Sunday, December 22, 2019

finally it's time?

In the Saturday edition of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, columnist Rex Nelson, in writing about development in Northwest Arkansas, noted the following about my town of Eureka Springs.
"Finally, it's time for those with wealth in Benton and Washington Counties to fully adopt the quirky old Arkansas town of Eureka Springs in nearby Carroll County. That will be a subject of a future column."
The local Eureka Springs City Advertising and Promotion Commission just approved and expenditure of $25,000 to launch a branding development scheme. We'll see where that goes.

Years ago, Eureka Springs Artists Don Kennett and Louis Freund worked very hard to get the local chamber of commerce to understand the importance of the arts. Earlier, Louis had been a staunch protector of our historic architecture. In speaking on behalf of establishing a historic district and the laws governing the protection of historic resources, Louis noted the millions of dollars being poured into the development of Colonial Williamsburg and contrasted that with Eureka Springs. He said that while they were spending millions to rebuild something from scratch, all we had to do was protect what we already have.

The same can be said of the arts. While Benton and Washington Counties are spending many millions to develop an arts community, all we really need to do is recognize who we are and what we have and protect it. A bit of recognition from those who have the big bucks would go a long way in helping Eureka Springs remain a pinnacle of the arts. The first step could be to get the local chamber of commerce and the City Advertising and Promotion Commission (CAPC) to recognize what should be as clear as the nose on our face.

As a younger man, I would travel around the country to sell my work and wherever I'd go, the reputation of Eureka Springs as an arts community preceded me. My customers had met others from this small town, artists and craftspeople who had established their own credentials as artists and the identity of Eureka Springs as a home for the arts.

I hope to have a brief conversation with Rex Nelson. When Arkansas poet John Gould Fletcher wrote to Louis and Elsie Freund back in the forties, he said, "not much happening in Eureka, but it sure is laid out pretty." That remains true to this day. That beauty brings to our town those who are particularly sensitive to the beauty of our natural landscape, and architecture. Those folks of course tend to be artists. And so the bedrock of this community, as strong as the limestone under this town, is in four parts, beauty, outdoor recreation, historic preservation, and the arts.

My thanks to Dr. Dan Bell for alerting me to the need for this post.

Make, fix, and create...


  1. Thank you Doug for this, I am in agreement with you, as working artists Craig and I are sorely disappointed that in the 20 yrs of living here, we are still not recognized as the artists that we are in our own community. Its time!!!

  2. I'm not so much concerned about the recognition of individual artists as I am about the recognition of the value of the arts at large. Being undervalued as an artist in our community may have something to do with the fact that there are so many of us. We are art rich, and it would be nice if the community at large and the world at large came to a better understanding of us and what we offer toward a better world.

    We folk tend to arrive here, thinking the arts arrived with us. But we need to recognize that the arts came first. We have a rich legacy that must be understood and preserved. With that, our tiny boats will rise.