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Artisans work on display in Arkadelphia

by Carol Rolf/Contributing Writer | September 4, 2016 at 12:00 a.m.
Rosie Huddleston of Arkadelphia has been making wooden baskets for 28 years. Samples of her work are included in the exhibit The Fine Art of Crafts: Showcasing Area Artisans that is open at the Arkadelphia Arts Center.

— In her role as executive director of the Clark County Arts and Humanities Council, Farrell Ford is always on the lookout for artwork by new artists to display at the Arkadelphia Arts Center.

“My aim is to find various artists locally and not just visual or performing artists,” she said as she discussed the arts center’s newest exhibition, The Fine Art of Crafts: Showcasing Area Artisans. “All of these artists are different; they all use different mediums. Some are woodcarvers, some are instrument-makers, and some work with metals. They all use natural materials.

“We have nearly 200 items of varying art forms represented in this show,” she said. “We have woodcarving, pottery, woven baskets, quilting, musical instruments, duck and turkey calls, tole painting, jewelry, bird houses and metal forged items.”

Ford, who taught art at Arkadelphia Junior High School before going into counseling and retiring from Henderson State University, has work in the current show, as does her husband, Jim Ford. Among Farrell Ford’s works are cypress knees in their natural form that she orders from out-of-state — it is illegal to harvest cypress knees in Arkansas — and then paints with acrylic paint. Jim Ford’s art includes furniture and other wood-constructed items.

Other artisans with work in the exhibit include George Baker of Arkadelphia, woodcarving; Jack Caldwell of Arkadelphia, wood construction; Bryan Caldwell of Okolona, wood, lathe and finish; Debi Caldwell of Okolona, wood, lathe and finish; Linda Duncan of Gurdon, silver and silverplate; John Faust of Arkadelphia, wood construction; David Gardner of Arkadelphia, woodcarving; John Horton of Arkadelphia, wood construction; Patricia Horton of Arkadelphia, acrylic painting; Rosie Huddleston of Arkadelphia, wood weaving; Terry Hughes of Gurdon, authentic multimedia construction; Paul Mann of Bismarck, woodcarving; Buddy Sims of Arkadelphia, metal construction; Sheldon Smith of Gurdon, woodcarving; Michael Tankersly of Arkadelphia, wood construction; Charles Todd of Arkadelphia, wood construction; and Nick Todd of Arkadelphia, wood construction.

The Fine Art of Crafts: Showcasing Area Artisans will be on exhibit through Sept. 23 at the Arkadelphia Arts Center, 625 Main St. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call (870) 403-8216 or visit the Arkadelphia Arts Center’s Facebook page.

Once the Fine Art of Crafts exhibit closes, Ford will quickly mount another one.

Next up will be Prints by Ed Martin, featuring prints by the Arkadelphia artist Edwin “Ed” Martin, who retired as a professor of art at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia. That exhibit will be on display Sept. 28 through Oct. 15.

“All of his prints will be for sale,” Ford said. “Everyone knows his work, so I feel this will be an exciting and well-attended exhibit.”

And quickly following the close of the Martin exhibit will come another art-related event — the 10th annual Round About Artists Studio Tour, sponsored by the Caddo River Art Guild. Ford is also president of the Caddo River Art Guild, which is a nonprofit organization that meets monthly at the Arkadelphia Arts Center and is promoted by the Clark County Arts and Humanities Council.

The 2016 Round About Artist Studio Tour will take place Oct. 21-23 at various artists’ studios, as well as at the Arkadelphia Arts Center. Hours for the self-guided tours, which are free, are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 21 and 22 and 1-4 p.m. Oct. 23.

To register for the tour, visit the Arkadelphia Arts Center or the Diamond Lakes Visitors Center, 124 Valley Road in Caddo Valley.

Ford said prizes will be given this year as an extra incentive for patrons to visit all of the tour sites. Prizes range in value from $25 to $300; tour cards will be given at the registration sites and will be stamped by the various artists. Winners will be drawn from all eligible entries on Oct. 26 and notified that day.

For more information, visit or call (870) 245-7982.

Ford said the Clark County Arts and Humanities Council is dedicated to “bringing arts to the community, and the community to the arts.”

Through the council’s efforts, with the help of the community, the Arkadelphia Arts Center was opened in 2011 in the restored circa-1932 Royal Theatre, which continues to require maintenance.

The Arkadelphia Arts Center will conclude the year with its annual Holiday Bazaar, Nov. 16 through Dec. 17. Artwork and related items will be for sale during normal gallery hours.

Recently, the Clark County Arts and Humanities Council received a $19,950 award from the West Central Arkansas Planning and Development District Inc.’s General Improvement Fund Grant Program for roof repair and application of seamless waterproof membrane over the top of the existing roof surface at the Arkadelphia Arts Center.

The West Central Arkansas Planning and Development District General Improvement Fund grants are given to city and county governments and community groups within the House and Senate districts of the district. The 90th Arkansas General Assembly appropriated funding to the district for the grant program to assist local communities with their community and economic-development needs.


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