It's tight corners for theater and music lovers in a usually-packed Baum Walker Hall, but the third annual "Our Art, Our Region, Our Time" exhibition has more room to move this year.
"That's nice because it gives each piece its own space," says Thomas DeBari, director of facilities services for the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville.
With shows already sold out -- including "Whose Live," The Beach Boys and Leanne Morgan -- he estimates that about 6,000 people will see the community art show before the opening curtain and during intermission.
"The performing arts center really provides a great opportunity to reach a large number of people and introduce them to the talent of the artists in our region," says Kathy Thompson, local artist and guest curator for the exhibit.
DeBari and Thompson, along with Jason Howell Smith -- director of executive administration, classical music and special initiatives for Walton Arts Center -- selected 94 pieces of art from a total of 217 submissions for the exhibit, now in its third year.
"Our criteria to submit pieces for consideration is that you identify as being part of the Northwest Arkansas community," said DeBari. "A range of artists usually submits to participate including people who are early, mid- and late career, across all media and formats. We hope that the curation of this show reflects the diaspora of the artist community in the region."
"We each selected the works that spoke to us individually. Then we had a lively discussion about how each work would fit with the other selections. It was a thrilling process," Thompson added.
"I am always surprised by new work, new names and new faces in the art community represented by this show. There are a lot of knock-out pieces that the public will be excited to engage with," DeBari said.
"Our Art, Our Region, Our Time" will be on display until Oct. 29 in the Joy Pratt Markham Gallery at the Walton Arts Center. The exhibit is free and open to the public from noon to 2 p.m. on weekdays. The gallery also opens one hour before performances and during intermission.
DeBari adds that the exhibit will be on display for two months, which is longer than in years past, giving the public more time to see the show.
"It's important to celebrate and support our local artists highlighting the creativity and the level of craftsmanship in our region," DeBari said. "There are not a lot of places for artists to show regionally beyond Mount Sequoyah, Fenix, Art Ventures, Community Creative Center and CACHE. All those places are wonderful entities, and this area would not be as vibrant if they didn't exist. But it's also important to have an art space that has good foot traffic to give the artists exposure for their work. We can fill that role."
In addition to the exposure, artists receive their full commission for their art.
"We do this to make sure the money for the artwork goes directly and fully back to the artist. This helps artists be able to continue their creative process and inspire the rest of us with their creative talent," Smith pointed out.
'Our Art, Our Region, Our Time'
WHAT -- Walton Arts Center's third regional art exhibition features works from visual artists of every medium around the Northwest Arkansas region. Local artist and curator Kathy Thompson directs this project with input from Thomas DeBari and Jason Smith.
WHEN -- On view from noon to 2 p.m. on weekdays through Oct. 29. Gallery also opens one hour prior to performances and during intermission.
WHERE -- The Joy Pratt Markham Gallery at Walton Arts Center
COST -- Free
INFO -- waltonartscenter.org/edu/visual-arts/our-art-2023
'Our Art, Our Region, Our Time':
Featured Artists By Region
Gerald Scout Hatley
Briseida "Brioch" Ochoa
Ray Allen Parker
Donna Lynn Mulhollan
Eloa Jane Pereira
Rosemary L. Bailey
Timothy T. Smith
Joy Noir Phillips
North Little Rock