Sun. Sep 27th, 2020

Fort Smith Regional Art Museum Named Best Gallery Or Museum In Arkansas & In American Art Awards’ Top 25

Each year the American Art Awards board selects the 25 Best Galleries and Museums in America, choosing only one art institution per state per year. Decisions are based upon years established, industry reputation, online buzz, location, size, socially relevant exhibits, motivational and educational programs, represented artists as well as artist, client and visitor references.AAA19ARK1A

American Art Awards: “Fort Smith Regional Art Museum is a multi-award-winning art institution that facilitates nationally and internationally recognized traveling exhibitions and rotating exhibits of works by local and regional artists. Stunning exterior and interiors – but RAM excels in many departments besides being a visual glory. Their numerous free, ongoing programs for the youth are a gift to the open mind, and Arkansas as a whole. Well-intentioned socially-conscious programs, knowledgeable staff, prominent artists, halls of masterpieces, great organization and production… meeting the high expectations of visitors. American Art Awards selects Fort Smith Regional Art Museum as the Best Gallery or Museum in Arkansas, 2019, and one of our Top 25, 2019.”AAA19ARK1AAC


RAM originated in 1948 under the Arkansas Association of University Women. In 1951 the Associated Artists of Fort Smith began exhibiting art and holding classes in various locations throughout Fort Smith. In 1960 space for an art center was purchased, and in 1968 the Fort Smith Art Center was incorporated. The small Art Center offered a valuable service for local and regional artists by offering space for its artists for five decades.

The opening of the new museum located at 1601 Rogers Avenue near the heart of Fort Smith marked a major turning point for this organization. Arvest Bank made the expansion possible by donating the 16,000 square-foot building to the Art Center in January of 2009, following a $211 million dollar buyout of Superior Federal Bank in 2003. The Art Center was fully re-branded and opened in January of 2013 as the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum that is fully compliant with the standards of the American Alliance of Museums.AAA19ARK2B

RAM won the prestigious Preservation through Rehabilitation Award from the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas (2013), the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Gulf State Region Merit Award (2014), and the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Gold Award. The nationally recognized architects of the newly renovated museum, Polk, Stanley Wilcox, are known for their work such as the William J. Clinton Presidential Library, Heifer International World Headquarters, and the Arkansas Studies Institute (ASI) of Little Rock. The building that houses RAM, the old Superior Federal Savings and Loan Bank building at 1601 Rogers Avenue, was listed on the Arkansas Register of Historic Places, with local significance, as an example of a Mid-Century Modern design by the Fort Smith architecture firm of Mott, Mobley, Horstman and Staton.

In addition to ongoing exhibitions the museum offers classes for children and adults, lectures, opening receptions, children’s art camps, galas, free Saturday programming, after school programs and artist-led workshops. The museum offers facility rentals and a specialty gift shop featuring one-of-a-kind items created by local and regional artists.

The new state-of-the-art Museum meets national standards and has greatly contributed to cultural growth in the region.AAA19ARK3B


2019 Student Photography Competition / Opening Reception: Thursday, May 2, 2019

Dr. William E. Knight Porcelain Gallery / Grand Opening: Thursday, May 2, 2019

Edward Robison, III: The Nature of Photography from Traditional to Augmented Reality / Opening Reception: Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Nature of Photography – An Artist’s Journey from Traditional to Augmented Reality / Lecture by Edward Robison III / Friday, May 10, 2019, 6-7PMAAA19ARK4B

Flag Books/Multimedia Monoprints Workshop with Jessi Medeiros / Saturday, May 18, 10AM-4PM

Altering Perception: A Lecture on Color Theory – Lecture by Bridget Duncan / Thursday, June 13, 2019, 6-7PM

An Element of Nature – Drawings, Paintings & Beehives / Opening Reception: Thursday, August 1, 2019

An Element of Nature – A Sense of Place – Lecture by David Mudrinich / Friday, August 2, 2019, 6-7PM

Norma Tomboulian: Life into Clay / Opening Reception: Thursday, September 5, 2019

Life into Clay, an Artist’s Journey / Lecture by Norma Tomboulian / September 6, 2019, 6-7PM

We are the Music Makers: Preserving the Soul of America’s Music / Opening Reception:Thursday, November 28, 2019

Highlights from the Permanent Collection / Opening Reception: Thursday, January 9, 2020

A Family Affair: Three Artists, Three Visions, One Family / Opening Reception:Thursday, March 12, 2020

Tim Ernst – Arkansas Beauty / Opening Reception: Thursday, April 23, 2020

Exploring the Big Trail / Opening Reception: Thursday, June 25, 2020AAA19ARK8


Toddler Tuesdays

RAM Homeschool Art Classes

The ARTS with Grace

Visual Thinking Strategy Tours

Drop in and Draw

RAM Saturdays

Fort Smith Regional Art Museum / 1601 Rogers Avenue / Fort Smith, AR 72901

(479) 784–2787 (479) 784–9071

Museum Hours / Tuesday–Saturday 11am-6 pm / Sundays 1–5 pm


See all 25 Best here: annually awards 25 museums and galleries in Spring, and with their critique in Autumn, awards 300 artists (painters, photographers, sculptors and digital artists).


You can follow us on social media at or on Facebook at:, and now on Google+ at:

Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett

Photographs are Courtesy: AAA 

Follow us on Twitter @HighlightHwd or @LightfootinHwd