Wishing Spring Gallery is hosting additional hours this week, offering craft-goers and art enthusiasts the chance to shop and support local artisans and nonprofit groups.
The Artisan Alliance, which operates the gallery on McNelly Road, hosts the annual Bella Vista Arts & Crafts Festival. Its board of directors canceled the festival this year due to covid-19 concerns, said Wishing Spring Gallery director Pearl Williamson.
Plans for the nearby Spanker Creek Arts & Crafts Festival are still a go, however, and the gallery is offering extended hours to accommodate those shoppers who will enjoy that festival just down the road.
Gallery hours this week are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Saturday, with a shopper's delight venue planned for Thursday through Saturday. Shopping and parking are free.
Volunteers are erecting tents in the field behind the gallery, planning to showcase various exhibitors' art, promote the Artisan Alliance and showcase the Benton County Empty Bowls mission. The local nonprofit sells bowls made by local potters, with all proceeds benefitting food banks and pantries in the northwest Arkansas and southwest Missouri areas.
The gallery's clay studio is located behind the gallery, and several local potters participate in the Benton County Empty Bowls project, she said.
Additionally, Bella Vista Historical Museum volunteers will have an opportunity to sell the new pictorial history book, Images of America Bella Vista, just released this year. Museum co-president Xyta Lucas said volunteers are grateful to have an additional venue for bookselling.
"We really appreciate the opportunity offered us by the Wishing Spring Gallery folks to participate in their tent event behind the gallery since the Bella Vista Arts & Crafts Fair was canceled again this year," Lucas said. "As co-authors, Dale Phillips and I are contributing all profits and royalties to the Bella Vista Historical Museum."
The book covers the history of Bella Vista from the late 1800s through the current day, Lucas said.
As always, shoppers will have the chance to visit the gallery itself, enjoying three floors of unique hand-crafted goods, from paintings to children's art, crocheted necklaces and more.
All gallery exhibitors are juried and specialize in handmade, one-of-a-kind items, which are showing an upward tick. In the last year or two, Williamson has noticed a number of local shoppers who seek handcrafted items to give as gifts and use as home décor.
Some buyers come in to purchase the same items more than once, she added.
The Artisan Alliance started in 1966 as The Village Art Club, according to its website.
The nonprofit organization offers college scholarships to local artisans planning to pursue an art career. Currently, the club offers four $8,000 scholarships so club members are always seeking ways to raise those funds, Williamson said.
The Artisan Alliance also assists various small area schools, contributing to their art departments to further art education, she said.
For information, call the gallery at 273-1798 or email [email protected]