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Summer Celebration keeps area arts going

By Angela Spencer

This article was published May 18, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.

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Batesville Area Arts Council Executive Director Paige Dirksen stands in the council’s newly renovated space on East Main Street. The Summer Celebration, to be held June 13, is the council’s main fundraiser.

BATESVILLE — The space at 226 E. Main St. in Batesville provides a creative outlet for many in the community. A gallery space at the front shows off what artists have created, including traveling exhibits as well as works by local artists. In the back, a room with a chalkboard for one of its walls provides a space for children and adults alike to practice their art, whether it is high art or simple crafts.

The Batesville Area Arts Council’s upcoming Summer Celebration is the main fundraiser to keep the support going for the BAAC Gallery on Main and other BAAC organizations. The Summer Celebration will be held June 13 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and will include live music by Danny Dozier, Sarah Roark and John Parks, as well as dinner. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

The arts council was started in 1988 to provide a unified voice for art organizations in the community. Ten years later, the Main Street Art Gallery was opened in a space donated by the Fitzpatrick family.

Executive Director Paige Dirksen said the arts council moved next door into a newly renovated space earlier this year, and Dirksen said she is happy the organization is staying downtown.

“It’s really nice to be able to provide for the downtown area,” she said. “There’s a strong movement to revitalize downtown, and we’re happy to be here.”

Local artist Dave Timko sells his breadboards at the gallery. He has been doing woodwork of some kind since he was in the eighth grade and started making breadboards as Christmas presents several years ago.

“I’m just one of the local guys who doesn’t have the resource to branch out,” he said.

His main source of income is working at Daylight Donuts, but he said his woodwork is just as important, giving him a chance to get away and create.

“I don’t hunt or fish, so it’s my chance to escape,” he said.

Timko’s woodwork has been sold in the BAAC gallery for about two years, and he said he has enjoyed working with the council.

“I think they provide an outlet for artists like me,” he said. “It’s been received well by the community.”

As things settle down from the move, Dirksen said, she plans to add more programs for local artists.

Youth programs have been popular, she said, and the arts council plans to offer more for youth as time goes on.

“I’ve had a great response from the community,” she said. “I’m excited to get back to those programs. We’ll continue to keep adding more.”

In July, the arts council will host a camp for children in kindergarten through the fifth grade. They will work on art projects, and after the camp is over their work will be exhibited in the gallery from Aug. 12 to Sept. 19. Dirksen said the council will have an opening reception and will work to be sure the children have a memorable experience.

“They get to feel like professional artists,” she said. “They had a blast with it last year.”

Other opportunities at the arts council include monthly workshops and ladies’ craft nights. Both provide a chance for individuals to practice their skills.

“We try to provide a lot of variety,” Dirksen said. “It’s nice to be able to build those skills.”

The ladies’ craft night is relatively new, Dirksen said. Women have worked with materials such as clay and paper to make jewelry and household decorations.

“It’s brought a whole new group of people into the gallery,” she said.

Tickets to the Batesville Area Arts Council Summer Celebration are $40 in advance or $45 at the door and are available at Carlee’s Hallmark, Citizens Bank, First Community Bank, the BAAC Gallery on Main and the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Staff writer Angela Spencer can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or aspencer@arkansasonline.com.

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