In Their Blood

In Their Blood

Three artists share family talent at FSRAM


It’s rare that museumgoers get the opportunity to see the way artistic talent flows through multiple generations of artists, but visitors to the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum will get just that chance virtually with their exhibit “A Family Affair.”

“The ‘A Family Affair’ exhibit features a wonderful family here in the Fort Smith area,” says FSRAM volunteer Suzie Meluso. “Three artists, three visions, all from one family. The matriarch is Dede Hutcheson, with her daughters Robyn Horn and Karen Hutcheson. Dede has been painting all of her life and is quite accomplished; she’s in her 90s. She does beautiful landscapes, and we’re lucky enough to have her ‘Monet Gardens’ on display. Her daughters have gone in different directions, but there’s still a thread of movement you can see in all of their work. Robyn is into sculpting and painting; the sculpting is amazing and looks like piles of wood piled haphazardly, resisting gravity. Karen does abstract paintings with gorgeous colors that remind you of a spring day.”

Meluso marvels that, despite the separate styles of the three artists, there’s a distinct similarity between them.

“Proficient as both painter and sculptor, Robyn uses paint, rust and found objects on large canvases that center on gestural forms and unique textures,” says Lou Meluso of Robyn Horn’s work.
(Courtesy Photo)

“It’s amazing! Their work is so different, yet there’s a creative thread that runs between them. It’s a feeling of movement. Dede has helped train her daughters in the appreciation and love of art. She jokes that [while] some houses smelled like soup, hers smelled like turpentine.”

The exhibit opened on March 14, and due to the covid-19 pandemic, FSRAM closed their doors just three days later. Like many arts organizations, FSRAM is finding alternative ways to share its art with the world. In a recent press release, the museum announced the creation of a video tour of the exhibit so that art lovers can view the exhibit from the comfort (and safety) of their own homes.

“We had the help of donors, Dr. and Mrs. Greg and Marta Jones, and our website developer, the Richland Group, and local videographer Branchout Studios to help us achieve this goal,” Lou Meluso, RAM executive director, says. “The exhibition is something we want everyone to be able to see.”

Karen Hutcheson’s “paintings focus on abstraction,” says Lou Meluso. “These lively canvases exert a playful energy and joy of life.”
(Courtesy Photo)

Lou Meluso narrates the short video, which shows the viewer examples of each of the artists’ work. A highlight is Dede Hutcheson’s sketchbooks, collected over the years, which illustrate how her talent evolved over her lifetime.

“Sketching throughout her life, these lively visual notes are at once intimate and direct and show the artist’s curiosity and connection to the people and places around her,” says Lou Meluso of the sketchbooks.


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‘A Family Affair’

Access the virtual video exhibition of “A Family Affair” by visiting

“Her lyrical landscapes and whimsical renditions of people and nature are expressed with an Impressionist’s eye,” says FSRAM executive director Lou Meluso of artist Dede Hutcheson, whose painting “Monet Gardens” is currently on show by way of a video tour.
(Courtesy Photo)

Categories: Galleries