The Unexpected

Each year the Unexpected, a public art festival in Fort Smith slowly expands to reach new audiences. The murals- vibrant, graphic, comedic and arresting- creep from one building to the next along Garrison Avenue downtown.

After four years of international artists descending on this, as some say, 'sleepy' town the art is starting to have a lasting impact not only on the face of the city, but in the daily lives of its residents. 

Courtesy The Unexpected

More than a century ago visual art and symphonic music collided when Modest Mussorgsky wrote "Pictures at an Exhibition," in tribute to pictures created by artist Vicktor Hartmann.

Z. Sitek / KUAF

Several artists have spent most of the past week creating original, public murals in Fort Smith as part of this year's edition of The Unexpected. We speak with several of those artists to learn more about the projects they've worked on for the past few days, and we get some insight into their working processes.

Courtesy / The Unexpected Project

The fourth edition of The Unexpected is next week in Fort Smith. Following this year's event, there will be more than 30 murals created throughout the city since the project started in 2015, but this year's event features more than just world-renowned artists creating one-of-a-kind works in public spaces. We speak with two organizers of The Unexpected to get a preview of this year's event.

A. Grajeda / KUAF

Larger-than-life portraits are a signature part of Guido van Helten's murals. The artist creates images that represent the people and history of the place where he is creating his art.The Australian native is one of the international muralists painting in Fort Smith this week as part of The Unexpected.