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The Arkansas Delta

Winners list hints at good exhibit.

DELTA WINNER: By Cathy Burns.
  • DELTA WINNER: By Cathy Burns.

Thirty-five Arkansas artists created more than half the works selected for the Arkansas Arts Center’s 49th annual Delta Exhibition, which opens Jan. 12, and six of them are taking home awards.

The must-see but must-not-necessarily-like exhibit, which has sometimes said more about the judges than the state of art in Arkansas and its contiguous states, shows promise this year, if the talent chosen is any indication. Among the 68 works selected are entries by painter Cathy Burns (a Delta Award winner), sculptor Mac Hornecker (Delta Award winner), ceramic artist Joe Bruhin (honorable mention winner), wood sculptor Robyn Horn (honorable mention), painter Bonnie Nickol (honorable mention) and conceptual artist Catherine Siri Nugent (honorable mention), so it’s got to be good.

It’s a fairly star-studded list of other Arkansas artists whose work will appear in the exhibit: Diana Ashley, Aaron Baker, Ed Barham, Hugo Berumen, Mark Blaney, John Bruhl, Win Bruhl, Warren Criswell, Eric Estes, Greer Farris, Jane Hankins, Benjamin Krain, Erin Lorenzen, Lee Milbourn, Dennis McCann, Matt McLeod, Charlie Neel, Apryl Okoroafor, Linda Palmer, Elena Petroukhina, Ann Presley, Chris Schaefer, Kendy Schimmel, David Schonert, Hunter Stamps, Joseph Thomason, Steven Walker, David Warren and Deborah Warren. Painter Berumen won a Delta honorable mention last year.

The Grand Award went to Hattiesburg, Miss., artist Chris Wubbena (not to be confused with Lake Charles, La., artist Gerry Wubben) for his conceptual piece “author of revisions, reinventor of the world.”

Juror for the show was the distinguished ceramic artist Don Reitz, winner of the 2002 Gold Medal from the American Craft Council and a 2005 Peter Voulkos Fellow. Reitz spoke at a recent “Conversations” offering by the Friends of Contemporary Crafts at the Arts Center, and revealed himself to be an artist of enormous personality and energy. His eye should guarantee a memorable Delta Exhibition. The show runs through Feb. 25 in the Jeannette Edris Rockefeller gallery.

The 2007 Small Works on Paper juried exhibition, the 20th annual traveling show, sponsored by the Arkansas Arts Council, opens in Helena at the Delta Cultural Center on Jan. 5 with 38 works, seven of them award winners. Artists whose work will be purchased for the Small Works permanent collection include John Bridges of England, Adrienne Cullins and Don House of Fayetteville, Shelly Gipson of Jonesboro, Mark Jones of Pine Bluff, Michael P. Means of El Dorado and Cary Jenkins of Mabelvale.

Juror for the show was David S. Rubin, the Brown Foundation Curator of Contemporary Art at the San Antonio Museum of Art.

The Cultural Center is at 141 Cherry St. and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. A reception for the artists will be held from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 5. The show will run through the month and then travel to other Arkansas galleries.

Ten Thousand Villages fair trade store and River Market Artspace gallery, located in the heart of the city’s tourist district, had to do some serious hose-downs to the area in front of their stores last week. Dinners upchucked from the evening bar crowd were splattered on the Clinton Avenue sidewalk, a bench in front of the store and the door to the gallery. Debra Wood, owner of Artspace, sent pictures of the mess to the press and friends with a plea: Let’s not promote more barfage with a Beale Street-style street drinking district on Clinton. Those tourists we seek won’t love us in the morning. Even art fanatics will hesitate to gallery hop over aromatic vomit.


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