Contemplating Women

Contemplating Women

Art Ventures exhibit offered for virtual tour


Intended to celebrate Women’s History Month in March and International Women’s Day on March 8, an Art Ventures exhibit titled “Women Contem-Plate” opened with a reception March 5 at Eclectic Kitchen on Garland Avenue — and closed March 6 because of coronavirus concerns.

Women in India
(Courtesy Images/Carol Hart)

But Sharon Killian, the exhibit’s curator and president of the Art Ventures board, doesn’t give up easily. She had to prove she could think quickly and outside the box when Art Ventures lost its physical home on the Fayetteville square at the end of 2019. That meant successfully taking exhibits into spaces at the Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History, the Chamber of Commerce and the Faulkner Performing Arts Center galleries during January and February, but it didn’t help when covid-19 shut down “Women Contem-Plate.”

Tea Time
(Courtesy Images/Carol Hart)

“Hoping it would be a prescient move, I decided that Art Ventures should ask Kai Drachenberg, represented artist and co-owner of 3Rd Reality Productions, to shoot a video of the exhibition in place,” Killian picks up the story. “If we all had to stay home, Art Ventures would bring the exhibit home, too.”

“Art Ventures hired us because they knew we would be up for the challenge of making a video about ‘art on a wall’ in a way that was fun and accessible,” says Drachenberg, who founded 3Rd Reality Productions with David Long. “We used light, movement, camera pans, and handheld footage to bring this gallery to the people in an engaging way. We brought our creativity with a unique approach to showcasing each of the wonderful artists in this show, and we are proud of the results.”

“We wanted the video to bring the ambiance of the venue so that our audience could experience the exhibition in context,” Killian adds. “It may be a cliche in some circles, but food, feeding, enriching and nurturing have been a thing for women so, in that sense, the ‘Women Contem-Plate’ show at Eclectic Kitchen was a perfect pairing. I hope it brings pleasure to viewers, and a sense of uplift and determination.”

The Cat and Her Cohearts
(Courtesy Images/Carol Hart)

Killian also wants viewers to “see the personalities of the artists and have a desire to learn more about these local artists and their work.” Carol Hart is one of the four featured along with Eloa Jane, Joelle Storet and Denise Nicholson. Killian calls the exhibit “a celebration of Women’s History Month by women artists who are all pushing boundaries on their various artistic paths,” and Hart certainly fits that description. Several decades ago, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art with an emphasis in painting — and then did something completely different.

“After graduate school and marrying, I moved to Northwest Arkansas, where I taught children with developmental disabilities,” she explains. “This experience deeply affected me, and I decided to start an organization that would prepare and support adults with disabilities to live and work in our community. This was the beginning of Life Styles, a multifaceted organization that now provides quality services to hundreds of individuals.”

There was art involved during that time, of course.

The Seekers
(Courtesy Images/Carol Hart)

“Always believing in the importance and power of art, we started the Blair Art Center for individuals to find their voice and express themselves through a variety of mediums,” Hart says. “Today, these accomplished Life Styles artists enthusiastically show their work throughout the region.

“My life was wonderfully full not only with this growing organization but the amazing addition of two sons to our family,” she says. “I believe the reason I didn’t paint during this time and the years that followed was because I focused my creativity on these two special parts of my life.”

Hart retired in 2012, and today, she says, she loves “the painting process from that first kernel of an idea to the finished piece.”

Hart adds she is happy to be included in the “Women Contem-Plate” exhibit.

“I believe the exhibit illustrates the diversity we bring to our art and the strong place women artists hold in the art scene locally.”


Women In Niger
“I use bold bright colors, loose brush strokes and vivid patterns to bring attention to the interplay of shapes, color and texture,” says Carol Hart, one of the artists featured in Art Ventures’ “Women Contem-Plate” exhibit. “I frequently add collage elements, mark making, drawing on the canvas and sewing on paintings. I like to work in series as it gives me the opportunity to fully explore my subjects.”
(Courtesy Images/Carol Hart)

Go Online!

‘Women Contem-Plate’

Find the video on the Art Ventures page at

Or on the Art Ventures Facebook page

Categories: Cover Story