Aj Smith‘s portrait of Dr. Joycelyn Elders is just one of several great works of art you can see now at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center at Ninth and Broadway. The museum uses Natural & Cultural Resources Council grants to build a collection of work by African American artists, most (if not all) of whom have an Arkansas connection. Aj Smith sure does: He’s one of the state’s greatest artists, as is his wife, Marjorie Williams-Smith. This year’s purchases include works by Delita Martin, LaToya Hobbs, Danny Campbell, Scinthya Edwards, Rex Deloney and Barbara Higgins Bond and others in the show, “Treasured Memories: My Life, My Story,” up through December.
About the watercolor portrait above: Smith met with Elders at her home and decided he wanted to paint her as she appears today, not as she did in her younger years as surgeon general under President Clinton. He’s done a second portrait of her for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences that depicts her as she looked in the 1990s.