Where Art Finds A Home

Where Art Finds A Home

Couple building new bridge in creative community



D. Arthur Wilson and Lisa Wilson, artists and stars of the soon-to-be-released television show “Art and Soul,” have lived and opened galleries in well-known artist enclaves like Key West, Fla., and Santa Fe, N.M., and have had their respective artwork carried in galleries all over the country. Now, they’ve brought their skills to Northwest Arkansas. Their connection to the area started when their work was being carried by Legacy Fine Art Gallery in Hot Springs, and Lisa read an article about Eureka Springs’ wildlife refuge, Turpentine Creek.

“We became close to [Turpentine Creek vice president] Scott Smith,” says Lisa. “At the time, we were in the position to do fine arts benefits for them in the Hot Springs gallery. We accumulated a large amount of money for them, and my husband asked Scott, ‘What do you want us to earmark the benefit money for?’ and Scott said, ‘We really need lodging.’”

Thus, the idea for the Turpentine Creek’s popular Safari Lodging was born. The couple did far more than raise money for the endeavor — they also built and decorated the five themed rooms that would ultimately bring in lots of needed revenue to the nonprofit organization.

“We just fell in love with the area,” says Lisa.

If that wasn’t a strong enough connection to Northwest Arkansas, an even stronger connection has been added recently — “a blond-haired, blue-eyed grandchild,” she says. “Our oldest son lives in this area. We just kept watching the unbelievable development here.”

The couple opened up a successful pop-up gallery for a month on Main Street in Bentonville and are opening a more permanent space in downtown Gravette. The gallery will be open for Gravette Day, a celebration of the town’s founding, on Aug. 10.

“We hope to help build a bridge in the art community between museumgoers and art collectors,” explains Lisa Wilson. “We have a fabulous location in Gravette — right on Main Street. We were laughing, because we’re starting to call it the ‘Gravette Gathering’. Another couple from San Francisco is moving into another building with a coffee shop and handmade leather shoes. There’s another art studio, an art gallery — we’re going to help Gravette turn into the gallery district of Northwest Arkansas!”

Meanwhile, the couple has been filming a television show about art, tentatively named the same as their art gallery — “Art and Soul.” They are currently seeking distribution.

“It’s going to be so fun,” enthuses Wilson. “The format is very much like ‘Diners, Drive Ins and Dives’, but set in the passionate world of art. It’s also about travel and heart and will encompass artists all over the world, as well as the regions — the history, the food, the relationships. And the common denominator is that most people would rather wake up and follow their heart, their passions, and we want to help empower people to do whatever it is that makes their hearts beat fast.”

A “sizzle reel” — a promotional video used to shop the series around to potential distributors — shows the charismatic couple meeting a wide variety of visual artists, working with them in their studios and interviewing them about their work.

The couple say they’re excited about the move to Northwest Arkansas.

“We feel like we’ve found that delightful part of our childhood where you listen to the trains and to the sounds of the flags flapping, before you go back into the world of what you do,” says Wilson. “Everyone needs that time to reflect. [Gravette is full of] wonderful people — it’s a great town, the mayor is delightful, and the heart of the town and the area definitely seems to be one of ‘Let’s embrace the community.’ We’re excited to be a part of it.”



Where to find it:

Art & Soul Fine Art Gallery

105 Main St., Gravette



Categories: Galleries