New Museum of Eureka Springs Art to host soft opening in December
The new Museum of Eureka Springs Art is hosting a soft opening for donors on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 10. The museum is located on the campus of the Eureka Springs Community Center at the intersection of Highway 62 and Kingshighway. The 3,500 square-foot museum is filled with historic and contemporary artworks created by more than 150 Eureka Springs artists spanning 130 years. Steve Beacham, who operates Spring Street Pottery in downtown Eureka, chairs the eight-member museum board.
“We currently have paintings from 1890 all the way up to the present day," he said. "And we also hope to promote artists that live here in town currently, by hosting gallery shows of their work for sale, which will benefit both the museum and promote local artists who don't have access to exhibition space in town."
The museum contains dozens of movable hand-fabricated birch walls that can be reconfigured for rotating exhibits of donated and gifted paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture, weaving and jewelry. Items not on display, Beacham said, are kept in a climate-controlled facility offsite. Showcards, as well as QR codes, will provide rich digital details about each art or craft work.
Museum board member and noted woodworker Doug Stowe has donated a piece titled Reliquary of Wood for display. He said Eureka Springs has attracted resident artists for well over a century.
“And you know that's one of the reasons why Eureka Springs has been selected for a whole number of years as one of the top 25 small arts destinations in the country," Stowe said. "Ranked number one for many of those years, and so you see the importance of the arts specifically to Eureka Springs. There's also a larger story here to tell that I think has national and regional significance, and that's how the arts build community and how artists sustain and nourish each other.”
Local retailer and visual artist Jim Nelson said the museum is the result of an enduring vision to permanently preserve a wealth of local art and craftwork.
“The museum concept has been talked about in our community for years and years," Nelson said. "So we are all very excited. It's going to be a great treasure house -- from now on.”
The museum contains a valuable trove of works, including 19th-century Victorian paintings and tryptic Eureka landscape postcards,1930s Depression-era portraiture, 1980s counter-cultural prints and paintings, and 21st-century artworks. The soft opening on Dec. 10 will acknowledge existing donors and also encourage new donors to attend. A grand opening for the public is planned for early spring.