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When the Bella Vista Arts and Crafts Fair moved their office into Wishing Spring Art Gallery, it was just one of several changes for the long standing Village Art Club. One change is their name which is now Arts Alliance at Wishing Spring.

The organization has sponsored the Arts and Crafts Fair for 50 years. Until recently, the festival had its own office in Town Center West. Festival Director Elaine Reinke said she worked at home most of last year so the office wasn't necessary. Only one business remains at that end of the center and she believes they are also planning to move out.

Officers of the nonprofit Arts Alliance will have space in the Wishing Spring Gallery as well, Reinke said. The gallery -- on McNelly Road, just beyond Walgreens -- opened in 1984 as a cooperative. Artists who have their work in the gallery, take turns manning the front desk.

Recently, the group was offered a donation they couldn't turn down, Dave Johnson, a member of the board of directors said. A new member offered to donate all the equipment from her pottery studio. The equipment includes 10 wheels, a slab roller, extruders, three kilns, glazing mixing tables and a spray booth. The only catch was they needed a place to put all the equipment.

Behind the gallery, a small one-story studio has been used for classes, meetings and special events.

"It was really underutilized," Johnson said, so the board chose to turn it into a pottery studio.

"It will be one of the best equipped studios in our part of the state," he said. Once the equipment is in place, classes will begin. There are four teachers already on board, he said. Two will teach pottery making using the wheels and two will teach how to hand build pottery. There will also be space for members to come in and work independently.

Pottery classes fit well into the groups mission which is to educate the public about art as well as provide a way for artists to sell their products. The classes will be open to everyone.

The church across the street from the gallery, Bella Vista Church of Christ, has agreed to let the club hold meetings in their building.

The group raises money for scholarships and to help area art teachers with small projects, Johnson explained. For example, they recently supplied a grant to an art teacher who wanted to buy portfolios so all her students could bring their work home and present it to their parents.

This year, they'll undertake a different kind of fundraiser and the benefactor will be hungry residents in Northwest Arkansas. Potters will begin work right away for an "Empty Bowl" project. The artists make the bowls which are filled with soup or chili by partner organizations, probably churches, Johnson said. Customers purchase the bowls, eat the soup and keep the container as a reminder that there is still a need in their community. He expects to sell 500 to 700 bowls, raising over $10,000 to be distributed to local agencies.

The Arts Alliance is always open to new members. For more information, visit them at Wishing Spring Gallery or call 479 273 1798.

General News on 02/13/2019

Print Headline: Changes coming to Wishing Spring

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