Explore the Journey at the RAM Annual Invitational: Odyssey
Every year, the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum (RAM) hosts an exhibition that invites artists in all genres to submit work for consideration based on a chosen theme. To celebrate and honor RAM’s 75-year journey from the Arkansas Association of Women to the Fort Smith Art Center and finally to the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum, it seemed only fitting this year’s Invitational should reflect on the idea of journey, with the theme of Odyssey. In honor of RAM’s 75th Anniversary, entry fees were waived, resulting in an incredible exhibition with more entries to share and excite than ever before, featuring 77 amazing artists. We invite the community to view and explore RAM Annual Invitational: Odyssey. The exhibition is currently open and will be on view through July 30, with an opening reception Friday, May 5, 5-7 p.m.
Submissions in this exhibition include photography, stained glass, acrylic, watercolor, oils, woodcut, pastel fiber, rayon, and a new media to RAM this year—chocolate sealed in resin (Think Like a Man by Zuleyma Payan). A large ship constructed of stained glass and tree roots by Cheri Bohn centers the largest section in the gallery and embodies the ship voyages depicted in Homer’s book The Odyssey. A nearby work features the traditional media of acrylic paint on canvas, and captures reflected light on two dogs in a field—Best Day by Suzanne DesMarais. A wearable crochet sculpture by Madison Deen weaves the shapes of fossilized coral, and Evidence (Time/Place): After Cole by James Volkert uses dramatic color and lighting in oil paint to depict a boat journey. There is truly something for everyone in this stunning exhibition.
“I am thrilled to present our newest exhibition, which showcases a diverse and thought-provoking collection of contemporary art. The works on display push the boundaries of artistic expression, inviting our visitors to engage with different perspectives and explore the themes of journey, through life, through circumstances, and through navigation of our world,” says Michael Hall, RAM Executive Director. “We hope that this exhibition will inspire dialogue and encourage visitors to reflect on the power and potential of art to shape our understanding of the world around us.”
This year’s judges, Don Lee, Gallery Director/Art Department Head Emeritus at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith (UAFS); Ernest Cialone, Art Professor at UAFS; and Bethany Springer, Associate Professor of Art at University of Arkansas will be choosing first, second, and third place winners which are announced at the opening reception. A People’s Choice Award will be based on votes by visitors collected throughout the course of the exhibition and will be announced on social media when the exhibition closes, and RAM’s Executive Director and the Permanent Collection Committee will select The Museum Purchase Award. All works are for sale and the proceeds will benefit RAM’s exhibits, educational programing, and the participating artists.
The RAM Annual Invitational is a national competitive exhibition that has been hosted by the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum since its inception in 1948. The purpose of this exhibition is to encourage and recognize professional artists. In addition, this exhibition aligns with the museum’s mission to foster art appreciation in the community. Windgate Foundation, the Udouj family and ArcBest are this year’s sponsors.
Located at 1601 Rogers Avenue in downtown Fort Smith, the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum offers fine art exhibitions from world-class artists, important traveling exhibitions, permanent collection exhibitions, as well as art by emerging artists in its modern, 16,000-square-foot facility. From professional art workshops and juried art contests to online art classes and free Saturday art-making programs, RAM connects with schools, visitors, and community members of all ages and backgrounds to support the cultural needs of the region. The museum’s current hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 to 6, and Sunday, 1 to 5. Visit the website for more information (fsram.org) or call: 479-784-2787.