Arkadelphia chosen for community mural

By DANIEL MARSH Published August 5, 2012 at 2:29 a.m.
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— The city of Arkadelphia has been chosen as the site of a mural to be painted by a nationally renowned artist, thanks to a grant the city will receive through the Mid-America Arts Alliance.

Farrell Ford, director of the Clark County Arts and Humanities Council, said Arkadelphia will receive a grant in the amount of $27,100, which will pay mural artist Dave Loewenstein of Lawrence, Kan., an assistant and an apprentice to create the painting, which will go on one of two walls in downtown Arkadelphia.

Two community meetings have been set in which the content of the mural will be discussed. The first meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Conference Room of the Dawson Education Co-Operative on Clinton Street. A second meeting will be held at the same time and place Thursday.

Ford said the public is encouraged to attend the meetings so that input from the community can be applied to the mural, which will depict life in Arkadelphia.

“It will be a lasting work of art,” Ford said. “People have asked [local artists], ‘Why don’t you paint a mural?’ The answer is, we don’t know how to paint a mural. How do you prepare? Where do you get the money? We have now got a professional, skilled person who knows how to do it, and it will be another art dimension for Arkadelphia.”

Arkadelphia is the fourth city to be selected by the Mid-America Arts Alliance for a mural. Other towns where murals have been completed are Tonkawa, Okla.; Newton, Kan.; and Joplin, Mo.

Ford said several Arkansas cities were considered for the Community Mural Project. Loewenstein did site surveys in Fort Smith, Russellville, Hot Springs and Conway, cities which, along with Arkadelphia, submitted proposals to the Mid-American Alliance.

“I think we were chosen because our proposal included our history,” Ford said. “We’re a different town. There’s something about us being a small town, but we have the flavor of an educational town. We have a very active arts organization. We are an arts community, and that is being recognized.”

Loewenstein and his helpers will be housed in Arkadelphia for three months while the project is under way, and Ford said she expects the project will begin by the first of September.

The walls under consideration for the project are on the west side of the Honeycomb Restaurant on Main Street, and on Kelzek Fine Jewelry and Gifts at Sixth and Main streets.

Loewenstein, she said, will decide which wall will sport the mural.

“They are not cut in stone,” Ford said of the two possible canvasses, “but we did recommend them.”

At the meeting on Thursday, Loewenstein will deliver a PowerPoint presentation and talk about how his work will progress.

“People will get to know more about him,” Ford said.

She urged members of the community to attend the meeting.

“We want this mural to reflect life in Arkadelphia and to reflect our diversity,” she said. “It will be a lasting symbol of our efforts to create a lasting work of public art.”

Staff writer Daniel A. Marsh can be reached at (501) 399-3688 or dmarsh@arkansasonline.com.

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