More than 90 works of art hang in second annual WAC exhibit

More than 90 works of art hang in second annual WAC exhibit

Bentonville artist Jan Waldon was the first to submit to the second annual “Our Art, Our Region, Our Time” exhibition, on display through Nov. 14 in the Joy Pratt Markham Gallery at the Walton Arts Center.

And exhibition curator Kathy Thompson knew immediately she wanted to include Waldon’s artworks in the showcase of Northwest Arkansas’ new and iconic creatives.

“She does cross-stitching on old photographs,” Thompson explains. “She said the world was so crazy, she had to stitch it back together.”

Like many of the new artists selected, Waldon was influenced by the biggest event of 2020-21.

“The covid-19 pandemic and lockdown inspired me to create art,” the Bentonville artist explains. “It was a peaceful and creative outlet during a time of great fear and anxiety.

“By embellishing with thread onto paper, I bring new and different memories to otherwise discarded images. Sewing onto paper is slow, meticulous and therapeutic.”

“We looked at her entry, looked at each other and said, ‘This is going to work,’” Thompson remembers.

“Our Art, Our Region, Our Time” was initiated in 2021, in part to mark the 30th anniversary of the Walton Arts Center.

“There were a lot of different ideas tossed around, and Peter [Lane, WAC CEO] asked me to do research on a retrospective of every artist who had been in the gallery and get selections from them,” remembers Jason Smith, director of executive administration, classical music and special initiatives for WAC. “The words were barely done being spoken when I said we would serve our community better if we did a regional art show.

“The art community has always wanted WAC to be that hub. We are a beautiful convener,” he goes on. “People come here and come together to participate in the arts — to watch performances, to listen to music. We’ve been missing that place for visual arts and visual artists to come together.”

In the exhibition’s first year, more than 200 submissions were received and about 75 of them were displayed. This year, there was “a 55% increase in participation from our last call for art,” Thompson says, for a total of more than 90 works selected. Working with Smith, the pair discovered that as happened in 2021, “themes of isolation and self-reflection are still strong among the works, but this year the size and scale of the individual art works are much larger.” Also, she adds, “we noticed so many faces in this work, almost as though people were unveiling themselves in a way.”

Diversity was also a big goal for the exhibition, and both Smith and Thompson feel like that benchmark was reached.

“This is a reaffirming kind of show, because it shows you that so many different kinds of people and different ages, from different places in Northwest Arkansas, consider this their community,” Smith says.

“The overarching feeling I took away from [the opening reception] is how happy everybody was — they were almost ecstatic to be there, looking at the art. It is so reaffirming — life affirming,” Thompson says.

“I think it also had a lot to do with people feeling like because it’s such a huge diversity of age, race, gender, gender identity, everything, when people walk into that gallery, they feel like they belong,” Smith adds. “It’s not elitist, not preachy — there is something for absolutely every person to connect to.”



‘Our Art, Our Region, Our Time’

WHEN — Through Nov. 14; gallery hours are noon-2 p.m. weekdays and 1 hour before and during intermission of all performances

WHERE — Walton Arts Center’s Joy Pratt Markham Gallery

COST — Free

INFO — 443-5600;



The Artists

Included in this year’s showcase are:

Bella Vista

Paige Dirksen

Stephanie Lewis


Ekaterina Kouznetsova

Somnath Mukherjee

Derek P. Scott

Amy Terry

Jan Waldon


Mim Wynne

Eureka Springs

John Rankine

Zeek Taylor


Maryam Amirvaghefi

Jennifer Baugh

Whitney Allen Johnston Bell

Aaron Bleidt

Skye Compton

Daniel Coston

Lara Felipe

Shelby Fleming

Vincent Frimpong

Aaron Giles

Kathleen Shannon O’Brien Hale

Pat Hennon

Kylanna Hardaway

Nick Hobbs

Susan Idlet

Mark Jackson

Hank Kaminsky

Acadia Kandora

Shabana Kauser

Maurice Konkle

Rebecca Ann LaTourette

Leilani Law

Michael Louis LeBlanc

Kellie Rushelle Lehr

Cate McCoy

Brian Meyer

Shelley Mouber

Ray Allen Parker

Sabine Schmidt

Chris Schultz

Dea Self

JooEun Seo

Steven Schneider

Joel Storet

Deborah Thomas

Jody Travis Thompson

South Walker

Tim Walker

Fort Smith

Sarah Ridgley

Amy Scoggins


Leon Niehues


Eugene Sargent


Scott Litzman


Louise Halsey


Terese Conway

Cory Corbett

Chuck Davis

David Gomez

Catherine Goenner

Pat Lewis

Monica McClear


Daniel Kostic


Kinya Christian

Kirby Clark

Larry Copas

Brian Elenbarger

Anna Kennedy Guyton

Shay Holloway

Brandon Jennings

Milan Jilka

Van Buren

Mary Elkins


Katelyn Kingcade


Cindy Arsaga

Cheryl Buell

Categories: Galleries