News & History

Arkadelphia Arts Center exhibit to feature Arkansas-born desert landscape artist

Desert Candles of Our Lord — Yukkas (1938) | E.A. Smith

The Arkadelphia Arts Center is gearing up for a new exhibit featuring the artwork of Effie Anderson Smith, an impressionist painter of desert landscapes and the Grand Canyon

Effie Anderson Smith (1869-1955) was an Arkansas-born, early Arizona Impressionist painter of desert landscapes and the Grand Canyon. 

She was born near Nashville, Arkansas, in 1869 and grew up in the newly established city of Hope beginning in 1874. It was in Hope that Effie discovered her love of drawing and painting – passions that would later change her life. 

After several personal and family tragedies, the artist left Arkansas for a new life in the Arizona Territory at age 25, where – as a pioneer settler – she taught school, married, raised a family, became active in civic and social affairs, and established her own unique style of Impressionist desert landscape painting that brought her national renown and caused newspapers to refer to her late in life as The Dean of Arizona Women Artists. 

At her zenith, E.A. Smith’s desert art was sought after by politicians and European nobility, and her paintings were exhibited from New York to California. Scholars list Effie as the first resident woman artist active in Arizona beginning in 1895, and the first to devote her shows entirely to desert art beginning with her Tucson, Phoenix and El Paso exhibits in the 1920s. 

In honor of Effie Anderson Smith’s 150th Birthday Anniversary in 2019, E.A. Smith Archive Curator Steven Carlson planned an exhibit tour in early 2020 to the four Arkansas towns that were home to Effie early in life – but it had to be postponed due to pandemic conditions. Now, these four delayed exhibits are re-scheduled for September 15 through October 5, 2023.

Curator Carlson, a great-grand nephew of the artist, said, “We are delighted to finally be able to bring Effie’s art back home to the Arkansas towns where she was born, grew up, painted her first canvases, taught school and married before leaving for the West as a 25-year-old widow.” 

The E.A. Smith Archive and exhibit venues in Nashville, Hope, Arkadelphia, and Washington are pleased to bring Effie Anderson Smith’s art to Arkansas – for the very first time ever! 

Read more about Effie’s inspiring life story – online – at the Encyclopedia of  

Effie’s 2023 Arkansas Exhibit Tour is supported by private individuals across the country, with additional support from the Douglas Historical Society, Douglas, Arizona – the Clark County Arts & Humanities Council, Arkadelphia, Arkansas – the Southwest Arkansas Regional Archive (SARA) Foundation, Washington, Arkansas – and the Arkansas State Archives. 

The Effie Anderson Smith 2023 Arkansas Exhibit Tour schedule is as follows:

NASHVILLE: Friday, Saturday & Sunday – September 15 to September 17. Elberta Art Center – Friday & Saturday 2-5p / Sunday 2-4p. Daily Talk about Effie at 3:15p. 

ARKADELPHIA: Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays – September 19 to October 5. Arkadelphia Arts Center – Tuesday 4-7p / Wednesday & Thursday 10a-3p. Reception & Curator’s Remarks – Tuesday, September 19 at 5:00p / In Depth Talk on Effie’s Inspiring Life Story and her Artistic Evolution – Tuesday, September 26 at 6:00pm. 

Historic WASHINGTON State Park: Friday, Saturday & Sunday – September 22 to September 24. Park Visitor’s Center (1874 Courthouse) – Daily 8a-5p. Reception and Talk on Effie’s Life and Art – Saturday, September 23 at 1:30pm as part of the Artists of Washington exhibit. 

HOPE: Friday, Saturday & Sunday – September 29, 30 and October 1. Southwest Arkansas Arts Council Gallery – Friday 1-6p / Saturday 10a-2p / Sunday 1-5p. 

FOR MORE INFORMATION on EFFIE’s ARKANSAS EXHIBIT TOUR please visit our website at – or – contact your local participating Southwest Arkansas art gallery and history museum venue. 

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