DELTA 60, an Arkansas Arts Center original documentary film, was awarded “Best Arkansas Connection” at the 2019 Fayetteville Film Fest.
The Fayetteville Film Fest, now in its 11th year, champions independent films and filmmakers and works to build relationships between filmmakers and supporters. DELTA 60, which was directed by Arts Center Digital Media Producer Matthew Rowe and co-produced by Rowe and Director of Marketing and Communications Angel Galloway, was screened at the annual film festival in Fayetteville on October 5.
The hour-long documentary explores the innovative work featured in the 60th Annual Delta Exhibition through the eyes of 10 Arkansas artists. Following the artists as they create work that addresses place, identity, representation and history, DELTA 60 proves the power of art to challenge its viewers – and its makers.
While the Delta Exhibition has been an important Arkansas Arts Center tradition for more than 60 years, DELTA 60 is the first documentary film to explore the exhibition in depth.
Every year, the Annual Delta Exhibition – which was founded in 1958 – offers a snapshot of the art being made in the Mississippi River Delta region at that moment. For 61 years, the Annual Delta Exhibition has offered a conversation about its time and place, with artists often reflecting on the landscape, people and history of the region. With DELTA 60, Arts Center producers looked to offer a fresh perspective on the Delta Exhibition.
“When we began capturing individual artist stories during the 60th anniversary Delta Exhibition last year, we realized that these stories were really part of something bigger,” Galloway said. “While we only introduce you to 10 artists in this film, this exhibition has been shining a light on regional artists across the Delta for 61 years. This film is really a celebration of that history, and all those artists who shared their vision and voice with our community.”
DELTA 60 follows both emerging and established artists as they work, joining them in their studios, homes and on the road as they dive into their craft, motivation and vision. The artists featured in the film provide a unique lens through which to view the Delta Exhibition:
Melissa Cowper-Smith uses handmade paper as an active surface for reflections on what is remembered and what is forgotten.
Neal Harrington’s large-scale woodcuts create a sense of mythology and folklore tied to the Ozark region.
Tammy Harrington explores her Chinese heritage through intricately layered prints and cut paper works.
Robyn Horn’s wood sculptures articulate the tensions inherent in the natural world.
Tim Hursley, a photographer for world-famous architects, finds the beauty in the agricultural structures of rural Arkansas.
Lisa Krannichfeld’s female figures demand their space while rejecting easy interpretation.
James Matthews humanizes the overlooked places with quilts made from the things that are left behind.
Dusty Mitchell uses found objects to challenge the assumed relationship between an object and its viewer.
Aj Smith seeks to provide a window into the souls of his subjects with intimate portraits.
Marjorie Williams-Smith invites her viewer to take a closer look her metalpoint self-portraits – and at themselves.
“These artists are reacting to their environment and, in doing so, challenging the way we see the things we see all the time. Several of the artists profiled are concerned with nature and land. Others still are trying to understand its people and its culture,” Rowe said. “It is my hope that viewers will be able to watch each artist’s story and gain a better understanding of their own world.”
DELTA 60 was produced by Angel Galloway and Matthew Rowe with original music written by Isaac Alexander. DELTA 60 is sponsored by Anne and Merritt Dyke and the Philip R. Jonsson Foundation. In addition, this project is supported in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information, visit arkansasartscenter.org or call 501-372-4000. To view the DELTA 60 trailer, visit youtu.be/Ka0AzI9pT3E.