Christina Blum, President

Christina’s love of art started with a love of nature when she was a child. When she was four her dad brought home a mass of jelly with little black dots in it. He put this jelly in an aquarium and they watched the semi transparent mass of eggs turn to tadpoles and then to frogs. She was fascinated with the beauty and complexity of nature and art became a way to express that fascination.

She took art classes in elementary school, in High School watercolor became her favorite medium. It has a beautiful transparency and can be loose or detailed. Watercolor dries quickly and because it flows it can take you in unexpected directions.

Art has taken many forms in Christina’s life. When her children were young she explored art in the world of finger paints and mud pies. As the kids got older she had the opportunity to join the Ames Brush Club and then the Tuesday Painters in Clear Lake. They met weekly and encouraged her to join Iowa Artist and the Iowa Watercolor Society. She took classes with artists like Don Andrews, Birget O’Connor, and Paul Jackson and became a signature member of the Iowa Watercolor Society.

She recently moved to Conway, AR and is excited to see what adventures await her there.

Karen Freeman, Vice President

I graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in art but did not use it until I had the opportunity to teach at my children’s elementary school. For twelve years, I taught grades 1 through 6, and then moved up to Jr high and high school level art. Those years were as good as another degree plus a master’s ! Giving the children a taste of every medium and art form I could think of taught me a great deal! Hopefully they learned to love art too.

After my own children graduated and left home I began to paint for myself. Classes in Art History and Pottery at the local community college in Clinton, MS, kept me busy. I sold my artwork at markets and various venues in Jackson and Clinton. Six years ago my husband and I moved to Arkansas. I continued painting in acrylic, and doing some pottery with a neighbor friend. Joining CLA enabled me to meet other artists and have opportunities to show my work. My artwork has been on display at Art on the Green, the O Gallery ,and Moore’s Art Supplies. I paint from photos of places I have been. I enjoy sharing that place and experience with viewers .Hopefully they see what I do in God’s beautiful world.

Shirley Bowen, Treasurer & Membership

After completing a long career in television, Shirley is happily spending a lot more time making art. She sketches and paints still lifes and portraits and is currently working to improve skills in figure drawing and use of color. She likes to paint with pastels, gouache and other water-based materials.

Alene Bynum, Show Chair

Alene is a life-long Arkansan and moved to Conway in 2016 upon retirement from 29 years in education at Russellville School District. Alene served as a History, Sociology, and Amerian Government teacher for ten years at Russellville High School (incorporating arts, humanities, poetry and literature into an integrated social study), ten years as Russellville Junior High School Principal, and 9 years as Assistant Superintendent over Curriculum, Instruction, and Personnel. Alene has a BA in History Education, a Masters in Educational Leadership, and a Specialist Degree in Superintendency Leadership. Alene has had the opportunity to travel in her life. On her travels, Alene visited many art museums such as Musee d’Orsay and Louvre museums in Paris, British Museum in London, National Gallery of Art and National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D. C., Museum of Contemporary Art of San Diego, The Georgia O’keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois. Visiting these and other museums led to a love of art in all forms and a commitment to begin painting once retired. In 2020, Alene purchased alcohol ink, watercolors, acrylics, and pour paints and began to study painting techniques. Alene joined the Conway League of Arts in 2023 in order to learn from experienced artists and share the love of beginning painting. Alene is now attending the Conway School of Art and taking sketching classes. Her love and enthusiasm for art prepared her to become Co-Chair of Art Shows for the Conway league of Artists. Alene is married to John Bynum, attorney-at-law in Conway, and she has five children and twelve grandchildren–all of which have received multiple art pieces for gifts.

Katy Killingsworth, Asst. Show Chair

Katy graduated UCA with a BA in Art, Education emphasis. She spent the next seven years teaching art in public schools.

Currently staying home with her children, she intends to return to teaching eventually.

Still seeking a definitive style, and interested in including more narrative, Katy is currently exploring watercolor and mixed media techniques.

Tracy McGarrity, Publicity

Tracy is originally from Rocky Mount, VA, and moved to Conway in 1995 when her husband Joe began his Economics teaching career at UCA.  She has a BA in Art History from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA.  She grew up with a love for nature and the visual arts and fulfilled many hours of studio art requirements for her major but didn’t discover her love for hand-building pottery until after graduating. She took 2 years of Ceramic hand-building classes in the 1990s, but then went on hiatus for 20 some years while raising her 2 daughters, taking classes off and on during that time.

After becoming the part time Operations Manager for Blackbird Academy of Arts in 2013, her involvement with local artists and art events increased. She volunteered with many Blackbird events but also with the annual Art, Pray, Love fundraiser at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. Even after moving to full time work at UCA, she found time to start playing in clay again, eventually forming the Conway Clay Collective in 2019 to gather other local potters to sell together at local markets. She also serves on the St. Peters Art Collective (SPARC). Currently Tracy’s day job is Office Manager for UCA’s Student Affairs VP Office, and she is planning to have more time to create art when she retires.

Pepper Henthorne-Adams, Historian

I received a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art with an emphasis in drawing in 1996 from University of Central Arkansas. I enjoy drawing and photography.

Susan Peterson, Newsletter

After retiring from teaching in higher education in 2004, Susan tried her hand at making art. She first took a watercolor class with Sheila Parsons and studied oil and acrylics with Steve Griffith. She now spends her time painting (acrylic is now the preferred medium) and creating pottery, both hand built and wheel thrown, at the Innovation Hub in North Little Rock. She enjoys selling her pieces at various art shows in the area. She is a former president of CLA.

Virginia Potter, Art of the Month

Virginia Potter is an Arkansas artist, who continues to be inspired by the natural beauty of the land and its people. She developed a rich imagination as a child, visualizing people, events, and places as she listened to stories told by her grandparents. Her early years were spent living on Pryor Mountain in Cleburne County in the years before electricity where time spent telling stories developed a child’s active imagination. The ability to visualize and imagine has served her well over a lifetime as an artist.

Virginia has lived in the Conway, Arkansas area off and on for many years as well as living in her husband’s home state of Michigan, taking advantage of educational opportunities available in each area. She studied art at the University of Central Arkansas, the Arkansas Arts Center, and Michigan’s Flint Institute of Fine Arts. She earned an Associate’s degree in Fine Arts from C.S. Mott College, where her primary field of study was in metalsmithing and jewelry as an art form, and where she also taught oil painting classes through Mott Community College’s continuing education program.

Virginia, a painter who uses oils, acrylics and watercolors, says the basic principles and elements of art remain constant, but each media has a unique character and speaks to the artist in its own way. She’s found that switching from one media to the other helps her be more creative by constantly forcing her to seek new solutions to old problems. The media she uses depends on the subject matter and the feelings she wishes to convey.

Generally considered to be a landscape artist, Virginia enjoys painting other subject matter as well. Lately her primary interest has been in painting wildlife, including many species of endangered and threatened species through Facebook’s ABUN (Artists and Biologists Unite for Nature) group. She finds painting for a purpose to be inspiring and challenging, bringing enjoyment to her while gaining attention and awareness to some of the problems facing these endangered birds, animals and habitats.

Marilyn Rishkofski, Dorris Curtis/Activities

Soon after I opened the doors to Art Experience of Conway, an art and framing gallery, I joined the League to meet artists and learn more about the art scene in my new community. It has been a pleasure to work with talented artists who care about enriching, promoting and supporting the arts in Conway.

From the time that I taught K-8 in a rural school district and 34 years later established Art Experience in Conway Arkansas, I have met many talented artists,have sold a lot of beautiful artwork,and framed an enormous amount of great artwork for customers and collectors.

As much as I enjoy working in the gallery and frame workshop, moving beyond the gallery walls and into the community where I live and do business is very important to me. I enjoy working with other organizations to help make Conway a great place to live and work by offering opportunities to enjoy and experience great art.

Mary Hicks, Activities

Coming soon.

Beth Simpson, Member at Large

I’m a transplant from Mississippi who has fallen in love with the Natural State. Other than Artist, I’m a lot of things, but my favorites include Mom, Wife, Episcopalian, Veteran, Wanna-Be Chef, and Art Therapist-in-the-Making.

I’ve been a creative as long as I can remember. I opted out of sports at a young age in favor of spending Saturdays with an 80-something-year-old lady who taught me watercolor, among many other things. I studied art throughout high school and college, and now, I’m wrapping up a master’s in art therapy.

I’m adamant that art is inherently healing. And you’ll rarely catch me sticking with one medium, though I tend to go back to my watercolor roots quite a bit. I’m forever intrigued by trying something new.

Check out our upcoming events.