The Fort Smith Regional Art Museum received a grant from the Arvest Foundation that will provide both a new name and a strengthened program for its education program. RAM’s student gallery, which opened in 2018 to exhibit works of art by students, is now named the RAM Student Gallery Sponsored by Arvest Foundation.

 “This gift from the Arvest Foundation puts a wonderful spotlight on the talent of our region’s young artists,” says Louis Meluso, Executive Director of the Regional Art Museum. “RAM is so grateful for the support from Arvest that has resulted in the gift of our building in 2009, and now the strengthening of our efforts to enrich youth’s lives through the new Student Gallery sponsored by Arvest Foundation.”

RAM’s education program includes free art classes for ages 18 months and older, according to a press release. Classes include Toddler Tuesday, HomeSchool Art Program, RAM Saturday, and Drop In and Draw – a live-model sketching class for adults. Due to COVID-19, RAM’s education program has transitioned to an online format, but anticipates returning to on-site programming as soon as safely possible in 2021.

Local Arvest Bank officials say promoting arts for youth is an important investment in a community.

“At Arvest, we believe in making our communities better places to live, work and play,” said Roger Holroyd, Arvest Bank President and CEO. “Through the Arvest Foundation, we are able to do that by supporting local organizations doing work to help and empower those in need. We trust these donations reflect our ongoing commitment to Fort Smith.”

RAM’s first- and second-floor art galleries are open to the public. Entry to RAM is free.