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New Crystal Bridges piece, exhibits.

click to enlarge "THE ISLAND": Crystal Bridges gets the Walton Ford piece.
  • "THE ISLAND": Crystal Bridges gets the Walton Ford piece.

*Walton Ford is an American artist who invests his naturalist-style drawings and paintings with biting content — literally. In his work “The Island,” Tasmanian wolves (thylacines) tear at and devour lambs; but, as the island setting hints, it was the thylacine that was doomed, unable to escape the hunters of Tasmania.

“The Island,” part of an exhibit of work by Ford traveling to Berlin and Vienna later this month, is now part of the collection of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the museum announced Tuesday. The watercolor, a triptych, ought to pep things up on Crystal Bridges walls, hanging among the portraits of George Washington and Samuel Morse. (Those walls are not yet built. The museum, the project of Alice Walton, is going up on Walton property in Bentonville; no opening date has been announced.)

“The Island” is the only two-dimensional work by a living artist to be revealed as part of the collection.

*The 52nd annual Delta Exhibition, juried this year by Art Institute of Chicago drawings curator Martha Tedeschi, will open Friday, Jan. 29, with 51 works. Tedeschi, who has written about Winslow Homer and James McNeill Whistler, chose the prize winners, including two Arkansans for Delta Awards: Kathy Bay of Sherwood (“Txtrd Msg,” collage on paper) and Kat Wilson of Fort Smith (“Rudy, Arkansas,” digital print). They won cash awars of $750.

Arkansans winning honorable mentions include Sheila Cantrell of Batesville (“Pitchers and Pears,” colored pencil), Greer Farris of Fort Smith (“Epines Si Vous Plait,” pine, rose and bois d'arc), and Dennis McCann of Maumelle (“North Little Rock Neighborhood,” pastel).

Other Arkansas artists who'll exhibit: Ed Barham, Meredith Beau, Jane Colclasure, Ted Grimmett, Anne Haley, Steve Hollis, Andy Huss, Erin Lorenzen, Jason McCann, Liz Noble, Don Phillips, Dominique Simmons and Marjorie Williams-Smith, all of Little Rock; Latoya Hobbs, Callie Mott Matthews and Vicki Mott Matthews, all of North Little Rock; Mac Hornecker and Carey Roberson, both of Arkadelphia; Joe Bruhin, Fox; Don Lee, Fort Smith; Joshua Miller, Benton; Katherine Monroe, Roland; Ed Pennebaker, Green Forest; Mary Shelton, Cabot; Zeek Taylor, Eureka Springs; Craig Allen Voligny, Fayetteville; and Steven Wise, Rogers.

A lithograph by Kyle Chaput of Corpus Christi won the $2,500 Grand Award.

*Another annual show with the Delta moniker, the 2010 Delta National Small Prints Exhibition, opens Thursday, Jan. 21, in the Bradbury Gallery of Arkansas State University. Like the Arts Center, ASU selected a juror from the major leagues, David Kiehl, curator of prints at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Works weren't identified by name during the judging, so ASU was particularly pleased that two on its faculty — Shelley Gipson and John Salvest — and two of its art graduates are represented in the exhibit. There will be a 5 p.m. reception on opening day.

*People power will be the subject Tuesday, Jan. 26, when Downtown Partnership head Sharon Priest will talk about the ongoing project to redesign MacArthur Park as part of the “Art of Architecture” lecture series at the Arkansas Arts Center.
“MacArthur Park Redux: Never Underestimate What a Group of Citizens Can Do” will focus on the efforts of 56 park supporters who, meeting every Friday for the last four years, raised $105,000 and got the city's backing to give a facelift to the 40-acre park downtown. A model of the park and drawings will be on display.

The event begins with a 5:30 p.m. reception in the lower lobby; the talk will be at 6 p.m.

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