American Art Awards Names Best Gallery Or Museum In Arkansas, 2022: Fort Smith Regional Art Museum (RAM)
Each year the American Art Awards selects the 20 Best Galleries And Museums In America; only one museum or gallery per state per year. Among other criteria, selections are based on years established, industry reputation, online buzz, location, size, socially relevant exhibits, motivational and educational programs, represented artists as well as artist, client and visitor references.
American Art Awards: “We considered thousands of the most established art venues from Hawaii to Maine. This year we chose five museums, one with an impeccable reputation for 125 years, one 75, one 50, one 40, and one fairly new. We selected a Mid-West art center doing important community work for 44 years, and a lively Southern gallery linked to a 5 day festival. Most the galleries we selected are heralded longtime landmarks with expansive interiors perfect for exhibiting today’s contemporary masters. Many have several locations and cater specifically to regional collectors with regional artwork, but just as many represent all genres of work from all levels of national and international artisans.
“American Art Awards selects Fort Smith Regional Art Museum as the Best Gallery or Museum in Arkansas, 2022, and one of our Top 20 Galleries & Museums in USA, 2022. The gorgeous structure, inside and out, is one of many reasons the RAM has received awards. Besides being a visual masterpiece, their numerous free, ongoing programs for the youth are a gift to the open mind, and Arkansas as a whole. Well-intentioned socially-conscious programs, knowledgeable staff, prominent artists, halls of treasures, great organization and production is their earned impeccable reputation, and meets the high expectations of excited visitors, and American Art Awards.”
RAM originated in 1948 under the Arkansas Association of University Women. In 1951 the Associated Artists of Fort Smith began exhibiting art and holding classes in various locations throughout Fort Smith. In 1960 space for an art center was purchased, and in 1968 the Fort Smith Art Center was incorporated. The small Art Center offered a valuable service for local and regional artists by offering space for its artists for five decades.
The opening of the new museum located at 1601 Rogers Avenue near the heart of Fort Smith marked a major turning point for this organization. Arvest Bank made the expansion possible by donating the 16,000 square-foot building to the Art Center in January of 2009, following a $211 million dollar buyout of Superior Federal Bank in 2003. The Art Center was fully re-branded and opened in January of 2013 as the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum that is fully compliant with the standards of the American Alliance of Museums.
RAM won the prestigious Preservation through Rehabilitation Award from the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas (2013), the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Gulf State Region Merit Award (2014), and the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Gold Award. The nationally recognized architects of the newly renovated museum, Polk, Stanley Wilcox, are known for their work such as the William J. Clinton Presidential Library, Heifer International World Headquarters, and the Arkansas Studies Institute (ASI) of Little Rock. The building that houses RAM, the old Superior Federal Savings and Loan Bank building at 1601 Rogers Avenue, was listed on the Arkansas Register of Historic Places, with local significance, as an example of a Mid-Century Modern design by the Fort Smith architecture firm of Mott, Mobley, Horstman and Staton.
In addition to ongoing exhibitions the museum offers classes for children and adults, lectures, opening receptions, children’s art camps, galas, free Saturday programming, after school programs and artist-led workshops. The museum offers facility rentals and a specialty gift shop featuring one-of-a-kind items created by local and regional artists.
The new state-of-the-art Museum meets national standards and has greatly contributed to cultural growth in the region.
Fort Smith Regional Art Museum / 1601 Rogers Avenue / Fort Smith, AR 72901……….(479) 784–2787 (479) 784–9071
Museum Hours / Tuesday–Saturday 11am-6 pm / Sundays 1–5 pm
www.AmericanArtAwards.com annually awards 20 museums and galleries in spring, and with their critique in autumn, awards 300+ artists (painters, photographers, sculptors and digital artists).