Northwest Arkansas has been making some waves lately. U.S. News & World Report recently named Fayetteville the third best place in America to live. I couldn’t agree more. Erik, Cora, and I moved to Fayetteville in January, and we love so many things about our new hometown. It’s friendly, safe, progressive, and beautiful, and it’s full of exciting art. Cora is a huge art fan, so we planned a Girls’ Art Day Out with my friend, Emily Davis, the graphic designer for Fayetteville’s new Whole Foods Market. She moved to Fayetteville from Little Rock late this winter to help open the store, and she, too, is, loving her new Fayetteville life. She’s a beautiful, sweet friend and was delighted to join us.
We started our day at the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market where you can create your own Market Mandala with beautiful, fresh, and local produce. The market has a variety of produce, flowers, baked goods, fresh breads, plants, and local art. There’s a little band on every corner of the square playing Arkansas folk music, and you can find light snacks and coffee. The farmer’s market is on the square every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday through late fall. It’s a must-stop if you’re in town for the day.
For lunch, we chose Arsaga’s Depot in an old train depot off Dickson and West Street, where you sometimes get to hear and see the train pass right by the back patio. Arsaga’s features the art of local artists on their historic brick walls. We enjoyed the work of Aviva Steigmeyer during our visit to The Depot.
Our lunch was artful, too. I had the colorful beet salad with a side of soup and their amazing herb fries. Since today was a special girl’s day out, Cora ordered the spectacular Hummingbird Soda. They make delightful in-house drinks with locally made syrups and soda water. It’s unlike any soda you’ve had! For pregnant mommy here, I was thankful that they make the best decaf coffee I’ve ever had.
Emily is lucky enough to have Sundays off, and Arsaga’s is one of her favorite brunch spots. She always orders the kale salad with a side of potatoes. Restaurants like this can be found all over the city. I highly recommend Farmer’s Table down on South School Street, as well as the new Mockingbird Café located on College. I could go on and on about the food. The farm-to-table scene is growing leaps and bounds! Enjoy locally raised fresh food on your visit and experience the new tastes of Arkansas.
After lunch, Cora, Emily, and I visited Fayetteville Underground to check out their First Thursday gallery event. I stumbled upon Fayetteville Underground on my way to a meeting with the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market manager, Leann Hensley. Walking through the building I noticed a beautiful gallery and peeked in. I made a point to look them up on Facebook and subscribe to their events.
Fayetteville Underground is a non-profit organization located in a beautiful historic building on the square in Fayetteville. Many artists work and share this space. The First Thursday event was crowded with artists and fans. I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Octavio Logo. Octavio is from Mexico City and travels all over with his art. Fayetteville was lucky to have him stop here! Some of his paintings are very large and all of them are full of intense passion. I love his messages in his art about Mexico as well as the human body and soul. He took the time to explain to me his thoughts and feelings behind his Illumination series. I noticed right away the spirals and use of the Fibonacci sequence in the paintings. He told me that he actually designed and built a special tool to perfectly measure out the circles and spirals for these paintings.
My favorite is Illumination I. Octavio was able to use an actual skeleton as a model. As he described his inspiration for this series, he referred to the poem, “Death without End,” by Jose Gorostiza, explaining that this poem talks about life and death as ongoing, ever-changing, but always moving like water. “I discover my essence in the astonished image of water,” Gorostiza writes.
As Octavio spoke about his art and this beautiful concept, I could literally see his eyes light up! This kind of one-on-one experience with an artist is something you can expect to have during a visit to Fayetteville Underground. Octavio painted four Ilumination pieces within a four-week period. Illumination 1, 2, and 3, and Constellation. Constellations is a beautiful painting of a woman.
When you look closely, you can see the bone structure. Octavio explained that he painted the bones first and then layered on the body, expressing the light from within. Illumination. In this painting, you see the spirals again.
“As a newcomer to Fayetteville, I was really delighted by my first First Thursday,” Emily says. “I loved the diversity of the art we saw and appreciated the opportunity to connect with a bunch of cool new folks! (And the food here doesn’t hurt, either!) Oh, and Cora is my favorite little human.”
“I love looking at and creating art,” Cora says.
All of the exhibits at Fayetteville Underground were amazing and inspiring. I recommend stopping in for a tour anytime they are open. Hours are posted on their website: fayettevilleunderground.org. I highly recommend planning a day trip to Northest Arkansas to eat, shop, and enjoy the arts. Hope to see you in town soon! M! June/July 2016
Upcoming Fayetteville Events
Fayetteville Farmer’s Market every Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday
June 9 – 11: 16th Annual Art of Wine Festival at Walton Art Center
June 11: Tipi Talks with John Two-Hawks: Medicine Wheel Wisdom Part 1 at Museum of Native American History
June 23: Taste of NW Arkansas at Walton Art Center
Super Saturdays: Painting Outside at the Community Creative Center