Tiny But Mighty

Tiny But Mighty

NWA makes big statement in small works


For more than three decades, the Arkansas Arts Council has brought work to the people with its traveling exhibition “Small Works on Paper.” A juried exhibition, “Small Works” shines the spotlight on working artists from our state: the exhibition is open only to Arkansas artists and travels to different venues across the state each year, making it uncommon among juried exhibitions.

“It’s certainly a tradition — a 34-year-old tradition for the Arkansas Arts Council,” Patrick Ralston, director of the council, says proudly. “It’s something that artists look forward to and that art organizations and galleries across the state look forward to hosting. It’s always a tour de force, a showcase of Arkansas’ best artists, both new and established.”

The framework of the exhibition is simple, Ralston says. Works must be no larger than 18-by-24 inches, two-dimensional, able to be framed and submitted by state artists who are part of the Arkansas Artist Registry. (Membership is free.)

“You still have a tremendous amount of creativity and variety that can be done,” Ralston says, marveling at the diversity of yearly submissions. “So, I would say what I see is that ‘Small Works on Paper’ consistently reflects the state of mind, the state of our community. It’s a cross-section of the portfolio of our artists, but it’s also kind of a cross-section of where their heads are at.”

A maximum of 40 pieces will be chosen to tour over the course of the year. Ralston admits council members were wary that submissions might be drastically fewer for this year due to the pandemic, but that they ended up being delighted at the amount and calibre of the works submitted for 2021.

“You can say that it’s perhaps a more introspective, maybe a little darker, ‘Small Works on Paper’ this year,” Ralston says of the artists’ reflections on 2020. “But I also think that it’s a testament to the creativity of artists in the harsh conditions. I just think that creation and creativity has been a refuge for many of our artists.”

Northwest Arkansas is always strongly represented in the exhibition, Ralston reveals, and 2021 is no exception. Due to covid-19 concerns, the touring schedule has had to remain flexible and may not be coming through our corner of the state this year. But the “Small Works on Paper 2021” exhibition will be available on the Arkansas Arts Council’s website soon, and information and images of work for each included artist can already be found there. In the meantime, get to know some of the Northwest Arkansas artists included in the 2021 exhibition below.

Kinya Christian

Springdale artist Kinya Christian typically paints on large canvases. Her pieces are colorful and layered, with metallics and texture placed to catch the light. For her first ever piece selected for the “Small Works on Paper” traveling exhibition, Christian translated that vision to a smaller scale and different backdrop than generally seen in her work. As her Italian-inspired piece travels the state, Christian says that as a Black creator, she is particularly happy “for people to see that what I find beautiful, and my interests, aren’t any different than most.”

“The work is titled, ‘Cucina,’ which is ‘kitchen’ in Italian,” Kinya Christian says of her piece. “My love of food, wine and travel inspired this painting. I had just recently passed the first test with the Court of Master Sommeliers, and this painting flowed so naturally, representing where my mind and heart were at the time.”
(Courtesy Image)

“It’s been a struggle, and at times, a true labor of love to bring my works to the public eye,” Christian says of being a Black artist in the Ozarks. “I moved here over 20 years ago from Kansas City, Mo. It’s taken 20 years to gain traction, to feel like I’m hitting some of my artistic goals, and begin to have my voice heard. I think that art — in its various expressions — produced by people of color, hasn’t always been welcomed in Northwest Arkansas. I can see that beginning to change, and I hope I can continue to be a part of that change.”

“As someone whose primary income is illustration and writing, I feel extraordinarily proud to see some of my work represented in a fine art setting,” Fayetteville printmaker and graphics artist Taylor Dolan says of her inclusion in “Small Works on Paper.”

Taylor Dolan

“Before moving to Northwest Arkansas, I had some very negative preconceived notions of the area. I had no idea that there was such a blossoming and thriving art culture in a state that I couldn’t previously have labeled correctly on a map,” artist Taylor Dolan admits. Now the illustrator and writer calls Fayetteville home and is among the Northwest Arkansas artists chosen for this year’s “Small Works on Paper” exhibition.

Dolan confesses a deep love for the Decadent art movement from the late 19th century, and points to the great many influences of this era that pop up in her work. Imagery that is heavily patterned, figurative and “always wallows in a good deal of flat black ink” are consistently present in her style, including the three pieces chosen for inclusion in the exhibition.

“The self-portrait was the riskiest of the three,” she reveals. “I painted it during a very dark period in my journey with mental health issues and, consequently, it felt rather vulnerable to share. The other two are screen prints from a series of experimentations I did at Spudnik Studio in Chicago.”

Terra Fondriest

“I always love when a cross-section of a story can be told, and I see that happening with the ‘Small Works on Paper’ exhibit,” shares St. Joe photographer Terra Fondriest. “It’s artists from across backgrounds and across the state, all together telling one complex, interesting story. I’m a visual storyteller that most definitely sees the value and honor of being part of a larger story.”

Until moving to the Ozarks a dozen years ago, photography was just a hobby for Terra Fondriest. Now, the St. Joe artist is working on a whole project based on the region that she has titled “Ozark Life.” Photographing moments in her family’s everyday life as well as telling stories from the surrounding community, Fondriest’s goal is to create a patchwork of what present-day Ozark Life looks and feels like.


“As many who call the Ozarks home know, the hills really do dictate our rhythm of life: calving season, hunting season, morel season, summer in the rivers and creeks, feeding and milking, harvesting. … It becomes the cadence of our lives,” she muses. “The photos that I choose to include in ‘Ozark Life’ help tell that story. And the two images that were chosen for the ‘Small Works’ exhibit were new photos I’d taken that I thought helped move forward the story I am trying to tell.”

This is Fondriest’s third time as part of the exhibition, and she hopes her photos will make viewers across the state feel like they are in the scene — seeing and feeling the moment — with her raw and intimate style.

T. Harrington

Tammy Harrington

“My work is a blending of my interpretations of traditional Chinese designs into personalized figurative compositions,” Tammy Harrington begins. “Initially in my print work, the paper cut designs appeared as textures and patterns that melded with the figure. I took the next step and actually cut into the paper and printed surface. The combination of the paper cut with other media shifts the idea of space to be both dimensional and flat. The cut paper is crisp and has a graphic appearance. Delicate lines combine with bold shapes and color to create visual movement and vibration.”

“The size limitation of this juried exhibition is an equalizer. As I develop my work, I think about what can I do within the boundaries of this size to create an impactful visual effect,” muses Russellville’s Tammy Harrington.
(Courtesy Image)

Harrington’s pieces are cut by hand with her trusty X-acto knife and represent both her Chinese heritage and her love of printmaking. By layering different papers and imagery, the Russellville artist blends the bold with the subtle in her work. The 2021 event is her fourth showing in the traveling exhibition, and second inclusion alongside husband Neal.

“There is such a rich tradition of the arts in Arkansas, and I am honored to be part of it,” Harrington shares. “I have been fortunate to have friendships with several Arkansas artists. Being around art, talking about art and seeing art in person is important. My current style was borne out of discussions and suggestions by other artists. It is hard to grow and be creative in a vacuum.”

Neal Harrington

N. Harrington

This year is also the fourth time Tammy’s husband and fellow artist Neal Harrington has been accepted to the “Small Works on Paper” exhibition. Pointing to the competitive nature of the juried submission process — Harrington has been accepted four times in 19 years — he sees the exhibit as a great opportunity for Arkansas artists.

“The ‘SWOP’ traveling exhibit gives such a diverse group of viewers the opportunity to see our actual works in person; I know that at least one former student has decided to study at Arkansas Tech University (where I have been a professor since 2001) due to seeing one of my works in this show,” he demonstrates.

“Recently, an artist friend of mine from Little Rock introduced me as such: ‘This is Neal Harrington, he is large, loud and obnoxious, just like his artwork.’ I accept this description, and I am glad that it carries over into my smaller works as well. It’s good to be consistent!”

Harrington’s selected work for 2021 is titled “Sprung!” and is a color reduction linoleum cut.

“Color reduction linoleum is a printmaking process made from one block of linoleum where colors are printed one color at a time, from lightest to darkest, on multiple pieces of paper. After a color is printed you carve away that area of the linoleum and print the next color,” he details. “This process is repeated until the only sections of the linoleum that are left are the dark sections. You can print as many of the edition as you want but you cannot go back and make more — you are carving and printing, carving and printing, until the linoleum block is essentially destroyed.”

Diana Michelle Hausam

“My recent work is very personal as I am turning the camera on my family, in particular, my-coming-of-age daughter and title of my piece, ‘Addy,’” shares West Fork photographer Diana Michelle Hausam. “As I go further in my artist career path, I am choosing to document my family for my sake and for my family. I realize as a photographer it is my duty and I need to do more of this.”

“Being an artist during a pandemic … IS NOT EASY,” emphasizes West Fork photographer Diana Michelle Hausam. “I still want to show my work; I want people to see it. So I am rushing around working hard for this because as an artist you have to. You just do. It does not stop.”


Some of Hausam’s works can currently be seen at the Art Collective Gallery in Rogers, Art Ventures in Fayetteville, and she recently delivered a large metal piece to Jones Gallery in Kansas City, Mo. But Hausam says she is excited to have her work shown to a vast number of people across the state and calls her third inclusion in “SWOP” a “true blessing.”

“Because my work is very personal, I certainly do not create art to please other people. I do it for me and only me. This is deeply satisfying,” she shares. “My work in general is macabre in nature. I turn my camera to abandoned houses and try to find that one thing that was left behind that has feelings — holds my feelings. I capture that feeling and then I can let go of it, emotionally and artistically. My photography is therapy. It is not always pleasant, and it is somewhat dark, but it is real.”

Eloa Jane Pereira


A first-time “SWOP” contributor, Fayetteville mixed media artist Eloa Jane works in recycled paper — from office paper to coffee filters — to create wall reliefs, sculptures, vases and wearable art. She has been gradually developing her signature and style since finding the medium in 2005, but she found a new sense of growth after relocating to the Ozarks in 2014.

“‘Reunion’ is inspired by a father, temporarily separated from his family, having the chance to hug his son once more,” explains Eloa Jane Pereira, Fayetteville multimedia artist. “The inspiration became much more powerful during the covid-19 pandemic after a year of isolation and separation. A hug became a rare commodity. I wanted to focus on the good we miss instead of the bad we face.”
Pereira’s powerful piece was chosen as the cover for the exhibition’s marketing poster.
(Courtesy Image)

“Northwest Arkansas gave me more time to dedicate myself to research and production,” she says, comparing Fayetteville to previous homes on the East Coast. “Also, I have had many art doors opened for me in Northwest Arkansas: as an associated artist with the Crystal Bridges store, as part of the first Northwest Arkansas Artist Inc. professional training in Springdale, as the artist selected for the 2020 Award sponsored by the Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

“In 2019, I completed my series ‘Neighbor and Neighborhood’ with the support of Mid-America Arts Alliance Innovation Grant. In this series I depicted people, pets and the landscape of Beav-O-Rama park, a rural community in Fayetteville. The exhibition took place at Art Ventures gallery, which represents my work. This series was definitely a turning point in my career.”


Kendall Schulz


Another “SWOP” debut is for Bentonville painter and mixed media artist Kendall Schulz. Two pieces from her “Use What You Have” series were chosen for the exhibition. Schulz more often works with acrylic paints on canvas and found the challenge of incorporating her painting technique onto paper an exciting one.

“Living in Northwest Arkansas has definitely bolstered my creativity. Being surrounded by nature and having so many options to get outside and ‘get away’ — without going very far at all — is such a blessing,” Bentonville painter and mixed media artist Kendall Schulz enthuses. “And of course, the unbelievable art museums. I’m very thankful we landed in an area that puts so much effort into supporting the arts community. So many blessings.”
(Courtesy Image)

“I combined remnants of some of my acrylic painting canvases that I deconstructed with scraps of leather and suede,” she begins. “They’re sewn together in a patchwork style and sewn onto a heavyweight paper. It’s a bit of nod to the idea of ‘waste not, want not’ — using scraps that would otherwise be thrown out.

“I work with acrylic paints on canvas — linear patterns, very heavy on the lines,” Schulz adds of her style. “I love thick layers and strive to create a feeling of texture with a patchwork, ‘broken-in’ feel. I’m very inspired by the patterns and colors in quilts and Native American trade blankets. My paintings tend to have bold geometric designs layered with fine-line details, repeated many times over!”


‘Small Works on Paper 2021’

WHEN — Through 2021

WHERE — Various venues around Arkansas; available online

COST — Free

INFO — arkansasarts.org

FYI — Find artist websites and more information for each creator in the Arkansas Artist Registry at arkansasarts.org

Categories: Galleries