Festival celebrates Mena art scene

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Mena will be the scene of a Ouachita Arts Celebration November 4.

“The celebration is a street festival that includes creative activities inside businesses, on stage and in the street all within Mena’s downtown arts district,” said event chairman Rick Chrisman. The festival celebrates the arts and will have local artists and artisans on site demonstrating their craft in categories such as fine arts, performing arts, and culinary arts. A few blocks of Mena Street are also scheduled to be closed to traffic during the event.

According to Chrisman, who owns a local restaurant and gallery in town called American Artisans, highlights of the day include a pre-war (pre 1943) Vintage Car Show, a live mannequin fashion window display, a cupcake demo and decorating contest, a live birds of prey demonstration from Tommy Young of the Arkansas Native Plant and Wildlife Center, a water color painting workshop, and new additions such as entertainment by a local string instrument group.

“In our fourth year we’re glad to have more variety of craft vendors and pottery demonstration,” he said. “We’ve also included more local school choirs, singers and costumed actors from the Ouachita Little Theater roaming through the crowd.”

The Mena Art Gallery at 607 Mena Street will also be open during the event. According to Barbara Tobias, a local artist who is a member of the SouthWest Artists, Inc., a community-based arts organization founded in town in 1945, a Christmas Show and Sale will be on display there and the Fiber Arts Group will be on site spinning yarn, knitting, and doing embroidery.

Downtown Mena lies in an ideal location, situated at the bottom of the famous Talimena Scenic Drive, the winding route that offers picturesque vistas of the surrounding Ouachita mountains. The road leads to Queen Wilhelmina State Park, home to a lodge where one can take in panoramic views from Rich Mountain, Arkansas’s second highest mountain.