UCA is honoring former art professor and well-known local Conway artist Gene Hatfield with an art exhibit displayed at UCA Downtown through the month of August.
The exhibit, titled “ Gene Hatfield: A Lifetime of Distinction, Achievement and Emeritus,” was organized by Outreach and Community Engagement Marketing Coordinator Kristen Spickard alongside Hatfield’s three children, Mathilda Hatfield, Marc Hatfield and Hadrian Hatfield.
Spickard said the chosen pieces for the exhibit were meant to give an overall view of Hatfield’s style and methods throughout his career with pieces ranging from 1946 to the 2000s.
Hatfield’s daughter and Assistant Director for Assessment Initiatives at UCA Mathilda Hatfield said the exhibit also features paintings of buildings that were once apart of Conway but have been torn down — such as the Conway Depot and the building that was once Papa John’s, but is now Donaghey Hall.
Spickard said the exhibit has been getting positive feedback so far with many visitors coming in solely for the exhibit and to see Hatfield’s work, as it was well supported in the community.
Mathilda Hatfield said when news spread about the exhibit through social media it prompted responses from across the U.S. and even some responses from people in France.
“I’ve gotten stories about how much they appreciated both my mother and my father and how much they appreciated my dad’s art and wished that they could come see it,” Mathilda Hatfield said. “Some have already shared with me stories of my dad’s art that they have in their home and how much they like that.”
Mathilda Hatfield also spoke about the exhibit and what it meant to her.
“It makes my heart overflow with honor,” Hatfield said. “I am thrilled that other people can see some of the art that I got to grow up knowing so well.”
She said she and her brothers were together over Easter weekend and decided which pieces would be exhibited while taking inventory of all of the possibilities.
“We knew, generally, that we wanted to show paintings from different decades and different styles, using different media,” Mathilda Hatfield said.