The Fort Smith Regional Art Museum partnered with the Ozark Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation on Thursday (Oct. 24) for the first annual "Portraits of Hope" auction and reception. The event showcased local artists and gave members of the community a glimpse into what "hope looks like" for many in the area.
Hosted at the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum (RAM), the event included a silent auction and a wine and hors d'oeuvre reception, sponsored by Rheem. Guests perused more than 55 pieces in the "Portraits of Hope" exhibit, taking the chance to bid on their favorite or most inspiring entry.
Prior to the event, a "call to artists" was issued by the museum, inviting members of the community to submit artworks for the project. Participants were instructed to create an inspiring piece of what hope looked like to them. Artists of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels were eligible to participate.
Twenty-two local, independent artists took part in the event. Dozens of area students also answered RAM's community call for artists. Twenty of the featured artworks came from students in Marcia Tomlin's art class at Southside High School in Fort Smith and 14 were created by students in Pablo Guerra-Monje's theater course at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.
Works ranged in mediums, with numerous paintings, photographs and even mixed textile projects on display. UAFS theater students designed costumes for the project, many incorporating pieces of into their "portraits."
In addition to their artwork, participants were asked to submit an explanation of their piece and how it depicted hope for them. Many provided detailed descriptions of how their creation reflected their view of hope and gave background on why the subject was so dear to them.
FSRAM Executive Director Lee Ortega was overwhelmed by the community's reaction to the project.
"The response truly exceeded my expectations," said Ortega. "We are so pleased by how many artists chose to take part in this. These pieces are pretty powerful."
Ortega said RAM was pleased to partner with the Komen Foundation for the event and in supporting Komen's mission of increasing breast cancer awareness. Teresa Jones, Rural Outreach Coordinator for Komen Ozark, was also thrilled by the joint venture.
"We are excited to be partnering with RAM for this wonderful event," said Jones. "Not only does this help raise awareness for our organization and for breast cancer, but it gets more people in the museum's doors promoting the great work they do, as well."
Admission to the reception and auction were free, with donations encouraged. All proceeds from the event benefitted the Ozark Komen Foundation and the museum's education programs.
The Ozark Affiliate of Susan G. Komen is a non-profit organization that provides breast care services, awareness and education of breast cancer in eight Arkansas counties, including Benton, Boone, Carroll, Crawford, Madison, Newton, Sebastian and Washington Counties, as well as in Stone and Taney counties in Missouri. Up to 75% of funds raised are annually granted back into local communities to provide breast care services in this service area, while remaining contributions support Komen National for research to help find the cures to end breast cancer.
The Fort Smith Regional Art Museum opened the doors to its new state-of-the art facility in January 2013. The organization houses numerous exhibits throughout the year and hosts receptions, lectures, and artist-led workshops for the community. Its mission is "to foster art appreciation in the community through diverse exhibitions, educational programming, dynamic events, and cultural partnerships."
The Portraits of Hope exhibit will remain on display through Nov. 17.