Arts and Culture
in the Upper Delta Region
The arts are alive and well in the Upper Delta region of the Middle Mississippi River Valley. The Bradbury Art Museum of Arkansas State University hosts a number of rotating exhibitions as well as the annual Delta National Small Prints Exhibition. An art gallery is operated by the New Madrid Historical Museum in the the Hart-Stepp House. Community theater productions are staged in western Tennessee in the Masquerade Theatre in Union City and the Ruffin Theater in Covington. KASU of Arkansas State University presents its "Bluegrass Monday" concert series at the Collins Theatre in Paragould. The Delta Fair in Kennett, Missouri is the site of annual Photography and Art exhibits.
Bradbury Art Museum
The Bradbury Art Museum features changing exhibitions of contemporary art in all mediums. Regionally, nationally and internationally recognized artists are represented to inform viewers of cultural developments across the US and around the world. The Bradbury Art Museum is also the site of the Delta National Small Prints Exhibition. At the end of each spring and fall semester the gallery also features artwork by graduating seniors from the Arkansas State University Department of Art.
This Art Deco building opened in 1925 as the Capitol Theater and originally hosted vaudeville and other live stage entertainment in addition to movies. The Greene County Fine Arts Council and the Collins Theater Foundation has transformed the facility into a modern community arts center and is now home to the Eastern Arkansas Ballet and used by the community for a wide range of cultural and general entertainment events.
New Madrid, Missouri
Operated by the New Madrid Historical Museum, the Hart-Stepp House Art Gallery is housed in the oldest home in New Madrid. The facility opened as an art gallery in 2010 and features the work the area's most talented artists including photographers, painters, crafters, and artists of all ages with exhibits changing monthly.
Union City, Tennessee
Masquerade Theatre has been producing theatrical productions since the mid-1990s including musicals, comedies, dramas, children's plays, workshops, and concerts. This community theatre group operates out of the historic Capitol Theatre which is on the National Register of Historic places. The group produces 42 performances in six shows a year, beginning with a spring musical. All of their productions cover a range of audience appeal.
The Ruffin Theater is an Art Deco style building originally built in the mid 1920s as the Palace Theater, bringing some of the first motion pictures to western Tennessee. Through the years the Ruffin has undergone several renovations which have modified it to a full-fledged 640 seat theater with a large stage. A myriad of talented local actors, actresses, and theater aficionados work tirelessly to bring theatrical plays to Tipton County and rural western Tennessee.
Fourth Monday night of each month
On the fourth Monday night of each month, KASU of Arkansas State University presents its "Bluegrass Monday" concert series at the Collins Theatre. The concerts feature acclaimed bluegrass musicians from across the country. KASU will "pass the hat," collecting money to pay the musicians. The suggested donation is $5 per person.
Delta National Small Prints Exhibition
Bradbury Art Museum, Jonesboro
Annually in January and February
Founded in 1996, the Delta National Small Prints Exhibition has received great acclaim as it has grown to be one of the country’s foremost annual competitions for prints. Each year a nationally known expert in the field of printmaking is invited to select the works of art for that exhibition, and determine which works will receive awards, including purchase prizes.
Fall Into Arts Festival
Annually in September
The Fall Into Arts Festival is a local arts festival in Downtown Kennett. The festival is put on by the Kennett Alliance for the Arts and supports local arts in the Bootheel area. The event features an art show and sale, a photography competition, musical performances, an art car exhibit, a vintage photography exhibit, street theater, food and refreshments and much more!
Delta Fair Art Show
Annually in September
Artists living within a radius of 100 miles of Kennett compete in one of the largest Art shows in the 3-state area for prizes that features original art work completed within the last two years in the categories of Oils, Acrylics, Pastels, Watercolors, Abstracts, and Mixed Media.
Delta Fair Photography Show
Annually in September
Photographers living within a radius of 100 miles of Kennett compete for prizes in one of the largest Art shows in the 3-state area that features original art work completed within the last two years three years and not previously shown at the Delta Fair in the classes of Grandparents' Brag Shots, Nonprofessional, Youth, and Professional.
Heritage Arts And Crafts Festival
Annually in September
The Heritage Arts and Crafts Festival is a time honored tradition in Covington. This arts and crafts festival and antiques event is a family friendly festival that is held the fourth Saturday of September of each year. The festival includes over 100 vendors and exhibitors along with live entertainment all day, reenactments, games for kids, great food, and much more. The day begins at 9 am with a children's parade on Covington's Historic Square.
Reelfoot Arts & Crafts Festival
Annually in October
The festival stretches for a little more than a mile on Highways 21/22 in Tiptonville with Exhibitors located in the Ellington Assembly Hall, Armory Building and the American Legion building, as well as the outside area surrounding them. Since 1971 Reelfoot Lake has been home to one of the largest arts and crafts festivals in the mid-south and this three day festival in Tiptonville has been voted the best arts and crafts festival in the state by "Tennessee" magazine. Each year nearly 350 exhibitors display their wares. Just some of the items for sale include handmade willow furniture, pottery, Native American crafts, candles, ceramics, flower arrangements, metal works, clothing, various wood crafts and a large selection of handmade jewelry. There is also plenty of great southern foods available from local churches and vendors. Be warned that lodging is at a premium so it is best to make reservations early. Accompanying the Festival is 60 miles of yard sales from Union City to Dyersburg.