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 second artist group, married couple Tina Louise and Richard Lorenz, as the October 2022 featured artist.

The couple will be honored at a public reception from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20 in the community room at Bella Vista Public Library, 11 Dickens Place.

They came to Arkansas in 2005 by way of Hurricane Rita after the hurricane destroyed their home and gallery in Southwest Louisiana. They have always wanted to move to Northwest Arkansas since they were in their teens.

“We both came in our youth on family vacations and when we met, we agreed that this area would be the place we wanted to retire. Thanks to the hurricane, we were able to relocate up here and start over ahead of time,” Lorenz said.

Louise is the author of the inspirational children’s book series titled Be the Bird. She creates the stories behind the art of her husband. Currently, she has two books and one coloring book published. Together the couple is currently collaborating on their third book.

Louise intentionally wrote the books with her children and grandchildren in mind.

“For me life is about being authentic and real to embrace not only our individual differences but to be more accepting of each other. Children are like huge sponges,” she said. “They absorb our actions, mannerisms, voices, habits, negativity and positivity.”

Her books encourage children to take the time to use their imagination as often as possible. Written on the pages are quotes about acceptance, human kindness, bravery, challenges and adventures.

Lorenz was born in Germany and raised in Louisiana and is the artist and creator of the popular series of paintings titled also Be the Bird.

Self-taught in a style he calls Whimsical Be-Real-ism, he paints in traditional as well as digital mediums.

“(I paint) in the realm of all things symbolic...birds and feathers have held a certain fascination for me,” he said.

“My earliest drawings as a toddler were of birds and flying. Indeed, I drew every kind of bird imaginable. Working mostly in oils, I consumed the works of Audubon and other notable ornithologists both past and present. (The year) 1998 was memorable with the winning entry in the prestigious Louisiana Duck-Stamp competition,” he said.

“I love watching people in their natural habitat, as if they were birds going about their perceived ‘normal’ existence,” he said. “They are unaware of the inspiration I receive from them on a daily basis. There is always that one bird that stands out from the flock. This bird is not afraid to spread her/his wings. You know the bird, the one with big feathers, lots of color, quirky, messy and maybe a little insecure.”

These are the birds Lorenz paints, the ones that make us believe that no matter what the circumstances or limitations, we all have the potential to fly above the madness and discover the real, authentic bird that lives inside.

The couple has traveled throughout the United States for 22 years exhibiting at fine art shows. Together they have numerous awards from many of the most prestigious art shows in the country. As traveling slows down, the couple looks forward to enjoying more time with their children and grandchildren and enjoying all that Bella Vista has to offer.

It’s such a great place to live and offers an adventure every day of the year, they said.

You can see the couple’s art and books at www.bethebird.com or view their work at the Art on the Square gallery in Bentonville.

Louise and Lorenz are the 40th and 41st artists to be recognized since the Artist of the Month program was launched in May 2018. The Bella Vista Arts Council members have more than 50 artists in their database still to be recognized. They include all types of artists, such as oil and acrylic fine artists, photographers, 3-D, mixed media, wood workers, needle workers, weavers, authors, poets, musicians, and vocalists.

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.