In the Lobby Gallery for March is an exhibit entitled “Collagraph and Collage”, presented by local artist and art educator, Katie Harwell and her sister-in-law and paper artist from Fairhope, Alabama, Kendal Blanchard.

The show will hang in the Lobby Gallery March 1-30, with an in-person art reception on Thursday, March 11, from 5:30-6:30pm. Guests are asked to RSVP for a limited-entry time slots. The reception will be hosted for small groups, with scheduled times for viewing at 5:30pm or 6:00pm.

Both Katie and Kendal are teachers.  During the 2020 quarantine they sent video chats back and forth each morning.  Teaching virtually while attempting to keep their own children on track became frustrating, so they encouraged each another to draw and paint to combat stress.  This show is the result of many overwhelming days, but it is also proof that art can save your sanity! Harwell’s show is a compilation of collograph prints and collages, while Blanchard’s exhibit contains paper collages with a seaside theme.

Katie Harwell grew up in El Dorado.  A local artist and educator, she holds a Bachelor of Interior Design from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, LA.  Married to Scott Harwell for 22 years, they have a 15-year-old son and a 9-year-old daughter.  Harwell currently teaches visual art classes at El Dorado High School and The South Arkansas Arts Center.  In addition to teaching, Harwell serves on the Vestry at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, and is a Campfire Leader who enjoys decorating their 107-year-old home, shopping at Flea Markets and watching scary movies with her mom.

“This show is a combination of three ongoing projects,” said Harwell.  “The first project began as illustrations for a book.  I was writing a book to celebrate the life of my father, who died seven years ago.  Painting and printing helped me feel better.  Many of the raccoon, daffodil, and tomato pieces are from this project.  I never finished the book.  I found that the illustrations were more fun to create than the storyline.  Most of these pieces are collagraph prints finished with watercolor.  Collagraph printing is a basic method of printmaking using a board with collage materials glued onto it to form a relief surface. “

Kendal Blanchard, who is Scott’s sister, was born and raised in Louisiana and now resides with her family along Mobile Bay in Fairhope, Alabama.  Having a love for both creativity and children, Kendal split her academic time in college in both the arts and education. She spent the early years of her career in education as a classroom teacher, an administrator, and even helped to start a Classical School in her native Louisiana.  With a move to coastal Alabama, Kendal’s love and desire to create fine art was rebirthed, and she focused her time and energy into creating Kendal Blanchard Art. Living along the bay and being a short drive to the Gulf of Mexico, Kendal draws inspiration from the sounds, colors, and textures of the coast.

About her art, Blanchard said, “My passion for creativity emerged early in life with the immense encouragement of my family. My adult career led me into education, where I was able to help guide students into who they will become. After a move across the Southeast and a family loss, I found myself seeking the therapeutic powers of expressing grief through art. Kendal Blanchard Art unfolded organically during that season of life and now has launched me into new creative ventures. I love to create classic subjects with a textured-modern twist. My most recent works include landscapes, abstracts, and botanicals with a dash of coastal mixed in. The natural world gives me an abundance of subjects to draw from as I develop new ways to share my artistic perspective with you. Creating art is my calling, and it gives me pleasure that through my works I am connected to individuals I otherwise would have never met. The relationships art has brought me have enriched me and fueled my passion more. I hope my work speaks to you and is the missing piece that transforms your house into a home.”

For more information about the exhibition contact the SAAC office at 862-5474. The exhibit reception, as approved by the Arkansas Department of Health, will be hosted for small groups on Thursday, March 11 with scheduled times for viewing at 5:30pm or 6:00pm. As per Governor Hutchinson’s statewide order, face coverings are required for entry. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

South Arkansas Arts Center