Fort Smith museum turns into art gallery this Christmas

Inside the Northern Life Museum and Cultural Centre
Inside the Northern Life Museum and Cultural Centre. Photo: NLMCC

Fort Smith’s Northern Life Museum and Cultural Centre is stepping up to help local artists this holiday season. For the first time, the museum will not only display art but also sell it.

A community art show opens at the museum on December 11 with artists’ work from around the region, said museum manager Rohma Nawaz.

“It’s a little bit of both: facilitating exposure for these artists and letting people in the community know that we have these great artists from the area … but also helping sales during Covid times, because we will be able to put individuals in touch with the artists and facilitate sales,” she said.

“The other thing we’re doing, and I’m really excited about this, is we’re offering a pop-up shop option at the museum because we are a facility that is able to remain open.



“We want to essentially offer up our space in the front part of the museum to artists for whom it may be difficult to facilitate sales during Covid.”

Artists will drop off their work at the museum, then staff will place it on display and sell it.

“This is a way for them to not have to worry about anything, they just drop their stuff off with us,” explained Nawaz. Artists are welcome to spend time at their booth and chat with customers.

Each artist will have about a week to showcase their work. Watch the museum’s Facebook page to find out which artists are featured each week.



The pop-up shop, adjacent to the gift shop, will run from November 30 until December 24.

Space in the community art show is full but the museum still has spaces left for the pop-up shop. Artists can get in touch to reserve a week.

“We’re really trying to make the museum as happening as we can during this Covid Christmas,” said Nawaz.

“We want to encourage anyone that’s reading or listening to shop local this Christmas season. There are a lot of artists who rely on their seasonal sales and this year has been an odd one, for many reasons.”