Fayetteville, a city in North-Western Arkansas, USA, seat of the University of Arkansas since its establishment (i.e. in the second half of the nineteenth century), is a small town abounding in scenic landscapes, given the vicinity with the Boston Mountains. In Fayetteville, people of free spirit get together making a community where living and art for the sake of art, but also art with a civic tint, blend in a nice whole. To be true, Fayetteville has background in this, as the designer and architect E. Fay Jones (1921-2004), a student of the renown modernist architect Frank Lloyd Wright, was a native of Arkansas. E. Fay Jones` multitude of private houses and public buildings projects, inspired from the beauty and simplicity of rural Arkansas, brought him fame on both local and national level, and, as expression of this, the School of Design of Arkansas University bears his name (e.g. Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design). In addition to these, it should not be overlooked that this part of Arkansas is related to the wonderful center of arts called Terra Studios, a family owned studio of glass and pottery established in the mid 1970s, which became famous in the entire world for a decoration piece entitled `Bluebird of Happiness`, a symbolical bird in the folklore of North-American populations.
Many of Fayetteville`s artistic initiatives like galleries, exhibitions, programmes of artists in residence, or, simply, artists` collectives can be labeled as art as living space. They are places where artists live, communicate with each other, in short, they are hubs of creativity and debate.
The first of the three that we are going to mention in this article is the project called Green Candy Art Action, an artists in residence programme that took place for the first time from 21st to 27th August 2017 from the initiative of the Experience Fayetteville Office, under the aegis of the global creative house Justkids, an enterprise that promotes artistic events on an international scale. The main theme of the programme was related to the relation existing between the artist and our changing environment, with a focus on concepts such as waste and sustainability. The one week programme featured both local and international artists like Bordalo II from Portugal whose creations emphasize the neglected power of waste in our busy and cluttered contemporary societies; Bicicleta Sem Freio from Brazil whose colorful and exotic murals give a lively outlook to the urban environment; the local artists Jason Jones whose murals and hand painting are meant to highlight and put back into circulation discarded (art) objects. Together with these, other artists like Marina Zumi of Argentina, the Lithuanian Ernest Zacharevic, and the local crochete art designer Gina Gallina made murals or art installations that decorated the Walker- Stone House (1), which was the nucleus of the artists` residence, but also other walls of houses in downtown Fayetteville. The resulting exhibition and art space can now be visited for free.
The second place is called Out of Hand, Artists collective and it represents the perfect embodiment of the same principle, namely the impossibility of separating the artist`s creation of his/her daily life. Located on W. Center Street at no. 546 in Unit G, Out of Hand, Artists collective is an art gallery, which is also a residential place, and where visitors can buy handicraft objects, from jewellery to clothing. Its logo, `celebrating chaos` is suitably illustrated by the striking mix of objects that populate the main entrance to the gallery. Feathers, discarded home appliances, murals alluding to religious symbols compete in making this a place where creative spirit meets the spiritual one.
Talking about spiritual matters, the last, but definitely not the least of the places presented here is The Mystic Melon, an art gallery and exhibition that is also the home of Sat Pictor, a native of Maryland who came to Fayetteville in the years 2000. The name of the house, which is located on the corner of West and Mountain Street, next to the city`s public library, is easy to guess just judging from the facade that is painted in the watermelon`s typical colors, and it has drawings that remind of watermelon slices. The Mystic Melon is an art gallery, jewellery, and antique store alike. It also specializes in delivering educational/musical programmes oriented to children. The interior rivals with the exterior, being as colorful and unexpected. Here, the owner, a spiritual man initiated in Kundalini Yoga, and his wife, Teresa Pictor, are reigning over a kingdom of gems and objects brought from far-away.
Walker-Stone red brick house is an old building in the historical district of Fayetteville that, uncommon to the other houses in the area, survived the Civil War. It was built in 1847 by a lawyer who was a native of Kentucky, and afterwards sold to an important merchant named Stephen K. Stone. Currently, the house hosts art exhibitions like the one of the Green Candy Art Action project.
Raluca Goleșteanu (text) & Rod Jacobs (photos)
Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, webpage: https://fayjones.uark.edu
(accessed, 9th April 2018)
Justkids creative house, webpage: https://www.justkidsofficial.com
Details about Green Candy Art Action: https://www.fayettevilleflyer.com/2017/08/18/green-candy-public-art-works-begin-in-fayetteville/ (accessed 5th April 2018)
Bordalo II: http://www.bordaloii.com/about/ (accessed 9th April 2018)
Bicicleta Sem Freio: http://bicicletasemfreio.com
Jason Jones: http://artistjasonjones.com
Ernest Zacharevic: http://www.ernestzacharevic.com/outdoor
Out of Hand, Artists Collective FB page: https://www.facebook.com/outofhandartistscollective/ (accessed 7th April 2018)