The Fort Smith Art Center was located four blocks north of Garrison Avenue on 6th Street in the Vaughn-Schaap house. You can find main entrance and parking in the rear of the Art Center. The street address was 423 N. 6th Street Fort Smith, AR. 72901. The Center opened Tuesday through Saturday at 9:30am – 4:30pm and closed Sunday and Monday. It changed to Fort Smith Regional Art Museum in 2009 and moved to a new place. You can get more information at http://www.fsram.org/.
Center Gift Shop Gallery featured unique original works by area artists and craftspeople. The center specialized in one-of-a-kind art. Your purchase from the Gift Shop Gallery helped support the center exhibits and community outreach programs. The Center also sponsored artists’ exhibits at different outside venues throughout the year.
The history of the Annual Art Compeition is closely tied to the Fort Smith Art Center. The Associated Artists, later incorportated as the Fort Smith Art Center, began the competition in 1950, and the artwork was displayed in various civic buildings for many years.
In 1960, the Associated Artists purchased the Vaughn-Schapp Home, a Victorian, Second-Empire brick house in the Belle Grove Historic District. They improved the property and began utilizing the building for exhibits and classes. Their 11th Annual Art Competition was held at the Art Center in 1961. The competition was held at the Art Center each spring, and received entries from across the country. It provided the public with an opportunity to see, discuss, and compare works of art that might not otherwise be exhibited together.
There were many exhibitions and programs offered by the Fort Smith Art Center. Exhibits changed monthly and feature local, regional, and nationally recognized artists working in a variety of media and styles. Downtown Fort Smith offers many fine restaurants where you can dine before or after visiting the galleries. Throw in some live music at one of Garrison Avenue’s hot spots afterwards, and you’ve got a real evening!