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.
About the models:
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.