Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers and Bentonville have each grown so much theyve all but BECOME one connected city overflowing with music, arts and crafts destinations.
See art openings, catch live music and enjoy nosh from food trucks at First Thursday in downtown Fayetteville. It usually runs from 5-8:30 p.m. May to October. While you’re downtown, check out the student-run sUgAR Gallery (1 E. Center St.), the Walton Arts Center’s Joy Pratt Markham Gallery (495 W. Dickson St.), or Art Ventures (101 W. Mountain St., previously known as Fayetteville Underground), which showcases regional art and hosts a variety of community events. Fenix Fayetteville (16 W. Center St.), an artists collective, hosts both visual and performing arts events. Like Fort Smith, Fayetteville has joined the mural movement, with the Green Candy public art project. Check out “Owl” on the east side of the former Mountain Inn building: It’s a three-story work by Puerto Rican artist Alexis Diaz. There’s an eclipse mural by Argentinian street artist Marina Zumi on the west side of Hog Haus Brewing Co., and Fayetteville artist Jason Jones is the creator of the gas-masked rabbit at 545 W. Center St.
Step onto the University of Arkansas campus to tour The Fine Arts Center Gallery (340 N. Garland), which was designed by famed architect Edward Durell Stone in the 1950s and is part of a massive renovation project funded by a $120 million grant from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation to establish the UA School of Art.
Looking for an outdoor experience? Visit the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks (4703 N. Crossover Road) in Fayetteville. There’s a $7 ticket, but you’ll see 12 themed gardens and a butterfly house, and learn about bats or succulents or tea — whatever is being offered in the garden’s educational program.
TheatreSquared (505 W. Spring St.) in Fayetteville is recognized by the American Theatre Wing as one of the nation’s 10 most promising emerging theaters. It’ll get a big boost when it relocates sometime in 2019 from the Walton Art Center’s Nadine Baum Studio to a new, 50,000-square-foot building across the street, at the corner of Spring Street and West Avenue. The new facility will have two state-of-the-art theaters, eight guest apartments and a cafe and bar open daily.
Downtown Bentonville hosts block parties year-round, including culture- and shopping-themed First Friday events April through November. Bentonville galleries Meteor Guitar Gallery (128 W. Central Ave.), Two25Gallery & Wine Bar (225 S. Main St.) and others welcome local and regional work. 21c Museum Hotel (200 NE A St.) is both the place to stay and a fantastic place to view art, with 12,000 square feet of exhibition space featuring permanent works and rotating exhibitions integrated into the hotel.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (600 Museum Way) is the prime arts destination in Arkansas, with a collection of work by the country’s top artists that spans the 1600s to the present day on a 100-acre campus. A sister institution, the Momentary (507 S.E. E St.), is scheduled to open in 2020. The experimental visual and performing arts space will include galleries, studio space, a black box theater, an amphitheater, a studio kitchen, cafe, bar and indoor and outdoor public spaces.
Fayetteville’s Walton Arts Center (495 W. Dickson St.) brings in Broadway shows, concerts from national acts and more.
The Walton Arts Center also promotes the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion (5079 W. Northgate Road), known as The AMP, in Rogers. This outdoor music venue accommodates 9,500 people with 3,200 covered seats on a sloped lawn. Catch well known national acts in all genres of music.
Pink House Alchemy (1010 S.W. A St.) in Bentonville offers small batch artisan syrups, bitters and shrubs to make your cocktails or coffee second to none.
Bentonville’s Markham and Fitz (801 S.E. Eighth St.) is a bean-to-bar chocolatier in the new, happening 8th Street Market, which also hosts a regular Bentonville Wednesday Farmers Market during the growing season.
Northwest Arkansas has a strong craft brewery scene with Apple Blossom Brewing Co. (1550 E. Zion Road, Fayetteville), Bentonville Brewing Co. (1700 S. First St., Rogers, until a new space opens in Bentonville) Bike Rack Brewing Co. (801 S.E. Eighth St., 410 S.W. A St., Bentonville), Black Apple Crossing Cidery (321 E. Emma Ave., Springdale), Columbus House Brewery (701 W. North St., Fayetteville), Core Brewing & Distilling Co. (many locations throughout the region; coreofarkansas.com for addresses), Crisis Brewing Co. (210 S. Archibald Yell Blvd., Fayetteville), Fossil Cove Brewing (1946 N. Birch Ave., Fayetteville), Hawk Moth Brewery (710 N. Second St., Rogers), Ivory Bill Brewing (516 E. Main St., Siloam Springs), JJ’s Beer Garden & Brewing (3615 Steele Blvd., Fayetteville), New Province Brewing (1310 W. Hudson Road), Ozark Beer Co. (109 N. Arkansas St., Rogers), Saddlebock Brewery (18244 Haberton Road, Springdale) and West Mountain Brewing (21 W. Mountain St., Fayetteville).
Terra Studios (12103 Hazel Valley) in Fayetteville is home of the Bluebird of Happiness and Pink Bird of Hope and showcases the work of more than 100 artists and crafters. Explore the sculpture garden and art gallery, see live demonstrations or participate in an art class. On the Fayetteville Square (15 S. Block Ave.), stop into The Mustache Goods & Wears for unique gifts and locally made goods. City Supply (15 S. Block Ave.) in Fayetteville offers a great selection of home goods, many of which are made locally. The Handmade Market (1504 N. College Ave.) is the place to find handmade jewelry, gourmet foods, bath products and more.
Handworks NWA (106 S.E. A St.) in Bentonville offers handcrafted artisan gifts, bath and body products, candles, jewelry and pottery.
Stop into the Crystal Bridges Museum Store (600 Museum Way) after you view the latest exhibit to grab a souvenir and shop the locally made art and crafts.
Shindig Paperie (100 W. Center St.) in Fayetteville is a go-to for outfitting your office with designer pens, organizers and locally made stationery.
Learn how to cook, bake or mix drinks when you sign up for a culinary class at Honeycomb Kitchen Shop (213 W. Walnut St.) in Rogers, or just browse the shelves for kitchen gear and locally made jams, jellies, spices, cutting boards and more.
On close inspection of Fayetteville artist Sharon Killian’s paintings, the individual brush strokes of color become shapes that are individually defined — as tiny ovals or miniscule squares — yet still part of a whole. That whole, Killian says, is an exploration of the parameters of her own vision and perception. She sometimes refers to her paintings as “masks” because of how the various textures, lines and movement within them work together on a flat surface to create an illusion of the original sunset, landscape or image that inspired her. “All these elements are at once a discussion, for me, with the viewer, that everything is a piece of something, it’s an abstraction,” she says.
Killian emigrated as a child from Jamaica to Harlem, where she gained an appreciation for and comfort with museums and galleries. She and her husband moved to Fayetteville from Washington, D.C., in 2005 to care for his aging parents, and they now live on a hill overlooking the White River, where Killian is able to study landscapes and skyscapes from the comfort of her home studio.
Killian taught an art education course at the University of Arkansas for three years, and now focuses her efforts on her own work as well as her responsibilities as board president of the Fayetteville Art Alliance, a nonprofit arts institution that oversees the Art Ventures Gallery at 101 W. Mountain St., on the southwest corner of Fayetteville’s downtown square. The gallery’s mission is one of radical inclusivity and representation, according to Killian. “At the very heart of it all for us is diversity,” Killian said. “This is in a real way, not a contrived, not secondary, not after the fact [way]. … Excellence is a capstone always, but diversity of cultures and people and ways of seeing are respected and presented so that all sorts of people can see themselves.” — Rebekah Hall