“Neighbors” art show features live and local artists

Fifty-five local artists and their art were celebrated during the third “Neighbors: an Art Show” at the Brick Room in Downtown Conway that was part of the Conway Alliance for the Art’s (CAFTA’s) Artfest: Light Up the Night celebration on Oct. 6.

“Neighbors” showcased the diverse talents that exists in the Conway art scene. Various pieces  from painting to sculpture were shown, and focused on a wide variety of subjects from the natural to the abstract.

Event organizer Nicole Rigby said that this years “Neighbors” art show had the most artists entering their work and was the best received show so far.

“This year included the widest variety of types of art we were able to showcase. This shows the talent represented by local artists, and the vast number of local artists,” Rigby said. “Everyone has a unique voice, and more and more people are reaching out, wanting to tell their story to the world, which is a beautiful piece of art in itself.”

The show included two contests: one judged by UCA Baum Gallery Director Brian Young and Art Professor Peter Bella; the other voted on by those who attended. Attendees voted through social media by liking and following the Engage Property Management page, taking a selfie with the piece they wanted to vote for and tagging the property company in the post. Artist Melissa Rae won the judges panel for her piece “Green Like Moss,” and event organizers are still tallying attendee’s votes.

UCA alumnus Erin Turner said a piece by Nathan Terry titled “Colors of New York” stood out to her. The piece is a wall mounted sculpture of the Manhattan skyline in glass relief. She also said events like this bring the community together and let people define for themselves what they consider art.

“You don’t have to be defined by what somebody else says is art,” Turner said.

UCA junior Monika Cunningham had four pieces at the exhibit, including three portraits titled “Worry Not,” “Just Tired,” and “Prayer Changes Things.” Her art mixes traditional portraits with vibrant backgrounds and also employs poetic sentiments around her subjects.

More than 400 people attended the Light Up the Night celebration, many of whom participated in the “Neighbors” show as well as an adjacent art exhibit across the street. Other entertainment included a tent where art could be made from scrap materials, local bubble performer Big Poppa Bubble and a concert featuring Brother Bera and Dawson Hollow at Kings Live Music.

“Neighbors” also featured artist Jessica Jones painting live during the show. The artist said she is usually known for her murals, but that she was more than happy to show her painting during the event.

Light Up the Night was the conclusion to a day full of community engagement. Earlier in the day, the annual Eco+Arts Festival at Laurel park attracted more than 2300 participants. This event included multiple musical acts, art exhibits (including a sculpture pouring by UCA sculpture students), and information on ecological and conservational concerns by numerous activist organizations.  

Photo by Taylor Sone

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