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SWA was founded in 1945 at the end of World War II to bring beauty back into the lives of people in a war weary world. It is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. The Art of the Heartland (AHL) juried competition and exhibition began in 2015. It is dedicated to bring back pride in America after a long period of economic downturn and world turmoil. This competition, a project of SWA, will be hosted by its Mena Art Gallery in the heart of the Ouachita Mountains and National Forest, an area of 1.5 million acres providing endless plein air painting and photo opportunities.

Our goal is to assemble the finest display of representational paintings made in America that display the best of American Art. The focus in the jury process will be to select paintings with the highest quality in workmanship, color, value, composition, style and diversity of subject matter and style. The jury will consist of three SWA professional artists.

Awards will be at least $9,000, including a $4,000 First Place, $2,000 Second Place, $1,000 Third Place, and $1,000 for top painting by an Arkansas artist. In addition, we are working with our sponsors to add a variety of additional awards.

Eligible artist locations include all of the United States, Canada and their possessions. Artists must be 18 years or older and either a 2016 SWA paid member or must submit payment for SWA membership with their entry to this exhibit.



To see this and last years exhibit, click here

Mena Art Gallery,  607 Mena Street,  Mena, Arkansas

We are keeping the gallery open for extended hours during October
so that you have more opportunities to see the exhibit.

Hours for October are:

Tuesday, 11 am to 2 pm
Wednesday, 10 am to 3 pm
Thursday through Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm
Sunday, 12 noon to 4 pm
Closed Mondays

Thursday, October 20, all downtown merchants stay open until 8 pm,
including Mena Art Gallery.

Click to view our Photo Shoot Video
Click to View our Plein Air Paint Out Video Click to View Bed & Breakfasts in the Mena Area