It will take not one but two buildings to house the creativity and excitement of one upcoming art-based fundraiser in downtown Fort Smith.
The fifth annual Art on the Border will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 21 at the Blue Lion at UAFS Downtown, 101 N. Second St., and the Fort Smith Riverfront Pavilion, 100 N. B St., and the artwork that will be admired and sold will cover all bases for art collectors and the casually interested, said Maggie Malloy, marketing chairperson for the event.
“This is a fine art event; we have some great, high-quality art,” she said.
This year’s Art on the Border will showcase the vision and skills of 47 regional artists who specialize in oils, pastels, fiber, airbrush, acrylics, sculpture, hand-blown glass, wood turnings and more, said Malloy, who herself will feature 35 of her artistic creations.
“One artist does beautiful gourds that are enhanced with woven fibers; they’re high-quality gourds,” she said. “We had artists last year who are coming back to do digitally enhanced photographs. People love those.
“And we have wood turnings that are really nice — vases and bowls,” Malloy added. “We also have baskets.”
Each year, Art on the Border raises money for beneficiaries. This year’s recipients will be the Riverview Hope Campus, the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum, the Donald W. Reynolds Cancer Support House and the Van Buren-based Center for Art and Education.
“Last year, we had about 600 people attend, so we are really hoping to hit 1,000 people this year,” Malloy said. “We’ve increased our artists, and we hope to increase the crowd and the amount we raise.
“We hope to raise $25,000 that will be split equally among the four charities,” she added. “Money raised will be from the artwork that is sold, plus, we will have a place for donations. Donations at the door are recommended but not required.”
Joan McCoy, chairperson for the event, said the quality and uniqueness of this year’s artwork will be impressive.
“The growth of Art on the Border is in all areas,” she said. “As we grow, we find and invite artists with different talents, who work with different materials — gourds, glass, jewelry, art made from different fibers in baskets, wall hangings and more. You’ll see unusual art in addition to the creative colors on canvas of every medium.”
Most of the artists will be on hand to discuss their artwork and answer questions, Malloy said.
“Our honorary hosts this year will be Rod and Kathy Coleman, who live in Fort Smith,” she said. “They are incredible, longtime community supporters.”
McCoy said she is proud to be a supporter of this year’s charities.
“Each year, the board looks at our community’s needs and where we can make a difference to help in their operation,” she said. “Fort Smith is pushing us to be an art appreciation region. We chose the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum and the Center for Art and Education as they are centers of learning, teaching and promoting the arts in our communities.”
The other two beneficiaries also are crucial parts of the area, McCoy said.
“Cancer affects so many of us,” she said. “The Donald W. Reynolds Cancer Support House has been a recipient since the Classic Charitable Foundation began in 1995, and the Riverview Hope Campus is a wonderful, community-supported project that addresses the many needs of the homeless under one roof.”
A by-invitation-only preview for sponsors, collectors and others will be held July 20. “New collectors” wishing to receive an invitation to the private event can email ArtOnTheBorder@gmail.com by July 15, Malloy said.
“We have a group of about 50 volunteers who help with Art on the Border, and they really work hard to make sure we have this,” she said. “We can’t use the wall space at either building to hang art, so the volunteers help the artists set up their booths. We have to set up stands, easels and all kinds of equipment to hang art on for Art on the Border, but it’s good.”