And the Winners Are…

Many of the artists in the 5th Annual 2017 Illinois River Salon came to the Opening Reception and Awards Ceremony at Fayetteville Underground last night. Together we celebrated the beautiful artwork, enjoyed the hors d’oeuvres and drinks, and heard results of the judging. Jeff Legg, our judge, was also in attendance.

Congratulations to everyone on the thoughtful paintings and drawings, and especially to the winners. Without further adieu, here are the winning pieces:

The top three prizes were as follows: $2,500 Best of Show went to Lawrence McElroy for “Prairie Grove Sunrise”, $1,500 2nd Place went to Larry DeGraff for “Entangled”, and $1,000 3rd Place went to Jason Sacran for “The Grand View”.


Best of Show –  “Prairie Grove Sunrise” by Lawrence McElroy


2nd Place – “Entangled” by Larry DeGraff


3rd Place – “The Grand View” by Jason Sacran

Honorable Mentions (cash prize of $500) went to Donna Jackson for “Illinois Watershed Center Pond”, Willis Miller for “Ready to Go”, Nancy Harkins for “Touch of Gold”, and Thia Schuler for “Benton County Barn”.


Honorable Mention – “Illinois Watershed Center Pond” by Donna Jackson


Honorable Mention – “Ready to Go” by Willis Miller


Honorable Mention – “A Touch of Gold” by Nancy Harkins


Honorable Mention – “Benton County Barn” by Thia Schuler

Also, merchandise awards from our sponsors went to: Kathryn Fisher for “Twilight on Sage Creek”, Julie Gowing Hayes for “Spring Fed”, Bob Snider for “Illinois River Bridge”, Pat Meyer for “Osage Flower Garden”, Virginia Grass Simmons for “At the Curve”, Charles Peer for “Oh Lovely Guardians”, Margie Moss for “Remembering a Day with Chihuly”, and Duane Hada for “Evening Float”.

Thank you again to all of the participants. We already look forward to what 2018 brings.

Again, thank you to our many sponsors, but especially the Illinois River Watershed Partnership and the Windgate Foundation.


2017 Illinois River Salon is Open!

The 5th Annual Illinois River Salon is now open. You can go visit the show at Fayetteville Underground Gallery. Check their website for gallery hours.

This show is a celebration of the beauty of the Illinois River watershed (of NW Arkansas and NE Oklahoma) through 2-dimensional painting and drawing. All works are inspired by the explorations of each of the 44 artists in the watershed region.

Also, please consider joining us for the Awards Reception at Fayetteville Underground Gallery, 101 W. Mountain St., Fayetteville, Arkansas, November 16th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.. The judge of awards this year is master artist, Jeff Legg, of Rogers, Arkansas.

Heart of America Artists Association would like to thank the Illinois River Watershed Partnership and the Windgate Foundation for supporting the show the past 5 years.

Thank you also to our President, Julie Hayes for the extra work she’s taken on this year, and to Becky Christensen who helped hang the show.

An Invitation to 2017 Illinois River Salon

Please consider joining us for the 5th Annual Illinois River Salon Exhibit and Awards Reception at Fayetteville Underground Gallery, 101 W. Mountain St., Fayetteville, Arkansas, November 16th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. All artwork will be exhibited from November 2nd-24th at the same location. The show features over 60 juried paintings by 44 artists. See you there!

2017 Call to Artists


The new call is up on Online Juried shows! Deadline for entry is September 27th, 2017. Click here to view the prospectus or enter.

2016 Call to Artists


Michele Wells of Saint Louis, Best of Show winner of the 2015 event.

We are excited to once again be able to bring you the Illinois River Salon. The call for the 2016 event has been posted. Click here to see the prospectus and rules for entry. Please note that this year we will not have a separate membership application.

Looking forward to seeing all the great entries. Thank you for helping us promote the beauty of Northwest Arkansas and Northeast Oklahoma.

Eureka Springs Plein Air Festival

There’s a new plein air festival in Arkansas, you may have seen advertised in Plein Air Magazine. It’s called Eureka Springs Plein Air Festival. Several HOAAA members that are planning to go, and we hope even more can make it. It starts on May 22nd. Click here to read more and register.

Julie Hayes Named Executive Coordinator


We are excited to announce that Julie Hayes will become a part of the administration of Heart of America Artists’ Association. Julie is a natural fit with our organization, and she will add be able to help us take the mission of HOAAA much further.

She’s also an excellent artist, which makes her an even better partner. You might remember she was one of the winners of the 2015 Illinois River Salon. You can see her work at

Thanks Julie. We look forward to having you on board as we strive to elevate the arts here in the heart of America.