The essence of Vincent van Gogh will infuse the lobby of the Lantern Theater through the happy medium of inspirations of the famous painter by local artists.
Four painters have captured the excitement and color of van Gogh’s life and art in these symbolic paintings which will find conspicuous places in the cozy theater operated by The Conway Community Arts Association at 1021 Van Ronkle Street.
The paintings, on loan from Carmen’s Art and Antiques in downtown Conway, will be made available for purchase, with part of the proceeds going to the Lantern Theater.
The van Gogh inspired art are the creations of artists Gene Hatfield, Gary Scroggs, Maryann Schigur and Cecillia Sloat; Each in a distinctive way has captured the vigor of Van Gogh as they have envisioned it.
The production of “Vincent” scheduled for Sept. 7, 8, 14, 15 at 7:30 p.m. and September 16 at 2:30 p.m. will find its engrossment through the projection of images. Tom McLeod’s one-man performance presents the story of the famed artist in a touching and emotional manner.
The story of the famous painter is accompanied by more than 125 images projected on a screen onstage. They help in telling the story by showing the progression of his work and in helping to accentuate the major players and events of Vincent’s life.
“Vincent” has touched the animas of local artists who, like Hatfield, is inclined to say “I continue to create, with the help of God, messages and icons which feed our souls — or how else can we explain our galleries, museums and art objects/performances?”
Artists have more highly tuned senses than most people and this explains how artists express themselves with the help of their muses — spirits guiding them, helping them, Hatfield says.
Sloat enjoys various subjects in her art but the greatest enjoyment is figure painting. She began dabbling in oils after moving to Conway in the early 70s. After raising her family and retiring from the Conway School District, she enjoys various subjects in her art but the greatest enjoyment is from figure painting. Her studio is located in her home in Conway.
Scroggs’ passion for the Impressionist and Expressionist Movements is noted in his vibrant and colorful paintings. He is a prolific painter who has mastered colors with precise and almost sublime artistry. He suggests that he creates paintings of an expressionistic nature. Many times they represent landscapes with flowing and vibrant colors. His art is said to reflect glimpses of humanistic interpersonal relationships with nature.
In addition to teaching private watercolor lessons at her studio, Schigur holds watercolor classes at the University of Central Arkansas. She has won awards for her watercolor paintings from several prestigious museums and art associations. She says there is “much beauty in the nature world and in all of life, if we just stand still and open our eyes as it unfolds each day.”
The play “Vincent” is he creation of actor Leonard Nimoy. It takes place in a lecture hall in Paris. The time is July 1890, one week after the death of van Gogh. The character in the play is Theo van Gogh, Vincent’s brother who loved him dearly and supported him financially throughout his short life.
“Vincent” was chosen for presentation by Tom McLeod who is the executive director of the Conway Community Arts Association. He was captivated by the story that shows the life of the artist, as told by his brother Theo, as more than just someone who paints (or just a guy who cut off his ear). The play tells of his inner emotions and who he was as a person. It is the story, McLeod says, that depicts the family of an artist/genius by allowing us to see not only the love and support of the family but also the struggles a family may go through in dealing with one who may be “different”.
McLeod’s theatrical skills are fairly recent, developing as they have from study at the University of Central Arkansas. Before then he enjoyed a varied life, first working in reforestation and ultimately — after raising a family in Searcy County — enrolling at UCA, and winning a degree in education. He is now an instructor of remedial and technical mathematics at a community college.
“While at UCA, I was exposed to theater for the first time in my life,” he asserts “I auditioned for a show, got the part and I haven’t looked back since.”
To say he is enamored with theater is putting it mildly. He has been a board member of CCAA, a stage manager, has designed and built sets, helped with lighting and sound and rounding up props, etc.
“I have not yet directed a show.” It won’t be long.