As one of the fastest growing communities in Arkansas and a short hour's drive to Memphis, Jonesboro has enjoyed growth and with it, new opportunities for the arts.By Dwain Hebda
SEE & DO
The presence of Arkansas State University brings a lot of opportunities for art and art appreciation throughout the community, starting with the University Museum (2713 Pawnee St.). This teaching museum provides quality programming that broadens the perceptions of people in Northeast Arkansas and the Mississippi River Delta region. Multiple levels of programming allow for creative expression at every age.
Also not to be missed is the Bradbury Art Museum inside the Fowler Center at ASU (201 Olympic Drive). In addition to exhibits by regional, national and international artists, BAM is also the site of the Delta National Small Prints Exhibition, a nationally recognized juried print show of work by artists from the U.S. and abroad.
Be sure to check out the Foundation of Arts (315 E. Monroe) for community theatre and a range of classes.
While in the area, don’t miss the opportunity to experience a truly special Arkansas artistic landmark: Dyess Colony, Arkansas. This New Deal-era experiment, about an hour west of Jonesboro, sought to give destitute farmers a helping hand during the Great Depression. Among the families that settled here in a tidy white farmhouse was the Johnny Cash family.
Sara Howell Studio & Gallery
405 S. Main St.
1409 E. Nettleton
2808 E. Matthews Ave.
MEET THE MAKER
Sean Shrum doesn’t miss many opportunities to help out or promote his professed hometown of Jonesboro. Not only does his art expose the world to the scenes and artistic talent that resides in the state’s northeast corner, but he’s also heavily involved with causes he feels passionately about in the community.
Shrum was born in Poplar Bluff, Mo., and moved to Jonesboro at an early age. A lifelong hunter, he grew up on a horse farm, giving him an appreciation for wildlife and his natural surroundings—and that is evident in his art.
“I enjoy being out in nature,” said Shrum. “With hunting being a favorite pastime of many people in this area, it is continually a very important part of my work.”
He describes his style as expressionistic and his use of bold colors and brush strokes has earned him a loyal following of fans and
collectors. Community involvement is also important to Shrum, he frequently donates pieces for auctions at charitable events, and he also occasionally does live paintings for events. He had the honor of painting former President Bill Clinton and former first lady Hillary Clinton at the annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner fundraiser.
“The Clinton painting went over really well and created a bidding war, which produced a shocking $26,000 winning bid. It was such an amazing milestone in my career as an artist. I feel fortunate to be able to donate my talent and make a difference in others’ lives.”
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Jonesboro hosts several major community events including October’sDowntown Jonesboro BBQ & Music Fest featuring music, food and vendorsselling hand-crafted items. Jingle and Mingle provides a festive atmospherefor shopping local for the holidays and Midnight on Main is the annual NewYear’s Eve celebration.