Ken Stout (b. 1946) | Intermission, 1994 | Oil on canvas | 9 feet x 50 feet


Prior to its opening, Walton Arts Center initiated the Integrated Arts Project to architecturally link the work of artists and crafts people from the four-state area into the design of the arts center. A national jury selected Intermission, a 9’ x 50’ mural by artist and University of Arkansas professor Ken Stout, from 340 submitted entries to be incorporated as a permanent feature into the building.

The mural links imagery with structure, depicting the initial moment of intermission at a theater. Stout describes the piece as “a cross-section of the entire experience of that time of transition for both the stage and audience, the actors and reactors…from backstage through the curtain, into the audience, up the aisle and out into the lobby itself. The actor’s bow from the slit of the closing curtain acts as a trigger setting into motion the entire work; from the audience to the stage crew as they turn toward their respective ‘theaters’ of intermission.”

Using individuals mostly from Northwest Arkansas, Stout painted the mural with live models posing in front of the canvas. A model was not used for the central figure, the performer who bows at center stage. His lack of identity expresses that the real actors at intermission are the members of the audience. Small mini-dramas take place between members of the audience, the performers and backstage workers, expressing the excitement, motion and energy of the moment’s arrival. Children play with toys, audience members clap and talk amongst themselves, people walk about and a prankster shoots a pea from the balcony seats. Many isolated actions meld into a composition that represents one moment in time: Intermission.

Ken Stout is a professor of Art at the University of Arkansas. The mural can be viewed one-hour before performances presented in Baum Walker Hall or by appointment. Three business days’ notice requested, please call 479.571.2766.


Stout worked with more than 50 people living in Northwest Arkansas who served as models. Through a series of sketches, smaller paintings and a maquette of the entire composition, the artist developed his ideas for each painted figure and the overall composition. He created the final painting with the models posing in front of the canvas. In some cases multiple models were used to achieve a single figure in the final painting. In contrast, some models were used to develop more than one of the painted figures. The principal model for each figure is identified here; for figures that required multiple models, only the name of the last model is listed.

Intermission models

1. Jon Stout, the artist’s oldest brother
2. Elizabeth Ruelas, U of A Theater student
3. Frank Sharp, one of the founders of the WAC
4. Juanita Dunn, clay and fiber artist, founder of the Integrated Arts Project
5. Bill Mitchell, first President of WAC (1987-97)
6. Peter Tooker, WAC volunteer since 1993
7. Dave Stout, the artist’s middle brother
8. Ariadna Capasso, U of A BFA art student
9. Dr. Jay McDonald, ophthalmologist
10. Obert Undem, lawyer and President of McIlroy Bank (1974-76)
11. Billie Jo Starr, philanthropist, one of WAC founders, and on Board of WAC Directors
12. Gloria Evans, U of A MFA art student
13. Rico McNeela, U of A Music Professor and first violinist, NWA Symphony Orchestra
14. Frank Scheide, U of A professor and film historian, authority on Charlie Chaplin
15. Bryan Gott, U of A BFA art student and graphic designer
16. John Newman, U of A Art Department Professor, WAC Board of Directors
17. Willie, John Newman’s dog
18. Tom Green, U of A Art Department student
19. John Ward, U of A Art Department student, Terra Studios co-founder
20. Sasha Sumner, U of A art student
21. Frank Scheide, U of A professor and film historian, authority on Charlie Chaplin
22. Louise Rozier, U of A professor of Foreign Languages

23. John Harrison, U of A Director of Libraries
24. Shirley Marc, U of A Office of University Relations
25. Arnold Kaplan, U of A Chair of Department of Biological Sciences
26. Nina Kaplan, psychotherapist
27. Aidan Swain, infant son of Jenni Taylor Swain and David Swain
28. Jenni Taylor Swain, established WAC Education program and WAC 1st Vice President
29. Stephan Zisner, refrigeration repair man
30. Jon Stout, the artist’s oldest brother
31. Louise DeMarco, passionate devotee of the arts
32. Dr. Malcolm Hayward, oncologist and principal donor to NWA Symphony Orchestra
33. Ellen Hayward, principal donor to NWA Symphony Orchestra
34. William Childress, free-lance journalist and writer
35. Jordan Williams, social worker
36. Miller Williams, poet, U of A Press founder and co-founder of U of A Writing Program
37. Tom Green, U of A art student
38. Donna Phipps Stout, painter, wife of the artist
39. Christina Nalty, U of A MFA art student
40. Larry Bickford, carpenter
41. Eden Tomboulian, professional art model, artist
42. Johnny Wilkerson, salon owner and antique dealer
43. Taffy, Johnny Wilkerson’s dog
44. Larry Bickford, carpenter

45. Lisa Sumner, U of A art student
46. Larry Bickford, carpenter
47. Larry Bickford, carpenter
48. Larry Bickford, carpenter
49. Dr. Dana Copp, physician and U of A art student
50. Dr. Dana Copp, physician and U of A art student
51. John Porter, long-time green grocer, neighbor of the artist in bldg. at Spring and West
52. Anita Huffington, sculptor
53. Hank Sutter, writer
54. the artist’s cats, Orange and Bobbette
55. Ken Stout, artist, painting professor U of A Art Department


I approach the painting surface as if it were a stage. The plot defines the actors and the setting, although at times the actors seize the stage and write the script. Each picture presents a heightened moment, when an action is poignant although a bit puzzling, precarious yet enigmatic. These paintings are not executions of ideas; they are searches for form and meaning through the act of painting.”
- Ken Stout