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Cantrell Gallery celebrates its 35th year.

'YELLOW-HAIR WOMAN': Spot Daniels' work at Cantrell Gallery.
  • 'YELLOW-HAIR WOMAN': Spot Daniels' work at Cantrell Gallery.
In 1970, Helen and Norman Scott opened the tiny gallery Art Fair at 822 W. Seventh St., using their own collection of decorative oils as its stock. Today, Art Fair’s descendent, Cantrell Gallery at 8206 Cantrell Road, has turned its focus to local talent, and it will celebrate both those artists and its 35th birthday with a party for the public from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, April 22. There will be works by each of the gallery’s 32 regular artists, refreshments and music by the Reverburritos. Helen Scott, now joined by her daughter Cindy and son-in-law Clarke Huisman in the business, credits the store’s staying power in the always iffy enterprise of selling art to the fact that “it’s just way fun.” She added that the business has gotten less iffy in the past few years. “It’s just amazing how much more interest [in art] there is,” Scott said. Her clients are much more knowledgeable now, both about art and about the kind of framing they want — with archival mats — than in Art Fair’s early days. Helen Scott said experiencing the changing identity of the gallery and its customers as the years have gone by has been “the most wonderful thing I can think of.” Among the works to be featured in the birthday exhibit are a drawing by Warren Criswell, who joined the gallery’s stable in the 1970s as a representational watercolorist; photographs by his wife, Janet Criswell; a watercolor by Barry Lindley; the outsider work of Spot Daniels of Prescott; and paintings by John Deering, Ovita Goolsby, Sandy Hubler, Betty McMath, Sarah Merkle, Patricia Wilkes and Norman Scott. The exhibit will run through June 4. Artworks XVII, an auction of more than 100 works of art to benefit the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, is set for at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 23, in the lobby of the theater at 601 Main St. The annual benefit will this year feature a live auction with Craig O’Neill and KATV news anchor Kate Sullivan as emcees as well as a silent auction. Among the donor artists are painter and sculptor Kevin Kresse, watercolorist Jackie Fish, pottery by Julie Holt, and an abstract piece by Todd Crockett. Tickets are $30; reserve by calling the box office at 378-0405 or 866-684-3737. New York artist Whitfield Lovell has since 2000 been creating three-dimensional art — installations — that depict the life of turn-of-the century African Americans in the South. With salvaged wood and artifacts, sometimes blues music, he creates a scene. It may be a parlor with a rough table and chair, a bedroom, an exterior wall. Then, in a reverse of shadow boxing, Lovell draws the room’s occupant on one wall in charcoal. The figure is two-dimensional — a “Whisper on the Wall” — but Lovell’s scenes, which come to the Arkansas Arts Center on April 22 in an exhibit by that name, are anything but. Lovell, 46, has exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum and the National Museum of Art. The installation, a program of Exhibits USA, will remain in the Jeannette Rockefeller Gallery until June 19.
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