ArtUp in Mulberry ready to open with Trail of Tears exhibit

Ty Thompson
Press Argus-Courier
ArtUp in Mulberry will be opening after a two-year hiatus. Their first exhibit will focus on the history of the Trail of Tears in Mulberry.

After a two-year hiatus, ArtUp in Mulberry is set to finally open their art centers gallery and studio space at 318 N. Main St.

After the 2019 flood and the COVID-19 pandemic, ArtUp was having trouble getting its art center ready for the community. When the center first started in May of 2019, the were donated three buildings, and through the renovation process, a flood hindered their work. 

Fundraisers were held to get the center back on its feet, but due to the pandemic, their work was halted once again. 

Now, ArtUp has finished their renovations on the gallery and studio space and they are ready to present their first exhibition focusing on the Trail of Tears. ArtUp is an art and education center as well as a history museum.

According to a press release, Event Chair Board member Brent Gunnell said he is thrilled to finally schedule the first of many exhibits for the center. For months, connecting the Trail of Tears to the town of Mulberry has been on the minds of Museum Curator & Board Member Jerry McKinney along with local history buff Larry Hart. The Trail of Tears exhibit captures the history and the tragedy of the many tribes who traveled through the town of Mulberry.

The exhibit will cover several tribe's journeys and the many lives lost. One focus is the boards that were purchased and used for coffins, the cost of the boards, and how the tribes were cheated out of food and supplies. 

There will be approximately 14 easel displays as well as a PowerPoint presentation on the journey that tells of camp locations with modern photos of where these camps were.

"We want to focus on reaching out to the rural communities," Cathy Mason with ArtUp said. "Those kids cant all get to the Center for Art and Education in Van Buren or the Regional Art Museum in Fort Smith."

The opening will be Sunday May 2 from 1-4 p.m. Group visits by appointment will be made available. Everyone is invited to attend for free and meet the artist. Those who would like to make a group appointment to see the exhibit can email artupmulberry@gmail.com.

The National Park Service hosts an interactive website on the Trail of Tears at nps.gov. ArtUp in Mulberry will hold an event centered around the Trail of Tears 1-4 p.m. Sunday May 2 at 318 N. Main St. in Mulberry.