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.
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.”
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.
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.
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
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
ONGOING FREE PROGRAMS:
RAM Homeschool Art Classes
The ARTS with Grace
Visual Thinking Strategy Tours
Drop in and Draw
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: https://www.americanartawards.com/2019-best-american-galleries-and-museums/
www.AmericanArtAwards.com annually awards 25 museums and galleries in Spring, and with their critique in Autumn, awards 300 artists (painters, photographers, sculptors and digital artists).
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: AAA
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