A Celebration 75 Years in the Making

WORDS and IMAGES courtesy Fort Smith Regional Art Museum

The Fort Smith Regional Art Museum (RAM) is celebrating its seventy-fifth anniversary throughout 2023. Groundbreaking special exhibitions, innovative art classes, a fund-raising gala and a time capsule are all part of this spectacular celebration.

“One important part of our seventy-fifth anniversary is to celebrate what a community project this art museum has been,” says Julie Moncrief, development director. “The dedication of so many people over the decades is why we have this excellent museum that today provides exhibitions and art education at no charge, just as it has from the beginning.”

An important funding source for RAM’s free programs is its membership program. To thank members, donors and business partners, RAM held a special reception in January for members to view its three kickoff exhibitions. The exhibitions opened to the public the following day.

Pablo Picasso: 25 Years of Edition Ceramics from the Rosenbaum Collection is the grand centerpiece of three new exhibitions that opened to the public on January 22. The whimsical ceramics featured in RAM’s main gallery showcase Picasso’s ceramics made when he partnered with George and Suzanne Ramie at their Madoura pottery workshop in Vallauris, France. It also includes original posters from previous exhibitions and photo murals of Picasso at work at Madoura pottery. The exhibition will run until April 23 and is free to the public.

Art Center to Museum: The Last 75 Years exhibition takes visitors on a journey of RAM through a timeline of organizational milestones and a fifteen-foot collage of more than three hundred photos taken of people and events. The exhibition, which tells the story of RAM from art center to museum, runs until April 9.

75 Years: The RAM Permanent Collection will feature art on an array of subject matter and tell the stories of numerous artists whose works have graced RAM’s walls over the years and helped the museum become the cultural treasure it is today. This exhibition will run until April 9.

Art classes in 2023 will also feature innovative ways to include the community. In collaboration with Arts on Main, Plates to Go with Picasso classes are two-hour ceramics workshops under the direction of artist Stephanie Payton. The regular Tuesday night online class, RAM Sketch, will celebrate RAM’s 75th by featuring Pablo Picasso in March. Online attendees will try out Picasso’s various art styles using unconventional materials as well as sketch a still life of his pottery.

The museum will continue its regular art programs, including the monthly Paint ‘N Sip class, Drop-In and Draw live-model sketch class on Thursdays, and the make-and-take art activity RAM Saturdays.

Finally, plan to attend the 75th Anniversary Celebration Gala April 29, celebrating the community effort that has made the art museum alive and dynamic after seventy-five years. “This party will be held at the ACHE Research Institute Health & Wellness Center, and we are transforming the luxurious event room into a Paris café,” Julie says.  Ticket sales are going well and there are still sponsorships available. To learn more, visit fsram.org/gala2023.

Do South Magazine

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