BENTONVILLE, Ark. — OZ Art, in partnership with the Unexpected and global curator firm Justkids, announced the launch of a new initiative to install 12 pieces of public art across Arkansas.
Artists will begin on Oct. 15 in Bentonville and will head to Central Arkansas later in the month.
The initiative is called ARkanvas, a statewide engagement bringing public art by world-renowned artists to Arkansas communities, including Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale, Fort Smith (Chaffee Crossing), Conway, Little Rock, Hot Springs and Pine Bluff.
The theme of the initiative is Unite, a tribute to being united through shared outdoor and art experiences across the Natural State.
A virtual experience will be launched at www.Arkanvas.com and @OZArtNWA on Instagram and will feature videos of the art, artists, and communities.
OZ Art was founded in 2017 by Steuart Walton and Tom and Olivia Walton and invests in bringing art to everyday life in Arkansas.
“We wanted to do something to celebrate the arts, support artists and create some excitement in our communities during this incredibly challenging time,” said Olivia Walton, who is leading the project along with Elizabeth Miller, OZ Art manager. “We love that murals bring art to everyone, and we hope that these projects will inspire, spark conversation and promote civic unity.”
Participating artists include Nina Chanel Abney, Stephen Powers (ESPO), Camille Walala, Robert Montgomery, Youri Cansell (Mantra), Lakwena, Hilda Palafox (Poni) and Alexis Díaz, to name a few.
The French artist who goes by Mantra previously painted a mural in downtown Fort Smith. He will be coming to Little Rock to paint a mural similar to the one in Fort Smith. He says he’s honored that he can share his vision in murals to try and connect people.
“I’m honored that a production I already worked with in terms of Unexpected in Fort Smith and Just Kids, that they keep trusting not just my way of thinking but also working and yeah I’m more than glad that we are going to repeat the experience again,” he said.
From murals to immersive installations, the artists who will be creating site-specific works and the locations where these are popping-up will be announced by OZ Art in the coming days on www.Arkanvas.com.
To curate and produce this initiative, OZ Art appointed Justkids, an award-winning, multi-disciplinary and women-led art platform specialized in public art. They actively collaborate with cities, community organizations, sensible brands and institutional spaces internationally.
“ARkanvas will offer Arkansas residents and visitors a joyous visual escape,” said Charlotte Dutoit, founder of Justkids. “We are thrilled to be collaborating with OZ Art and Unexpected to help communities come together through art and cherish their home region’s natural beauty."
The Unexpected, another partner on the initiative, brings free and accessible art, education and programs to Arkansas and Fort Smith. Produced by the non-profit 64.6 Downtown, they create opportunities for a healthy and sustainable creative economy.