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Mayor Taps The Junior League of Fort Smith 
and Local Artists to Welcome Visiting United Nation’s Ambassador

Event: June 17, 2021

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On Thursday June 17, Mayor George McGill, with the help of the trained volunteers of the Junior League of Fort Smith and local artists, welcomed visiting United Nations Ambassador of Art Ibiyinka Alao to the Fort Smith area.  After a day of touring the Unexpected Project and local art galleries, Ambassador Alao was welcomed with open arms for a fine dining experience at Marble Hall, which is the oldest building on Garrison Avenue and serves as the headquarters for the Junior League of Fort Smith.

The Mayor envisioned an elegant and warm welcome that reflected the amazing people of this area.  And Mayor McGill entrusted the Junior League of Fort Smith to create this vision and execute.  The League members (all of whom live in the River Valley area of Arkansas and Oklahoma) embraced the Mayor’s entrustment and immediately set forth to putting their skills and experience to work.

In preparation for the Ambassador’s arrival, Junior League members reached out to local artists, especially local visual artist Jeffry Cantu who created a special immersive visual art piece specifically for this wonderful event.  The League women, together with the artists, transformed the 162-year old Marble Hall’s rock-wall lined edifice into a living, breathing Fort Smithian welcome for the Ambassador.   

The local artists (many of whom were able to attend the Ambassador’s dinner as guests of the Mayor) who graciously lent their works and/or talents for the evening include: Dale Augustson, Darice Augustson, Kaley Jo Beck, Mireille Belinga, Kelda Buehring-Boydston, Jonathan Burchett, Jeffry Cantu, Kristi Coburn, Dena Creamer, Kenny Henson, Dawn Lensing, Kiaya Luper, Jill Moody-Ledbetter, Chris Releford, and Melody Smith. 

Artistic members of the Junior League also lent their talents to the decor.  These include fashion designer and seamstress Felicia Norwood, floral designer Carrie Taliaferro, and gift-basket designer Trish Puckett.

“The women of the Junior League were honored that our Mayor, whom we love, gave us this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  These women and our local artists collaborated in such a magical way to show just how amazing our area is!  By the wide grin on the Ambassador’s face and the personal time he spent with everyone, I think the League and the artists made the Mayor and Fort Smith proud,” said Christina Scherrey, President of the Junior League of Fort Smith.

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The 18-foot-wide by 5-foot-high "Fireflies" painting by Ibiyinka Alao on display in Marble Hall for this special event.

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League members pictured with Mayor George McGill, Ambassador Ibiyinka Alao, and Executive Director of the Fort Smith International Film Festival Brandon Goldsmith. 
 

Front Row L-R: Amy Adams, Trish Puckett, Anna Kleck, Alexis Brown, Ashley Wisdom, Katie Neubauer, Devan Engster, Christina Scherrey, Sara Webb


Back Row L-R: Kayla Anthony, Laura Pearce, Carrie Taliaferro, Mayor George McGill, Ambassador Ibiyinka Alao, Brandon Goldsmith, Morgan Stewart, Claire Person, Maggie Henson

 

(Not pictured: Felicia Norwood)

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Ibiyinka Alao, United Nations Ambassador of Art  (http://www.ibiyinka.com)

 
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Visual artist Jeffry Cantu with United Nations Ambassador of Art Ibiyinka Alao as Ambassador Alao "experiences" Cantu's immersive visual art piece at Marble Hall, the headquarters of the Junior League of Fort Smith.

 
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Local Artists Who Contributed Works
and/or Talents to the Event

(Alphabetical Order)

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Dale Augustson

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Kaley Jo Beck.jpg
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Greenwood, Arkansas

Painter

Darice Augustson

Fort Smith, Arkansas

Harpist

Kaley Jo Beck

Greenwood, Arkansas

Photographer

Mireille Belinga.jpg

Mireille Belinga

Fort Smith, Arkansas

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Kelda Boydston.jpg
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Jonathan Burchett.jpg
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Jewelry & Fashion Designer

Kelda Boydston

Greenwood, Arkansas

Painter

Jonathan Burchett

Fort Smith, Arkansas

Painter

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Jeffry Cantu

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Kristi Coburn.jpg
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Dena Creamer.jpg
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Fort Smith, Arkansas

Painter & Visual Artist

Kristi Coburn

Fort Smith, Arkansas

Quilt Designer

Dena Creamer

Clarksville, Arkansas

Photographer

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Kenny Henson

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Dawn Lensing.jpg
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Kiaya Luper.jpg
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Proctor, Oklahoma

Painter

Dawn Lensing

Kiaya Luper

Fort Smith, Arkansas

Fort Smith, Arkansas

Painter

Painter

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Jill Moody-Ledbetter

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Felicia Norwood.jpg

Junior League of Fort Smith

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Trish Puckett.jpg
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Felicia Norwood

Trish Puckett

Fort Smith, Arkansas

Fort Smith, Arkansas

Fort Smith, Arkansas

Painter

Fashion Designer

Gift Basket Designer

Junior League of Fort Smith

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Chris Releford

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Melody Smith.jpg
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Carrie Taliaferro.jpg
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Melody Smith

Carrie Taliaferro

Junior League of Fort Smith

Greenwood, Arkansas

Fort Smith, Arkansas

Fort Smith, Arkansas

Painter

Painter

Floral Designer

 
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Additional Event Pictures

All of the below photographs were captured by and are property of local realtor and professional photographer Amy Adams, who owns Adams Photography and is also a Junior League of Fort Smith member.

 

Ms. Adams kindly donated her time and talents to memorialize this event. 

 

If you would like to obtain a copy of these images, release for these images, and/or use these images, please reach out to Adams Photography on Facebook or via email at adamsphotography@outlook.com regarding your request.

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Junior League of Fort Smith

Amy Adams

Fort Smith, Arkansas

Photographer

Click on Image for Larger Version

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