Blog Series | Eureka! Finding Our Hidden Gems | Adventure Art
It is a pleasure to welcome ADVENTURE ART to Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
In 2021, USA Today ranked our beloved Eureka Springs at #5 in its Best Small Town Arts Scene and in 2020 Thrillist had us on its survey of 12 Small Towns in the U.S. with Great Art Scenes.
With this place being home to 400+ working artists and dozens of galleries and art shops, art is illustrated everywhere in Eureka Springs. Our quaint, little Ozark town appeals to a wide range of visitors from writers, artists and musicians to hippies, drag queens and bikers so it’s no secret that Eureka Springs is an arts town at its very core.
New on the scene at 128 Spring Street in the heart of downtown Eureka Springs (inside the former Mitchell's Folly location) we welcome ADVENTURE ART. This cheerful, yellow-ish/green-ish art hut features meet ups, shows, workshops, classes, merchandise and more.
Although they've been in Eureka Springs for about 2.5 years, Amber and Lloyd Leibee opened this lovely gallery space in October 2022 and it is truly delightful.
In my family, the art gene runs amok. My grandfather, Papa Joe, was an incredible painter of landscapes and coastlines. My Aunt Mary Theresa draws free-hand sketches and can create something from something else unexpectedly in the blink of an eye. My Father is quite good with sketching, painting, color, screen printing and depth perception and my nephew Nico can capture his imagination on paper like a pro using his paints, markers, pencils and other mediums.
My art is entirely musical, so give me a microphone and I'll belt out something that will blow the canvas apart but hand me a set of fresh, new watercolors and I'll probably paint my nails. Ha!
All this said, I must convey to you that the moment I arrived inside our new Adventure Art Gallery on Spring Street, I couldn't help but feel this overwhelming urge to participate. I'm not sure if it was Lloyd, Amber or just simply the whole sunny disposition of the place, but it made me want to get creative.
The space is just so Eureka! Exposed stone, multi-colors and multi-textures. Fairy lights and green paper lanterns layered above you across the ceiling infusing a light airy fun vibe to the gallery and I could not help notice an array of what I often call - aesthetics of joy - sprinkled all over the place.
This gallery is joy heaven.
For those of you that follow and read my blog regularly, you know that I am a firm believer that aesthetics of joy are everywhere if you simply take time to get out and take part in some daily joy-spotting activities.
Take a look at the many aesthetics of joy in these four simple images I took during my very first visit to the Adventure Art Gallery.
I mean, there is a reason that people — regardless of gender, age, culture, or ethnicity — are mesmerized by joyful aesthetics. A cluster of balloons! A burst of confetti! Holiday lights! Rainbow sprinkles on a banana split! Polka dots! Bright colors! Rich textures and patterns!
This bright, colorful gallery whisks you away into a joyful place in your heart from the moment you arrive and so I'm thinking it was that whisk-wooshy feeling that came over me making me whisper to myself, "I want to sketch and paint something today, right here, right now!"
There's no question in my mind that if I did allow myself the time to sketch and paint that day, Lloyd would've set me up with the right tools to make it all happen because this shop specializes in just that - setting you up with the right supplies to venture out into nature to get creative . . . after all, this place is "Adventure Art."
Lloyd was so gracious to stop what he was doing and immediately offer me a full tour of the place with some very detailed explanations about it all. I listened intently and took lots of pictures while my mind raced to remember the intricate details that he expertly explained.
Amber, was leading a class of students that came over from Hobb's State Park for an art/nature workshop on this particular day. They were all so lovely to stop for me and pose when I asked them to do so.
While Adventure Art is still very new on the scene here in Eureka Springs, it's popularity is growing quite fast. The March 2023 Class Schedule features classes on coiled basketry, beginning watercolor, ultra-light plein air sketching, how to journal, nature journaling and urban sketching.
Oh yes, and that reminds me, Urban Sketchers is an official group on Facebook that happens to be the only local officially sanctioned member of Urban Sketchers International. This local Eureka Springs chapter is a group of artists from all around Northwest Arkansas all with different artistic abilities who seek to draw and paint together on location. Check out the local Eureka Springs group on Facebook!
Now let's get into some of Lloyd's details:
Amber and Lloyd have partnered with Little Mountain Bindery in Fayetteville, Arkansas to create some of the most unique journals I've ever seen.
In my youth I used to love to journal. Yet, as we get older, life shifts and we tend to somehow believe that our external environment has little or no impact on our inner joy.
This visit to Adventure Art reminded me that the external environment constantly offers joy and if I'm so inspired to do so, I can buy a cool journal and begin to document the rush of joy that overcomes me as I bounce from polka dot to polka dot in my quaint Eurekan life.
More and more these days, experts urge us to find balance and calm by looking inward. Like many other people nowadays, I have my own personal practice of mindfulness and meditation which helps me to temporarily mute the outside world and take an introspective journey within.
One of these lovely journals is the perfect way to document that journey inward. I am happy to start journaling again.
PERFECT POTTERY PALETTES
Lloyd also told me that they make all of the paint products on premise and (of course) using the healing waters of Eureka Springs to do so.
Lloyd makes these pottery pieces that serve as a perfect palette for the custom colors that the artist uses.
These pottery palettes come in different shapes and sizes and are designed for easy travel and outdoor adventures.
It's important to note that Lloyd and Amber have honed in on their incredible connection between art and nature.
The products that they create and sell are specifically designed for a plein air experience outside.
For example, I could see someone visiting Eureka Springs for the very first time, stopping in the gallery, discovering and purchasing the Plein Air Easel or the Field Bag, taking a beautiful hike to Lake Leatherwood, and then stopping for a lunch picnic and a little paint or sketch session right out in nature. Ahhhhh, perfection.
THE PLEIN AIR EASEL
THE FIELD BAG
The Field Bag will give you the art-artillery you need to hike, highlight and layer in the atmosphere of your choice; and with The Natural State all around you, what better canvas awaits?
THE SKETCH EASEL
These cools sketch easels are created by Lloyd and they can be attached to the tripods for easy outdoor use. Also, there are magnets embedded so that you can use the cool magnetic pocket painting tin that won't slip off the easel when properly secured to the embedded magnets. Well played, Lloyd!
COMPLETE POCKET PAINTING KITS
THE TRAVEL WATERCOLOR PALETTE & WATERCOLOR BRUSH BLOTTER
In my blog-post, Eureka Springs is universally joyful, you can see how the mundane spaces and objects that we interact with every day often have surprising, powerful, unfavorable effects on our mood.
The difference between an ordeal and an adventure is attitude. -Unknown
Places like Adventure Art in Eureka Springs allows for adventures away from all things mundane. An adventure in Eureka Springs is often easy to find and incorporating your own creativity into your adventure with art allows you to conjure up some surprise and delight for yourself, your significant other and those traveling with you!
You're here in Eureka! Yes! Eureka! You found it! So, why not harness the power of now to do something different.
Amber and Lloyd have created a place that tugs at you and pulls you inside. Once you obtain all that you need in your art-artillery, then go back outside and seek out that adventure with art.
Art is a way of life here in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Our public art in Eureka Springs includes iconic structures, must-see murals, mosaics, timeless paintings, sculptures and installations, an art colony with artists-in-residence, and even the entire town itself, which has been so well-preserved over the years, it remains on The National Register of Historic Places.