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Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts’ ‘Delta Voices’ goes up on the big screen

In a partnership with the Arkansas Cinema Society, the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts is hosting a screening of a video series called “Delta Voices: Artists of the Mid-South,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, August 31, at CALS Ron Robinson Theater. Admission is free, but you can register here.

A panel discussion follows, including artists Renata Cassiano Alvarez, Vaugn Davis, Jr. and John Isiah Walton along with filmmaker Chris DellaPace. The museum’s director of community engagement, Chris Revelle, moderates.

Since 1958, the Delta Exhibition has heightened the visibility of artists in the region and reflected shifts in the cultural landscape. In recent years, the Delta has evolved from an annual juried exhibition hosted by the Arkansas Arts Center into a collaborative virtual series, Delta Voices: Artists of the Mid-South—created during the institution’s transformation into the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts and made in partnership with regional museums. The Delta will continue to evolve, becoming a triennial exhibition in the newly opened AMFA. “Just as the Mississippi River has been a force that continually altered the landscape around it, likewise the art of the Delta has shifted our perception of the region,” said Brian J. Lang, Chief Curator and Windgate Foundation Curator of Contemporary Craft.

Through this year’s edition of Delta Voices: Artists of the Mid-South, AMFA presents the work of Renata Cassiano Alvarez, Vaughn Davis, Jr. in partnership with the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, and John Isiah Walton in partnership with the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. “There are stories here that can only be told by people from these places. These stories have not always been part of the larger conversation around art, and that is to the detriment of the national dialogue,” noted AMFA Curator Theresa Bembnister.

The 2022 release of Delta Voices: Artists of the Mid-South will be a three-part exploration of the artists’ perspectives on Place–how their region’s history and culture inform their artistic practice, Content–the stories and ideas expressed in their art, and Form–how those ideas take shape through the artists’ materials. Through intimate vignettes of each artist’s process and connection to their cities, assumptions about often underrecognized sites on the national art map are thwarted and a deeper understanding of the region’s cultural richness emerges.

Following the 2022 release of Delta Voices: Artists of the Mid-South, AMFA will host connected programming in 2023, and the first Delta Exhibition in its new triennial format in 2024 at the redesigned Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts. Catherine Walworth, Jackye and Curtis Finch, Jr., Curator of Drawings, stated, “Through the evolution of the Delta into a triennial, artists can create new bodies of work that transform each exhibition. AMFA plans to make the Delta even grander in terms of roll-out and programming. As a result of all these things, we are better poised to elevate the best work of our region, be its biggest booster, and help give it a voice at a national level.”