September exhibit at Justus Fine Art Gallery will showcase new work by textile artist Jennifer Libby Fay with selections from her recent solo exhibit Tentative Resolve at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. New painted paper on canvas “Striations” by Donnie Copeland will also be featured, along with work by Robyn Horn, Dolores Justus and others. The exhibit will open with a reception on Friday, September 2 from 5-9 p.m., in conjunction with the monthly Hot Springs Gallery Walk. The show will be on display September 2 – 30, 2016.
An accomplished handweaver and fiber artist, Fay’s current body of work focuses primarily on textile surface design and multiple dying techniques, embellishments and fabric manipulation. Fay’s colorful abstract and modern textiles have been included in exhibitions and collections throughout the U.S. Recent solo exhibitions of Fay’s work include: Tentative Resolve, University of Arkansas Fort Smith, Exhibition Gallery, Fort Smith, AR (2016); Windfall, Smith Ranch Gallery, San Rafael, CA (2014); Winds of Change, Primary Colors Gallery, Independence, MO (2013);  Rubicon, Arts Center of the Ozarks, Springdale, AR (2012); and Don’t Forget to Breathe, Tulsa Artist’s Coalition, Tulsa, OK (2011). Along with her accomplishments as an artist, Jennifer Libby Fay is also a successful designer and entrepreneur.
STR 108 by Donnie Copeland
STR 108 by Donnie Copeland
Donnie Copeland primarily works with painted paper to produce his collaged canvases that emphasize pattern, color, and mark. Copeland’s paintings were featured in a solo exhibit entitled Interrupted Paths at the Aughinbaugh Gallery of Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania in 2015. His work was also included in Abstract AR(t) at the Alexandre Hogue Gallery at the University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2016. In 2012, Copeland’s work was part of Boundary Hunters, an exhibit featuring seven contemporary painters at Alfred University’s Fosdick Nelson Gallery in Alfred, New York. His work has been included in many other exhibitions, along with corporate and private collections.

Circular Rhythm by Robyn Horn
Circular Rhythm by Robyn Horn
Robyn Horn’s wood sculptures reflect the accomplished artist’s interest in the contrast and complement of natural design with her own vision of form, movement, and texture. Her textural paintings are another medium for reflection of her artistic focus by continuing to address the play between organic and applied design. Robyn Horn’s work has been included in numerous exhibitions, and private and public collections. A few major museum highlights include: the National Museum of American Art, Renwick Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, AR; and many others.
Light on the Hills by Dolores Justus
Light on the Hills by Dolores Justus
Dolores Justus’ paintings draw inspiration from the natural world, capturing its forms and patterns, along with reflecting on the essential. Working in oils on canvas, along with watercolor and acrylic on paper, Justus creates interpretations of the landscape that range from minimal suggestions to more detailed work.  Her paintings have been exhibited and included in collections throughout the U.S. and abroad for nearly thirty years. A few recent exhibits include: Finding Center (solo exhibit) at the Annesdale Park Gallery in Memphis, TN (2015); Migratory Patterns (solo exhibit) at the Malkin Gallery of the Bass Cultural Arts Center in Greenville, MS (2015); Sea & Sky at the Degas Gallery in New Orleans, LA (2016); and the Anniversary Show at Greg Thompson Gallery in Little Rock, AR (2016), among others.
Owned by artist Dolores Justus, Justus Fine Art Gallery offers a wide range of original art including sculpture, paintings, ceramics, photography, and more by recognized artists. Opening receptions are held in conjunction with the Hot Springs Gallery Walk held from 5-9 p.m. the first Friday of every month in downtown Hot Springs. Hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday or by appointment.
For more information, call 501-321-2335 or visit online at

Experience Films to showcase the artistic and the abstract

facebook cover experience

On any given weekend, the Northwest Arkansas events calendar is usually pretty booked whether a summer concert series in a local park or exciting new showcases for its thriving artistic scene. And in August, Bentonville’s own 21c Museum Hotel will be hosting the annual Experience Films event, an evening dedicated to the abstract and experimental. With many successful film festivals held in Northwest Arkansas recently, Experience Films founder Demara Titzer wanted to provide a venue for those who specialize in the unique and abstract.

“By providing an annual event we encourage local filmmakers to continue creating content they are passionate about,” said Titzer.

Titzer hopes this year’s event will not only continue to provide filmmakers with new avenues to share their work, but also grow industry support within the state of Arkansas.

“There has been discussion about creating a Northwest Arkansas Film Commission. This would provide more focus and resources on the digital cinema education programs at John Brown University, University of Arkansas, and local high schools,” said Titzer. “The film industry can provide Arkansas with new cultural events that enhance our communities, provide jobs for local film industry talent, and drive more business for hotels and restaurants.”

The Experience Films event will begin at 6:30 pm on August 20, at the 21c Museum Hotel, with abstract cocktails, Glitch entertainment, short film viewings, and musical acts to follow. The night’s activities will continue with an after party held at the Hive Bar.

For more information about Experience Films and its partners, please visit


Celebrate beer, music & tech at AMP Fest


The Walmart AMP is excited to present an all-new beer, music and tech festival this fall. The inaugural AMP Fest will take place on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016 from 2 pm to 6 pm and combines the best in live music, craft beer and the next generation of technology. The festival will feature cutting edge games and tech activations, live music on three stages and craft beer from over 20 local, regional and national breweries. Organized by Walton Arts Center’s Corporate Leadership Council, AMP Fest is designed to raise awareness of Walton Arts Center’s various education initiatives with all proceeds benefiting Arts Education programs at Walton Arts Center.

Tickets are on sale now and prices range from $40 for general admission and $95 for VIP, which includes a Fayettechill t-shirt, AMP Fest growler, access to VIP lounge and additional perks. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Walmart AMP Box Office in Rogers, Walton Arts Center Box Office in Nadine Baum Studios in Fayetteville, by calling 479.443.5600 or visiting For downloadable photos, visit the AMP Fest Dropbox.

The one-day festival will include unlimited free samples of craft beer from Fossil Cove, Apple Blossom, Core Brewing and a number of other local breweries as well as national and regional breweries like Lagunitas, Lost Forty and Mother’s Brewing. AMP Fest will play host to a number of artists including DJ Mix Master Mike, Arkansauce, Mountain Sprout and Goose, with more artist announcements coming soon. Attendees will also be able to pay to play with cutting edge technology and explore a variety of interactive experiences such as Samsung Virtual Reality and video game competitions on the AMP video walls.

The Walmart AMP (Arkansas Music Pavilion), a Walton Arts Center venue since February 2011 is Arkansas’ premier outdoor concert venue. The AMP has presented headlining concerts for the past 11 years, including rock, country and pop. In its permanent home in Pinnacle Hills at 5079 W. Northgate Rd., Rogers, Ark., the Walmart AMP has the largest outdoor stage house in Arkansas.

Made by Few announces new speakers, plans to hold event in Bentonville


“If a conference could be a hug, Made by Few would be the warm, welcome kind that makes you feel so good.” – Randy J. Hunt, VP Design at Etsy

“To call MxF a conference would be massively underselling it. MxF is an immersive celebration of creativity.”     –  Jeffrey Kalmikoff, Designer at Uber

The fifth annual Made by Few Conference, organized by Little Rock design and development agency Few, will be held in downtown Bentonville, Arkansas Oct 26 – Oct 29, 2016.

Made by Few was born five years ago with a focus on inspiring and invigorating designers, developers, creatives, and entrepreneurs, with 2015’s attendees arriving from 26 US states as well as Europe. Speakers announced in recent weeks for the 2016 lineup include Victoria Pater, Product Design Lead at PayPal, Cassie McDaniels, Design Director at the Mozilla Foundation, Daniel Burka, Design Partner at Google Ventures, Alex Cornell, Product Designer at Facebook, and Amy Schwartz, Design Director at Cards Against Humanity.

Made by Few will celebrate its fifth anniversary with a move from Little Rock to downtown Bentonville in Northwest Arkansas. Ranked as No. 7 on Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Places to visit in 2016, as one of the 9 Best U.S. Cities for Tech Startups by Entrepreneur Magazine, and as No. 37 on Forbes’ list of Best Places for Business and Careers, Northwest Arkansas is known for its thriving startup community as well as its rich art and culture, the cornerstone of which is the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

“Over the past several years, Bentonville has been blossoming into a killer place to visit, work in and create from. We’re excited to be hosting Made by Few in downtown Bentonville this year with events at some amazing venues like Crystal Bridges, new venue the Record, and the 21c Museum Hotel”, said Arlton Lowry about the move.

In spite of its growth over the years, Made by Few very much remains a labor of love for which Arlton designs a unique brand and website each year. The 2016 Made by Few site, created in collaboration with the Few staff and illustrator Sally Nixon was recently featured as an “inspirational site” in Net magazine’s Summer 2016 issue, with additional nods from Communication Arts, Webdesigner Depot, CSS Design Awards, CSS Winner, SiteSee, httpster, The Best Designs, and more.

Lowry’s take on the spirit of experimentation that led to the 2016 website design can be applied to the conference as a whole. “We believe that when you provide people with an open and fun environment, there’s no telling what will come of it.”

Order tickets here.  For more information, visit their website.



New Conference for Creatives Offers Valuable Resources


NWA Creative Arts Network, in collaboration with New Design School, is proud to announce the first ever Creative Exchange Conference, a multidisciplinary arts conference focused on professional and business development within the creative community in Northwest Arkansas.

“The creative industry is now the third largest employer in Arkansas, yet it is woefully under represented in terms of access to affordable professional development opportunities,” Conference Director Lauren Embree explains. CXC plans to change that. “The Creative Exchange Conference is a one of a kind event for artists of all kinds to connect with other creatives as well as business professionals who can help you take your talent to the next level.”

Catch the action on August 5th-6th in Fayetteville at the Town Center and surrounding locations. Then, head north to Bentonville on August 7th for programming at 21C Museum Hotel. The weekend promises to deliver with 14 workshops, 3 community panel discussions, and 6 speakers covering marketing, funding, legal issues and entrepreneurship. Hands on workshops like “Marketing Your Art Beyond the Gallery,” “Website Basics,” “Creating an Artist Residency,” and “Meditation for the Creative Process” introduce you to tools unique to navigating the creative industry. Scheduled speakers feature notable business leaders from organizations including the Arkansas Arts Council, Crystal Bridges, Startup Junkie Consulting, New Design School, Modthink, the City of Fayetteville, Unexpected Festival and RopeSwing Group, as well as several creative artists and entrepreneurs. Immerse yourself with fellow creatives and get a chance for one-on-one mentoring from business, marketing, and legal professionals around the region. When the days are done, let loose and enjoy art and performance at carefully curated social events set inside two iconic Fayetteville venues, Puritan Coffee and Matt Miller Studio. Want to find out more? Visit for the full schedule of events.

Whether you’re looking to start or grow your own creative business, get hired for your skills, find freelance work, or simply reconnect with your community, CXC is an opportunity you can’t afford to miss. Secure your ticket from the conference’s official website. Tickets for CXC are available through July 31st for $125, and increase August 1st to $165. Single day tickets are available for $75. In addition to access to all speakers, workshops, panels, performances, and special events over the conference weekend, ticket holders will also enjoy several meals from Wood Stone Craft Pizza, The Green Goat, Mangos Gourmet Taco Shop, Onyx Coffee Lab, and more. Discounts are available for students, seniors, and military veterans.

To learn more about NWA Creative Arts Network, visit and New Design School at


Justus Fine Art Gallery to Host “Water Works” Exhibit in August

“Moving” by Laura Raborn
“Moving” by Laura Raborn

During a month when the temperatures traditionally soar, Justus Fine Art Gallery will offer a cool respite with an exhibit entitled Water Works. The August exhibit will showcase a selection of paintings which include water in the subject matter from selected artists including: Mike Elsass, Matthew Hasty, Dolores Justus, Gerri Much, Laura Raborn, Tony Saladino, and Rebecca Thompson. From the detailed, luminous paintings of Memphis artist Matthew Hasty, to the loosely rendered abstractions of Texas artist Tony Saladino, the show will feature a wide range of interpretations on the theme. The exhibit will open with a reception on Friday, August 5 from 5-9 p.m., in conjunction with the monthly Hot Springs Gallery Walk. The show will be on display fromAugust 5 – 31, 2016.

“The tides are in our veins.” – Robinson Jeffers
“Rivers have what man most respects and longs for in his own life—a capacity for renewal and replenishment, continual energy, creativity, cleansing.” – (John Kauffman, A Look At Our North Atlantic Rivers)
Suggestive of land, sky, and water, Mike Elsass’ strong abstracts are rendered on rusted sheets of steel. To Elsass the steel represents, “strength, life’s elements, aging, imperfection, and beauty.” Many pieces have over 40 coats of paint and glazing. The artist approaches his work with a spiritual and mediative mindset. Drawing inspiration from nature, Elsass travels throughout the country painting en plein air. Elsass’ work has been widely exhibited and collected.
“He (Mike Elsass) is dedicated to landscapes that reflect the moment of the soul; his paintings have emotional and visual connections with places of choice and memories beyond the present.  Elsass expresses his awe for natural elements through color, with a spontaneity and joyfulness that are the main traits of his work.  In his paintings, a memory of the horizon persists as a last thought before space dissolves.” – Anna Friedenberg

Memphis artist Matthew Hasty creates hauntingly beautiful landscapes of the South. His mastery of the effects of light in the landscape yields paintings that seem to emanate their own light. Hasty considers his paintings to be influenced primarily by landscape painters working in the Nineteenth Century. Prominent landscape and marine painters of the Hudson River school, the Luminists, the Barbizon school the Dusseldorf school, and notable Russian painters. Hasty’s paintings can be found in collections throughout the United States, as well as Russia, Germany, France, and South Korea.

Inspired by the natural world, Dolores Justus’ paintings reflect a sensitive and intuitive view that distills patterns of light and form into compositions that engage and inspire. Her painterly style also contributes to the interactive quality of her art. In her exploration of the confluence of optics and painterly abstraction, her work belongs to the “new landscape” movement of contemporary American art. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group shows throughout the nation and abroad for more than 20 years.

“I’ve always had a strong identification with nature and am continually in awe of the depth of inspiration that it offers. Despite all it’s variety, there are essential elements in it and in us all, that we respond to. It is those universal, underlying truths that I seek to communicate in my own work.” – Dolores Justus


“Holding True” by Dolores Justus
“Holding True” by Dolores Justus
A selection of Gerri Much’s energetic abstracts that are suggestive of the waves that she watches from her Florida home on Sanibel Island, are also included in the exhibition. Dividing her time between Arkansas and Florida, Much’s expressive paintings has been included in many corporate and private collections.
Laura Raborn’s paintings have been exhibited throughout Arkansas and are in private collections across the United States, including the new CARTI Collection in Little Rock, Arkansas. Her work has earned numerous awards such as the Wilma and Jack Diner Purchase Award at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the Juror Award at the Rosenzweig Biennial Juried Exhibition. Raborn was also awarded the Arkansas Arts Council’s Sally A. Williams Study Grant and completed an artist residency in Noepoli, Italy.
“I paint and draw the human figure and places as a way to explore modern life. Formal contrasts are important elements in my work: for example, there is representation contrasting abstraction. The abstract layers interrupting the body or place allude to the idea of time, or a frozen moment in time, which is difficult for us to recognize in a visually inundated and fast-paced world. Recognizable forms emerge from obscured layers of paint, which refers to the vast amount of unknown information in everything we see.” – Laura Raborn
Tony Saladino is highly respected for his expressive abstracts, landscapes, still life constructions, and printmaking. His work has been included in notable public and private collections including the collections of Tyson Foods, Bicardi Limited, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation of Austin, Texas, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Dallas, the Museum of Art and Archaeology of the University of Missouri, and the Museum of International Art in Brazil. Saladino has also been featured in The New York Times, Southwest Art Magazine, The Artist’s Magazine, American Artist Magazine, the Best of Sketching and Drawing by Rockport Publishers, Enrich Your Paintings with Texture by David Band of North Light Books, along with many other publications.
“Art is about more than beauty. An artist communicates an idea, or feeling, or tries to make connections. I want each piece to possess a spatial energy that compels a viewer to look. I want the images to be universal enough to be compelling. The viewer is either repulsed, pleased, made interested, or stimulated in such a way that they are made to consider other ideas that are not so easily conveyed by printed media.” – Tony Saladino
Rebecca Thompson’s paintings are inspired from her travels, from ordinary objects that catch her eye in a new way, and from people caught in a pivotal moment. Her atmospheric strokes of color, her washes of light and her sense of place engage the viewer and invite lingering. Thompson prefers to paint on-site. If this is not possible, she relies on site-made sketches, color notes, and journal entries to supplement photographic records. Along with many solo and group exhibitions, Thompson’s paintings have also been included in numerous public and private collections including: UAMS, Little Rock, AR; CARTI, Little Rock, AR; St. Vincent P. Allen Smith Garden Home, Little Rock, AR; the William J. Clinton/Thea Foundation Art Across Arkansas Collection, and many others.
Owned by artist Dolores Justus, Justus Fine Art Gallery offers a wide range of original art including sculpture, paintings, ceramics, photography, and more by recognized artists. Opening receptions are held in conjunction with the Hot Springs Gallery Walk held from 5-9 p.m. the first Friday of every month in downtown Hot Springs. Hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday or by appointment. For more information, call 501-321-2335 or visit online at