Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Art Group Gallery in Pleasant Ridge Town Center

Art Group Gallery 

                                        Stained Glass Forest - Louise Harris 

      Don’t think you can afford original art?
     Yes you can - when you buy it directly from the artists at The Art Group Gallery in the Pleasant Ridge Town Center, a co-operative effort of 17 very talented local artists.
       Holly Tilley, general manager of the gallery, said it doesn’t fit any typical gallery mold.  The artists, who are all part-owners, run the gallery. 
      “One of the owners is there everyday,” Mrs. Tilley of west Little Rock, said.

                                                    Cow Shoals - Bob Snider 

      The art is “wholesale,” Holly said, because there is no usual markup in price as found in typical art galleries, which she said can add 50 percent or more to the price of a canvas. (Although, the norm in Little Rock is 40 percent, according to some galleries contacted.) 
       “You are buying it directly from the artist,” Holly said.
      The art ranges from as little as $50 to $75 for small pieces up to the $500 to $750 range.  Many of the original works are priced at about $175 unframed.  Only a few very large canvases are priced above $1,000.

                                                Chimpanzee - Shirley Gentry 
                                               Lilies of the Nile - Patricia Wilkes      
     From the beginning, one of the goals of the group was to keep down the costs of running the gallery. “There’s no overhead, just rent and light, no personal cost,” Holly said. Her personal cell phone is the number for the gallery, so the group even saves on that expense.
       “We buy frames as a group. That way we are able to buy them more economically.  We have beautiful frames.”
       One of the great features of the gallery is that if you like a work of art, but do not like the frame, they will gladly swap it for one better suited to your taste. And all styles of frames are available.
       “We are starting our fourth year at Pleasant Ridge.  Fifteen years prior to that we started as an art studio in Maumelle.  One year we rented a ‘pop-up’ store here in Pleasant Ridge for a holiday art show. People received our art so well we just kept bringing more work.”
      Right after the very successful holiday show, the group decided to make Pleasant Ridge its permanent home and have a gallery instead of a studio. 
      “Everybody except one person came with us to start our new little business.
      “We’ve got a really great group of people.  We are a community.  We are constantly lifting one another up.”
      The shopping center has been a great location for the group. “We are really lucky to be there,” Holly said.
     By buying art from the group, you are help-ing the community, Holly said, because the gallery supports a number of different non-profits.  “All of us donate to every charity you can name.”
      It’s costly for the artists to do this, she said. “They have a lot of money invested on the front end. By buying the art, you are essentially helping us to continue to contribute to the community.”
       The gallery is unique in that it is a place that anyone in the community can come and paint.  “We have several stations in the back, and we actually teach lessons and host workshops and have workshops for us to take.”
      The gallery has also hosted a number of events for free.  It even had a wedding once. Events for non-profits are a way to give back to the community, and often people who attend will find art they must have.  So it’s win-win.  The gallery has hosted events for up to 200 people.  And many of the groups want an artist on hand to paint live for them, which turns out to be lots of fun all around. 
    Artists in the group work in oils, acrylics, water color and mixed media. Styles include impressionism, realism, and abstract.  
     The subjects are as varied as the artists, but there are lots of Arkansas-themed works, such as racing at Oaklawn, historic homes, farm scenes, and depictions of different lakes and rivers in the state. 
     The artists are a diverse group, but they have one thing in common.
     “We’d always rather be painting,” Holly said. “We love it that much.”
     The gallery is open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 - 6 p.m. on Sunday. It is also open by appointment.  690-2193.

Art Group Gallery Artists 
Patricia Wilkes was graduated from Washington School of Fine Art in 1973 with a bachelor’s in fine art and has worked as a freelance illustrator. She enjoys painting still lifes, large florals and landscapes of her travels in Italy.

Marie Weaver is a beaming grandmother whose grandchildren have inspired some of her best work.  She uses varied methods and styles for her inspiring nature scenes and visions of children and adults at work and play.

Holly Tilley loves being outdoors, and this is   reflected in her paintings of landscapes, including favorites such as Lake Ouachita, old barns, trucks and cows. Great cows! She has studied with Bill Garrison, Barry Thomas, and Dreama-Tolle Perry. 

Bob Snider is a signature member of Mid-Southern Watercolorists and has served as its president.  His vibrant horse racing paintings can be found in galleries in Palm Springs, Vail, and Seaside, Florida. You can see his demos at

Vonda Rainey paints predominantly impressionistic oils and acrylics.  After raising her family, she returned to her love of art and studied at the Arkansas Arts Center and with several noted local artists.  She is a member of the Arkansas League of Artists. 

Ann Presley is a full-time artist specializing in oils.  She paints scenes of the Ouachita and Ozark mountains in her native Arkansas and scenes of her travels in the southwest. She has had paintings in juried shows in Texas and Arkansas. 

Susan Plunkett works in watercolor, oil and acrylic.  She has studied at La Romita School of Art in Italy and recently completed a workshop in Arles, France.  Plein air painting gives her much joy and inspiration.  She’s on the Arkansas League of Artists board.

Ned Perme began art instruction at the Mansion Art and Framing in 2003, and when it closed the next year, he and some of the other students formed The Art Group in Maumelle. He paints vivid Arkansas landmarks and bold, colorful abstracts.

Michelle Moore studies painting, pottery and printmaking at the Arkansas Arts Center and has consistently been one of the top sellers at Museum School sales. She paints and does printmaking at her studio in The Pyramid Place Building.   

Terri Haugen is considered one of America’s foremost batik artists, and her work is collected worldwide. She has lived in Paris and Italy and exhibited in galleries in the States and overseas. The Art Group Gallery carries many of her paintings in oil and mixed media. 

Louise Harris has always had a creative nature and an appreciation for all styles of art. After raising her children, she returned to art and studied under a number of artists, including Susie Patton, Patrick Cunningham, Emily Wood, and Matt Coburn.

Shelly Gentry is a member of the Arkansas Pastel Society and has served on its board for the past three years.  Her paintings have been in a number of juried shows. She was graduated from Hendrix College  and from the Harrington Institute of Design in Chicago.

          Fawn by Shelly Gentry, acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas, 20x20 $450.00.

Lori Deymaz enjoys creating abstracts in which  color, or its absence, speaks to the viewer. “The beauty of the world is enhanced through various colors.  I embrace all of them, from the brightest pink to the most subtle gray, and I always love metallics.”

Dawn Bearden is the newest member of The Art Group.  Abstract modern art and urban contemporary mixed media are just some of the styles she works in, and over the years, this self-taught artist has been widely collected inside and outside of Arkansas.

               Blue Man Series 2 by Dawn Bearden, ink/resin on wood, 36x24, $500.00

Loren Bartnicke received her bachelor’s of fine art from Mississippi State University and is working on a master’s in fine art at Syracuse University.  Some of her bright, heavily textured pieces are almost three-dimensional.  She is a painter at Syracuse Stage.

                            City by Loren Bartnicke, oil on canvas, 36x48 $2,400

Shirley Anderson has a passion for plein air painting. She works in acrylic, oil, charcoal and pastels. Her landscapes have been in juried exhibitions in several states. She is a charter member of the Arkansas Pastel Society and served as its president.
    DeSoto Spillway by Shirley Anderson, pastel on sanded paper, 17x14, $375.00.

Ron Almond began taking art lessons from Matt Coburn at The Art Group after retiring from the Arkansas National Guard.  An Arkansas native now living in Maumelle, Ron uses brilliant colors in his landscapes and abstracts.
                       Aspen Glory by Ron Almond, oil on canvas, 24x30, $1,575.00