Everything Old Is New Again

Everything Old Is New Again

Historic building becomes gallery, debuts exhibition



This small community in western Washington County recently premiered its newest historic facility, the Museum Gallery at Historic Cane Hill, with a unique showcase of original paintings celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Arkansas Territory.

The Arkansas Territory Collection Exhibition, commissioned by Heart of America Artists Association in Siloam Springs, is a traveling exhibition of more than 80 pieces of fine art by artists in nine states.

The juried exhibition opened at John Brown University’s Windgate Gallery on March 28 and will be exhibited at multiple locations in Arkansas and Oklahoma for the next two years. The paintings are for sale, but any sold pieces must remain with the exhibition until the end of the two-year show.

Cane Hill was the second stop along the tour, and about 40 people attended a grand opening ceremony for The Museum Gallery, along with an opening reception for the Arkansas Territory exhibition, on May 25. The Museum Gallery is in the historic A.R. Carroll Drugstore building, next door to Historic Cane Hill Museum.

The Arkansas Collection is open free to the public through June 30 and then will travel to Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock.

Lawrence McElroy, director of arts and culture for Historic Cane Hill, says the paintings in the Arkansas exhibit are unusual because artists were given a wide range as far as subject matter.

“It’s based on the Arkansas Territory, but they were allowed to interpret that any way they wanted to,” he says.

McElroy, who also serves on the board of directors for the Heart of America Artists Association, says he displayed the artwork with “great thought.” Colorful landscape paintings are on the back wall. Native American paintings are placed in the same area. One panel has what McElroy describes as contemporary artwork.

“I think visitors appreciate paintings in the same area where they can see cohesive elements,” McElroy says.

The exhibition was judged by Mindy Besaw, curator of American art at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and Best of Show was awarded to artist Tim Tyler.

The Arkansas Collection is the debut exhibition for the Museum Gallery at Historic Cane Hill.

“I think this heralds a new day for Historic Cane Hill,” McElroy says. “We will be able to bring in high quality exhibitions in a brand new, state-of-the-art gallery. Local artists will have a new venue to exhibit their work, and we will continue to expand these opportunities.”

Several things had to happen to display the Arkansas Collection and turn the historic building into a new museum gallery.

The gallery has a $140,000 insurance policy to protect the artworks, a state-of-the-art security system and a high quality lighting system. New mobile panels allow the gallery to double its wall capacity for displaying paintings.

“We went through this building top to bottom to make any changes,” McElroy says.

Future plans for the Museum Gallery at Historic Cane Hill include a high school art exhibition for students in Northwest Arkansas and a temporary Smithsonian poster exhibition. The “big one,” McElroy says, will be an exhibition of 19th century pottery, which will open in conjunction with the Cane Hill Harvest Festival.



Arkansas Territory

Collection Exhibition

WHEN — 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, through June 30

WHERE — The Museum Gallery at Historic Cane Hill, 14327 Arkansas 45

COST — Free

INFO — 824-5339 or email canehillmuseum@gmail.com

Categories: Galleries