Northwest Arkansas is abuzz over the Norman Rockwell exhibit at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville. Those who have visited the museum in the past have been able to view the iconic "Rosie the Riveter" painting, which dipicts American life for women during World War II. While the men were fighting overseas, many women took on a new role by working in American factories making war supplies. That riveting inside look into every day life is what made Rockwell famous and now you can view even more of his art during American Chronicals: The Art of Norman Rockwell. This traveling exhibition features 50 original paintings and 323 Saturday Evening Post covers and runs through May 27. You can purchase tickets and learn more about the exihibit by visiting www.crystalbridges.org.
Crystal Bridges is an amazing treasure and a must-see in northwest Arkansas. Since its opening, there has been this new spark of interest in the arts for all ages. New galleries have opened their doors and new fans are finding existing ones. Who would have ever thought that you could actually take an honest-to-goodness art tour through Benton County? After you view the beautiful art at Crystal Bridges and 21c Museum Hotel in Bentonville, hop on over to Rogers for the rest of your tour. Here are a few of the highlights that you shouldn't miss.
White River Gallery
Your first stop needs to be the White River Gallery in Rogers. The gallery showcases the award winning photography of Rogers native Ed Cooley. This swanky, yet modern gallery is filled with some of the most beautiful landscapes created by mother nature and captured on film by Cooley. When you walk into the gallery, it's as if you have opened a window and are peering into another land just steps from where you are. He has captured some of the most stunning views around the world, including this gorgeous photo from Italy. His new exibit called "Spring in Italy" will run March 15-April 20, 2013. Cooley says the Tuscany region is one of the most picturesque locations he has traveled to. He puts so much thought into capturing that perfect moment in time so much so that he hiked through a muddy Tuscan field at 4:30 a.m. for six days straight before snapping the perfect shot. See if you can tell which print took this kind of dedication when you visit the "Spring in Italy" exhibit. The gallery is located at 115 South 2nd Street in downtown Rogers and is open Wednesday through Friday from 2 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can learn more about the gallery and upcoming events on their website or by calling 479-936-5851.
Poor Richard's Art
Northwest Arkansas is home to many talented artists and craftsmen and there is no better place to view some of the most unique local art than Poor Richard's Art. The gallery is home to one-of-a-kind pieces made from artisans in northwest Arkansas. Works include pottery, paintings, photography, baskets, stained glass and jewelry. You'll have fun meandering through this shop, whether you're looking for something for yourself or someone else. Like most places in downtown Rogers, the locale of the gallery is a piece of work in itself. Make sure you take notice of the gallery's historic architecture while checking out some of the innovative art of uncommon quality from many local artists. The gallery, located at 101 West Walnut, is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
CW Gallery of Fine Art
Also located downtown is the new CW Gallery of Fine Art which opened in January. The gallery displays original works of art from artists around the country. The gallery showcases a wide range of subject matter in a variety of mediums, including oils, watercolors, pastels, acrylics, pottery, sculpture and photography. The gallery's owner, Colette White, says having Crystal Bridges nearby has put the spotlight on original artwork and the joy of collecting art. Robert Lee Skaggs, a Rogers native, taught at the Chicago Institue of Art for 40 years and will be showcasing his art at the gallery April 16 through 27. White invites everyone to visit her gallery, where the coffee is always on, and enjoy the artwork. You can visit the gallery Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 210 S. First Street in Rogers.
Scott Frame and Art
More local artists are on display at Scott Frame and Art, located just off interstate 540 at the Pleasant Grove exit. Here you will find paintings, photos and giclees on canvas and paper. (Post confession...I had to Google "giclees", so don't worry if you didn't know what that was either. You aren't alone. Also, the last piece of art I bought was of a monkey wearing a dress and funny hat. I'm pretty much a novice art collector.) Ok, back to business. Several northwest Arkansas artists represented in the gallery include Ed Cooley, Sharon Simmons, Tyler Arnold, Matt Miller, Dierdre West and many others. Almost every piece of art in the gallery is for sale, so if you find something you like, you can take right on home. The gallery is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
So are you an art novice like me or have you been collecting for a long time? I'd love to know what your favorites pieces are. Comment below and let me know! Happy art hunting!