Mountain View is one of the state's cultural epicenters with a celebrated crafting society and highly-skilled community of musicians. It's a great place to relax and take in the music, art and mountain life.By Dwain Hebda
ARKANSAS CRAFT SCHOOL
110 E. Main St.
Founded in 2009, the Arkansas Craft School (ACS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation, appreciation and instruction of art forms and craft indigenous to the Arkansas Ozarks. In cooperation with Ozarka College’s Mountain View campus and Pulaski Technical College in North Little Rock, ACS inspires support of the arts through affordable classes, each of which qualifies as continuing education credits.
ACS classes, which are kept intentionally small and mainly held on weekends, are taught by master craftspeople, some internationally known, who instruct in glass bead making, wood turning, blacksmithing, pottery and paper making as well as new endeavors such as found-object art, working with reclaimed materials and photography.
The group hosts an annual gala each fall. In the spring, ACS hosts Sustainability Weekend, teaching the finer points of soap making, beekeeping and sourdough bread making.
OZARK FOLK CENTER
1032 Park Ave.
As the only center devoted full time to preserving the Ozark heritage and arts, Ozark Folk Center State Park provides visitors a front-row view of the crafts, music and herblore of the famous region. Blacksmithing, pottery making and 18 other skills and crafts are on display, with a raft of classes to match. Adults have their choice of classes from a preset schedule or may design their own class with one of the park’s resident artisans.
Music is a crucial element of OFC programming and includes a live performance schedule and numerous classes and special events. Ozark Highlands Radio, a weekly radio program, features live music and interviews recorded at the park’s 1,000-seat auditorium.
The Ozark Folk Center State Park caters to all ages, and is particularly effective in introducing children and young people to the life and times of their grandparents and great-grandparents. Several of the center’s programs are tailored specifically for young people. Classroom teachers can also work with park staff to develop a field trip that dovetails specifically to that class.
MOUNTAIN VIEW BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL features concerts by well-known bluegrass acts in the fall and spring. Produced by Mountain View Bluegrass Association, Inc., proceeds benefit the local Music Roots Program at the Ozark Folk Center. Mark your calendar for Nov. 10-12. mountainview-bluegrass.com.
ART TO BUY
1104 Sylamore Ave.
Preserving the Ozark musical tradition has been the goal of McSpadden Dulcimers since 1962. The company, featuring five full-time craftsmen, produces traditional musical instruments played in competitions and on recordings by champion folk artists throughout the world.
Handmade one at a time, Lewis Lloyd produces knives that are meant to be used. The craftman’s touch is apparent start to finish, from the exotic wood handles to hand-sanding the blades to achieve a soft low-luster finish.
GET YOUR FOLK ON!
ARKANSAS FOLK FESTIVAL
Immerse yourself in Ozark folk music at the oldest Mountain View music festival. Each third weekend in April, just as the dogwood trees begin to bloom, the town explodes in a celebration with live musicians, a morning parade, children’s games, arts and crafts and delicious food all around the Courthouse Square. The 2017 event will be held April 14-15. yourplaceinthemountains.com.
MIKEY’S SMOKED MEATS & DELI
20899 Highway 5
Locals rave about the hand-trimmed, slow-cooked meats that are smoked over a real pit of select Ozark hardwoods. Mikey’s menu includes something to please any taste, whether you eat in for great from-scratch barbecue, sandwiches and homemade desserts, or take home smoked meats and cheeses for a crowd. Don’t miss the cherry wood-smoked beef brisket, baby back ribs or smoked chicken. Available for shipping, too.
Meet the Artists
Mountain View’s reigning pottery royalty, Dave and Becki Dahlstedt, didn’t start out too far from one another (he was raised in Arkansas, she in southern Missouri) but their paths to each other followed widely disparate arcs.
David studied at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia while Becki studied at Berkeley Potters’ Guild in California. Converging at the Ozark Folk Center in 1984, they spent 12 years there before setting up their own studio in downtown Mountain View, thanks to an individual arts fellowship awarded by the Arkansas Arts Council.
Since 1996, the couple has been producing and selling their Mountain View pottery. The collection is anchored by David’s functional and decorative pots, all of which are formed by hand on the potters’ wheel, then added and altered to form the final vessel. The couple mixes their own glazes, which are applied in multiple layers to achieve their signature blended earth-tone look, a process Becki specializes in. The final firing is done at 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit in a specially designed kiln David built.
The Dahlstedts’ reach extends far beyond their home studio and retail outlets in Mountain View. David is the potter-in-residence at the Arkansas Crafts School and has taught workshops at the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock. Among his numerous awards is inclusion in the permanent collection of the Decorative Arts Museum in Little Rock.
You can also find their pottery at the Butler Center Gallery in Little Rock and the store at the renowned Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville. They also produce the Clinton Presidential Logo mugs, sold exclusively at the Clinton Museum Store in Little Rock.
David and Becki Dahlstedt
511 Jackson St.