Earlier this month, twenty-three emerging and established artists in Northwest Arkansas founded the new art collective Fenix Fayetteville. The group’s debut event will be a ten-day holiday art sale in downtown Fayetteville. The artists are setting up shop in the former Beaver Electric building at 208 North Block Avenue, two blocks from the Fayetteville square.
A ticketed pre-sale party with live music, live painting, door prizes, and drinks will take place on Friday, December 9, between 5 and 9 p.m. Tickets are five dollars at the door.
From Saturday, December 10, until Sunday, December 18, the Fenix pop-up store will be open daily between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Free hot cider is available during store hours. The art sale begins and ends with free opening and closing receptions on December 10 and December 18.
The collective’s artists are selling original, hand-made, and affordable holiday gifts. Most of the paintings, photographs, textile and glass works, mixed media pieces, sculptures, ceramics, ornaments, and prints are priced under $150.
The Fenix artists come from various parts of Arkansas, the US, Mexico, and Germany. All now call Northwest Arkansas home, and many have been active in the local and regional arts community. The members of the collective are planning more pop-events over the next few months. They are also looking for a long-term space in Fayetteville to house artist studios and a gallery.
Fenix Fayetteville artists:
Dave Bachman, Kate Baer Fossils, Katrinka Booth, Mary Collins, William Mayes Flanagan, Laurie Foster, Alli Woods Frederick, Jan Gosnell, Samuel Gray, Mike Haley, Teresa Hall, Don House, Hank Kaminsky, JoAnn Kaminsky, MM Kent, Octavio Logo, Helen Maringer, Judy Maurer, Martha Molina, Ed Pennebaker, Doug Randall, Sabine Schmidt, and Susy Siegele.
50,000 square-foot building unites two intimate theatres, design workshops, offices, dedicated artist housing, and always-open public spaces
On November 3, 2016, together with 350 community members assembled for the annual Gala for Education, TheatreSquared Executive Director Martin Miller and Artistic Director Robert Ford unveiled the finished designs for the company’s future permanent home. London-based theatre planners Charcoalblue joined the presentation along with New York-based Marvel Architects to present the vision for the 50,000 square-foot theatre building.
Miller described a significant expansion of the company’s artistic and public capacities for the assembled guests: “TheatreSquared’s new home will unite two state-of-the-art theatres, the company’s first dedicated rehearsal space right on the corner, staff offices, education and community space off the lobby, on-site design workshops, eight dedicated guest artist apartments in a separate building, outdoor public spaces at three levels, and an always-open café/bar at the active corner of West & Spring.”
“I’m proud to say that this is one of the most intimate, yet immersive theatre spaces Charcoalblue has yet designed,” said Charcoalblue senior project manager Clem Abercrombie. “We started our design process from the inside out: with the theatre itself. Charcoalblue worked to preserve and enhance the sense of panoramic immersion in the current space, adding 100 seats to theatre’s base seating capacity while only deepening the room by the equivalent of one row. In the new theatre, in fact, the front row is even closer to the stage.”
“On my first trip to Fayetteville, I met Bob and Martin at Arsaga’s at the Depot,” said Marvel. “I asked them to tell me the most important quality they wanted to capture in their new home. They immediately said, the intimacy. Nearly before I could answer, a woman walked up and interrupted us. She said — Bob, Martin, I’ve heard you’re thinking of building a new theatre. That’s wonderful! But please, whatever you do, don’t lose the intimacy. I got the message!”
The building’s board-form concrete theatre volumes create an acoustical envelope, isolating the performance spaces from even the blast of the A&M freight train that passes through downtown Fayetteville. Both the theatres and the rehearsal space are projected from the building’s facade, emphasizing the centrality of live theatre to any passersby. Outdoor areas on each level — a patio on Spring St., a bar terrace on West, and a rooftop terrace — underscore the organization’s ethos of transparency to the community.
Architect Jonathan Marvel began his career under Richard Meier, working on the Getty Museum and the High Museum; today, he leads a team at New York-basedMarvel Architects that has won more than 60 national and international design awards. Marvel’s designs include a new Brooklyn Public Library, the national competition-winning entry for the new Constitution Gardens on the National Mall, a master plan for Playwrights Horizons, and, in collaboration with Charcoalblue, the beautiful new home for the storied New York theatre company, St. Ann’s Warehouse. The firm has assembled a team to design TheatreSquared’s new building led by founding principal Jonathan Marvel, founding partner Lissa So, and associate Zachary Griffin.
Charcoalblue has been hailed as one the most innovative players in the international performing arts design field. As the theatre consultants and acousticians of choice for many of the world’s most renowned theatre companies, their portfolio ranges from the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Stirling Award-winning Everyman Theatre, the Donmar Warehouse, and U.S. companies Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Baltimore Center Stage. The firm is currently leading theatre design for the new, REX-designed performing arts building at the World Trade Center site.
Plans for a new home began to take form in early 2015, when the TheatreSquared Board charged a special community task force to recommend a long-term facilities plan for the company. The task force made a strong recommendation, which was then unanimously approved by the T2 Board: to launch an exploratory process toward building a new home.
In fall 2015, TheatreSquared was selected as an inaugural participant in the Walton Family Foundation’s Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program. The program provides financial support to develop space for public purposes, with funds earmarked for all phases of design work. More information on the program can be found at waltonfamilyfoundation.org/design.
On June 7, 2016, the Fayetteville City Council voted unanimously to approve a 100-year lease on a 0.8 acre site at the corner of West Ave. and Spring St. in downtown Fayetteville — directly across from the theatre’s current venue in a converted warehouse at Walton Arts Center’s Nadine Baum Studios.The site is steps from dozens of restaurants and bars, blocks from the University of Arkansas campus, and across the street from a new 250-space garage. The theatre will directly connect to the Razorback Greenway, the regional bike trail linking Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville, and every stop in between.
TheatreSquared has launched a detailed website with design images, backstory, and process galleries which is now public at ournextstage.org.
TheatreSquared is Northwest Arkansas’ professional regional theatre, offering an intimate live theatre experience for 40,000 patrons each year in its 175-seat space and in schools throughout the state. TheatreSquared was recognized by the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards, as one of the nation’s ten most promising emerging theatres. TheatreSquared has experienced remarkable growth in recent seasons, expanding its audience tenfold in the past five years. For further information, contact TheatreSquared at (479) 445-6333 or visit theatre2.org.
Northwest Arkansas has long been a region of makers. With major businesses, museums, and educational opportunities strengthening the region, many more creatives have made their homes here. In response, the team behind NWA Creative Arts Network is proud to invite the public for a sneak peek at the brand new arts venue Stage Eighteen, located in the heart of downtown Fayetteville at 18 E Center St.
The opening will take place during First Thursday on November 3rd from 6-9pm. Visual arts curators Samantha Sigmon and Robert Lemming will present the opening exhibition Variations // NWA, a sample of contemporary work being made today by artists currently residing in Northwest Arkansas.
Artists will be present to discuss their work, and owners David and Lauren Embree will announce more about the exciting new project, as well as the programming for the performing arts festival Last Night Fayetteville on New Year’s Eve. Additionally, performance artist Cynthia Post Hunt is planning a participatory walk to Stage Eighteen from a soon-to-be-announced location in downtown Fayetteville. If you would like to be involved in this dedication ceremony, please contact Cynthia at email@example.com for more information.
“I am thrilled to work with such a beautiful space to really showcase the top tier array of work and artists making right here in Northwest Arkansas. I want to let people know that artists are doing really amazing things locally,” says NWA Creative Arts Network board member Samantha Sigmon, a Fayetteville native who has worked with many art organizations and projects in the region. She will be accepting proposals for exhibitions at Stage Eighteen from regional artists in the months to come.
For more information about Stage Eighteen or the upcoming exhibition, visit facebook.com/stage18live or Stage18Live.com.
About the artists:
Showing a video for this exhibition, Maryam Amirvaghefi is currently an MFA student in Painting at The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. She was previously a BFA candidate in Painting from The Sooreh University, Tehran. In 2016 she curated the Running Toward Dreams touring exhibition featuring Iranian and American young artists which showed in both Tehran, Iran and Fayetteville, AR, USA.
Natalie Brown is a Fayetteville native and a University of Arkansas graduate who has studied painting, philosophy, and psychology. Her paintings have been exhibited widely in Northwest Arkansas.
Dayton Castleman is a Rogers-based artist who manages 21c Museum in Bentonville. He received his BA in Art from Belhaven University and his MFA in sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Castleman has taught as Assistant Professor of Art in sculpture at Trinity Christian College, and as a Museum Educator at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. He has permanent site-specific installations in Philadelphia, PA and Bentonville, and his artwork has been exhibited in venues throughout the United States and Europe.
Arkansas native Erin Gardner is currently in her last year of the MFA program in Photography at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
Cynthia Post Hunt is a Chicago bred artist, currently residing in Fayetteville, Arkansas. An alumna of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Post Hunt investigates the threads of impermanence, desire, and dependence between sustenance and society. Through performance she explores the space between herself and the viewer. In Spring 2016 she curated the first annual Inverse Performance Art Festival in NWA and is currently planning for its next season.
Robert Lemming’s work manipulates form and light to explore the nature of motion through the sculptural object. Lemming is a Tulsa native who moved to Northwest Arkansas as a teenager. He studied painting and printmaking at Henderson State University and finished his BA degree with a sculpture emphasis at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville in 2011. His work has been featured in several solo and group shows in venues such as the Historic Arkansas Museum, 21c Museum Hotel, sUgAr Gallery, ASU Beebe, and LaLaLand Gallery. He teaches high school art and art history at Northwest Arkansas Classical Academy in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Ashley Lewis is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Art at the University of Arkansas. Several of her films have been shown throughout Northwest Arkansas. “As an artist I’d like to say that I aim to uncover unknown and known social issues. Most of my work dealing with the problems or joys that arise in my life as an African American woman. However I do love to explore the idea of abstract pieces. What that entails and how to go about achieving the appearance and feeling of something classified as abstract,” Lewis said.
Elise Raborg is receiving her BFA in Painting from the University of Arkansas. She has most recently shown at Arsaga’s at the Depot in October 2016 for her featured show Ask Me About My Dog.
Jonathan Suit graduated in 2015 from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR with a BA in Painting and Drawing. In 2015 he was chosen for the 57th Delta Exhibition at Arkansas Art Center in Little Rock and for New American Paintings, Southern issue #118. Suit’s recent work explores how primary elements–line, shape, color–may be manipulated to provide an impetus for personal analogy. “As I work, I face a conflict between my fondness for traditional painting and the demand for a more contemporary, interactive experience,” Suit said. “I will continue to examine ties between the art world and the rest of society, evaluating how “art” is conceived, manufactured, consumed, and accepted by the artist, viewer, and user, all of them occupying shifting roles of subject and object.”
Garland Martin Taylor is a Chicago-based sculptor and researcher with a MA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute. Taylor works with materials such as bald cypress twigs, kinky hair, baseball stitching, steel, stainless steel, aluminum, cut tacks, wood, and stone to create large-scale abstract, functional, and socio-politically charged heirlooms inspired by his research and scholarship on 19th century black political cartoons. Since 2012 Garland has devoted half of his professional practice to studying the life and art of Henry Jackson Lewis. And in late 2014 Garland was awarded a Curtis Sykes Memorial Grant for Arkansas History from the Arkansas History Commission. Taylor was a core collaborator in a Mellon Fellowship at the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago where he co- taught the course “The Art and Politics of Black Death” with political scientist Cathy J. Cohen, and documentary filmmaker Orlando Bagwell. He is currently residing in Bentonville as a Tyson Scholar.
Hisae Kimura Yale received her BA degree in printmaking from Tama Art University in Tokyo, Japan in 2000 and her MFA degree from University of Arkansas, Fayetteville in 2011. In 2011 in the Artist in Residence-Mino Paper Art Village she researched about Japanese traditional papermaking and created her work using these papers techniques. “My art work expresses my experiences and feelings of crossing borders to living in the United States, but also how my anxiety of crossing borders has changed during my time living in the US for the past 9 years,” Yale said.
Nicholas Cox is a sculpture and installation artist at the University of Arkansas who works with multiple modes of expression in order to explore the rift between internal psychological spaces, and external social spaces. He is particularly interested in raising questions regarding culturally accepted “truths,” and our choices to engage or disengage, believe or disbelieve, accept or doubt those notions.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is no longer a diagnosis limited to soldiers returning from a war zone. Counselor and mediator Susan Kraus will be writing a self-help guide for rape victims suffering from PTSD during her fellowship at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow.
There has been a drastic shift in the definition of rape and the potential to prosecute, Susan writes, because of the prevalence of the “hook-up” culture and the acceptance by many young people that casual sexual contacts are the norm. Everything that used to be considered evidence – ripped clothing, bruising, semen, going to a hospital, reporting to the police – is moot once someone says it was consensual.
Susan has started working with young women who have been raped but cannot prove it. Their friends say “Get over it” and “Don’t make a big deal … it was just bad sex.” The police don’t believe them, courts and universities can do nothing.
“Their PTSD is unique and insidious, and they carry guilt and self-blame around in their emotional back-packs (if they even remain in school.) When a woman is raped by a stranger, myriad fears and anxieties must be dealt with,” Susan writes. “But when a young woman is raped by a boy she flirted with and would have liked to date, the damage can be worse. She distrusts everyone. Everyone and everything is a potential danger. More significantly, she distrusts herself and her own judgment.
“There are many books about rape and rape recovery. But this form of rape is different. This post-trauma recovery process is different. The treatment approach must be different.”
Susan is the recipient of the 2016 Inspiring Recovery Fellowship, awarded to an emerging or established writer working on a nonfiction project concentrating on mental health issues and recovery.
She has worked with military members, their spouses and families and as a Licensed Domestic Mediator for the State of Kansas. She has worked as a freelance writer for years, is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and has published two books, “Fall From Grace” And “All God’s Children” that feature a middle-aged female protagonist who is a therapist and mediator.
Molly Eagan, of Brooklyn, NY, was another top applicant for the fellowship. She is writing a book about her experience with complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which destroyed her marriage and career and left her homeless at the age of 40. While in treatment, she met other women who struggled with understanding and identifying as PTSD survivors, stigmatized as an illness experienced only by war veterans. She is researching the history of PTSD diagnoses and its evolution to include abuse survivors and old and new treatments.
Debra Hagan of Andover, Mass. was another top contender. She is writing a memoir about her son’s bipolar illness and looking at artists throughout history and how they’ve coped (or not) with bipolar illness and channeled their mania into their art. Her son’s recovery took years but he learned to channel his mania through music and computer coding, which has enabled him to function normally, hold down a job and complete an associate’s degree.
The Fellowship entitles the recipient to a two-week stay at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow, in beautiful and charming Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Two Arkansas authors, Marvin Schwartz and Sandy Longhorn, will be honored at A Prized Evening, the annual awarding of the Worthen and Porter LiteraryPrizes, on Thursday, October 27, at 6:30 p.m., in the Central Arkansas Library System’s (CALS) Main Library Darragh Center, 100 Rock Street. A book signing and reception will follow the presentation, which is free and open to the public. Reservations are appreciated, but not required. RSVP to 501-918-3033.
Matt McLeod Fine Art Gallery is hosting an opening reception for their newest exhibition,Landscapes|Dreamscapes: At the Crossroads of Observation and Memory on Thursday, October 27th, from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm in Little Rock.
Fayetteville is gaining a new community performance venue. The team behind NWA Creative Arts Network (producers of Last Night Fayetteville, the Creative Exchange Conference, and the Last Saturday Variety Show) is proud to announce their latest venture, Stage Eighteen, a multi-use venue dedicated to showcasing performance and visual art.
The visual arts committee of the South Arkansas Arts Center invites the public to the American Watercolor Society’s 149th Annual International Exhibition which will open in the Price and Merkle Galleries on October 4 and run through October 27. A reception is planned for Thursday, October 13 from 5:00-6:30pm. This exhibit is being sponsored by local art lovers who are excited to have these important paintings in the SAAC galleries. It is free and open to the public Monday– Friday from9:00-5:00.
On Thursday, September 29, the New York fashion scene comes to the Arkansas Arts Center with noted fashion blogger and stylist Mangue Banzima. With over 15 years of experience in New York City fashion, client services, management and consulting, Banzima is the founder of Qui Style, a fashion and lifestyle blog that documents and forecasts current trends on the streets of New York City.