It’s not often that one sees a comical imitation of a Thomas Hart Benton painting, a depiction of rough sorts gigging fish at night. For that painting alone, if not the portrait of Judge Isaac Parker looking out the window at a hanging reflected in a window pane, or of Maya Angelou with birds tied to her wrists, or of Eldridge Cleaver rendered with playing cards, make a late March trip to Siloam Springs worthwhile.

Works, all two-dimensional, by 65 Arkansas artists were selected for the “Arkansas Territory Collection,” an exhibition commemorating the bicentennial of the incorporation of the Arkansas Territory in 1819 with paintings and mixed-media about the people and places of Arkansas and Oklahoma. The exhibition, assembled by the Heart of America Artists’ Association, a nonprofit established last year by John P. Lasater IV and Todd Williams, both of Siloam Springs, runs March 28-May 2 at John Brown University’s Windgate Gallery.


Central Arkansas artists represented in the show include Susan Baker Chambers, Cary Smith, Lynda Deer (all of Little Rock), Rashawn Penister (Pine Bluff) and Neilann Brown (Sherwood). Altogether, there are 78 works in the show, by artists from nine states.

Donations are being sought for the publication of a catalog for the exhibition. 


The show is slated to travel to the Cane Hill Museum in May, the Historic Arkansas Museum in July and the South Arkansas Arts Center in May 2020, along with sites in Oklahoma, which was part of the Arkansas Territory.