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Like a glob of medium in a blob of paint, September has brought new vigor to the arts scene, with galleries bringing in new art in the expectation of a cooled-off clientele. A number of special events in upcoming days — including exhibitions tied to the ACANSA Arts Festival, 2nd Friday Art Night receptions, the installation of outdoor art — should keep any devoted gallery-goer busy.
ACANSA, which officially kicks off Wednesday, Sept. 16, with a performance by the Symphony Orchestra and a party at Matt McLeod's new gallery at Sixth and Main streets, is hosting the 2nd Friday Art Night reception at the Butler Center galleries, 5-8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11, and shows at the Argenta Gallery and the Arkansas Arts Center. Angela Davis Johnson, whose recent work includes portraits to address missing women, is showing paintings at Argenta starting Wednesday. "A Little Poetry: The Art of Alonzo Ford" at the Arts Center shows the work of the little-known but terrific self-taught artist from Lexa. The Butler Center opens a new show of works by a Conway iconoclast: "Gene Hatfield: Outside the Lines." "Disparate Acts Redux," featuring monumental charcoals of David Bailin and paintings by Warren Criswell and Sammy Peters, continues in the main gallery.
Other 2nd Friday Art Night exhibitions: The Arkansas Capital Corp. kicks off a new program, "Beyond the Natural State," with an exhibition of woodcuts and pen and ink drawings by Christa Marquez of Taos, N.M., "infiniti no. 1." The Historic Arkansas Museum opens a new exhibition, "Growing Up ... In Words and Images," paintings by Pine Bluff native and NBA All-Star Joe Barry Carroll (Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, New Jersey Nets, Denver Nuggets and the Phoenix Suns) from his memoir. Carroll, who is now a wealth adviser, philanthropist, painter and writer, will sign copies of the book at the opening. Painter Tyler Arnold has a show of new paintings at Gallery 221 and Sandra Marson is showing watercolors at the Cox Creative Center. The Old State House Museum is showing "War Eagle, Arkansas" as part of its series, "2nd Friday Cinema with Ben Fry."
Also Friday night, Cantrell Gallery opens the sixth annual "Arkansas League of Artists" exhibit; painter Carole Katchen was the juror for the show. The awards ceremony is at 5:30 p.m. and the reception runs 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Art Gallery in the Pleasant Ridge Shopping Center also hosts an exhibition, "Americana," paintings by Seth Bailey, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. In Conway, the Baum Gallery at the University of Central Arkansas hosts a reception from 4 to 6 p.m. for its new exhibition of sculpture by Dan Steinhilber. People who visited Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art's "State of the Art" exhibition last year will remember Steinhilber's "Reflecting Room" of mylar kept inflated by a fan. The university will unveil the Washington, D.C., artist's outdoor installation at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Two other exhibitions open at more distant venues Friday night: The South Arkansas Arts Center in El Dorado opens "Contemporary Folk Art: Four Decades of Creativity: My Way," paintings by African-American Arkansans Melverue Abraham, Sylvester McKissack, Willie Earl Robinson and Sondra Strong and Vickburg, Miss., artist Kennith Humphrey. Garbo Hearne of Hearne Fine Art curated the show; the reception is 6-8 p.m. Paintings and works on paper by the late 20th century artist Patrick Angus, who was known for his paintings of the Gaiety Theater in New York (and dubbed the "Toulouse Lautrec of Times Square"), go on exhibit at the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum; the opening reception is 5-7 p.m.
Also on Saturday, from 8 a.m. to noon, the Thea Foundation hosts its 10th annual sidewalk chalk event, "Thea Paves the Way," at the Clinton Presidential Center. Families and school teams will cover the walkways with art and get free admission to the library.