101 Town Center, P.O. Box 5655, Bella Vista, AR 72714 (479)876-1255

Bella Vista Arts Council recognizes area artists

The Bella Vista Arts Council is pleased to honor its first artist group, The Van Go-Go Girls, as the September 2022 featured artist.

The group will be honored at a public reception from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15 in the community room at Bella Vista Public Library, 11 Dickens Place.

The Van Go-Go Girls is an art quilt group that started sometime before 2010 as a small group associated with the Calico Cut-Ups Quilt Guild of Bella Vista. The group started from a need to make art in quilt form — three layers: the top, batting and backing with stitching through all three layers. Art quilts are non-traditional quilts and are made to be displayed on the wall as opposed to the bed.

The group has had many members and currently includes Irene Foss, Laura Linn Gant, Sharon Holladay, Karen Kielmeyer, Candy Prudhomme, Georgia Sadler, Anne-Marie Steeneck and Sandy Wilson.

In addition to personal projects, the group often participates in national challenges through organizations such as the American Quilter’s Society and the National Quilt Museum, both headquartered in Paducah, Ken. Their featured quilt, “Spocking the Imagination,” was in answer to a challenge from the National Quilt Museum to portray a traditional block, Wheel of Fortune, in a modern setting. They started envisioning stars and planets, flying geese, a black hole (inspired by real events), and other inhabitants of the night sky, finally adding the silhouette of a person stargazing with a telescope.

That quilt is the third group quilt, which won fourth place in the National Quilter’s Museum New Quilts from an Old Favorite 2020 and toured in the American Quilter’s Society shows nationwide until last spring.

The group’s first quilt, which was based on a watercolor of the Bentonville Square, resides in the Bentonville Chamber of Commerce office on the upper floor landing. It won Best of Show locally and second place at American Quilter’s Society show. The second quilt, “Medeira Fantasy,” is based on Portuguese tiles and resides at the Arkansas Children’s Northwest Hospital in Springdale. It includes a rainbow of floral delights.

The group’s current challenge is based on a photograph by member Karen Kielmeyer of a zinnia. The photograph has been enlarged and cut into seven sections, each to be rendered by individual members before stitching together as a whole. Instead of entering future contests, the group has decided to collaborate on smaller projects to be owned by individual members.

 The Bella Vista Arts Council, an advisory board to the City Council, was created by the City Council in February 2016 to help promote the arts in Bella Vista. Board members are Demara Titzer (president) and J.B. Portillo, with one board vacancy. The board established an Artist of the Month program, in which selected artists and their work will be showcased and recognized for their achievements.

A committee will choose each month from qualified artists, who must be residents of Bella Vista. Events will be held in a location around the city. Submit nominations via email to artscouncil@bellavistaar.gov.