Barbara A. Sloan


"I would not have advanced so rapidly in my art career if not for the valuable lessons I learned at an early age from my father." Barbara A. Sloan

In April of 1968, the Sisters of Mercy at St. Joseph's Hospital gave a budding Hot Springs artist her first commission. The artworks created at her mother's kitchen table for the convent on Whittington Avenue eventually went on to the religious order's regional center in St. Louis and were shown at special events throughout its 8-state province.

Not bad for a 14-year-old girl from Arkansas.

Other commissions for Barbara A. Sloan soon followed. With her duties as editor of Central Junior High's school newspaper ending, she had more time to devote to her artwork in portraiture, illustrations, and craft items such as hand-painted T-shirts. She entered her first art competition at age 15 with a large pencil drawing of a beautiful black horse. Although she merely looked at a tiny photograph of the rearing stallion in the encyclopedia for reference, her entry was disqualified when the contest jurors wrongly accused her of "tracing". She then vowed not to enter any more art contests.

Barbara's formal art training began when she enrolled in an art class during her senior year at Hot Springs High School. In college in Texas, she majored in art and received academic training in portrait sculpture and metal casting. Her sculpture professor allowed her to assist on his commercial projects and also teach his other students. She also developed a new alloy and technique for her own cast metal work which would further her career, particularly in national competitions many years later.

Working on her second bachelor's degree, her printmaking teacher at Arkansas State University suggested that she enter a competition of all college art students in Arkansas. Reluctantly, she entered; surprisingly, she won. That same professor also recognized her interest in the business aspects of art, and he encouraged her in that direction as well.

Barbara moved back to the Spa City in 1978, becoming an art instructor and exhibiting member of the Southern Artists Association. This art group was then renting gallery and classroom space at the Fine Arts Center of Hot Springs on Whittington Avenue. It was a time of excitement and encouragement for the local arts scene. She was hired to head FAC's new visual arts division immediately after winning the Arkansas Governor's Award during Bill Clinton's first year as chief executive of the state.

With the national economic downturn of 1981 came the same for local arts nationwide. Barbara left Arkansas for Arizona in 1982 - but only after being accepted into her first national show, teaching at the local college, curating over fifty exhibits, and winning more and more awards. Moving West, she went to work at a fine art bronze foundry where she met artists of national and international repute - only to come back to Hot Springs in 1984.

Again, Barbara found a new career at her mother's kitchen table. Three top local artists asked her if she would sell their paintings for them, and therefore Ana's Kitchen Art Services was born. AKAS became a recognized art school and contemporary gallery, representing artists from NY to AZ whose works were featured in numerous state and national publications. This notoriety led to her service on the Arkanasas Artist's Registry inaugural advisory board and the Arkansas Arts Council's grant review panel.

A turn of events meant a return to Arizona in 1986. Once again in the desert, Barbara could focus on her own artmaking. For the next 12 years, this meant more national shows, more acceptance into museum collections, and more sales in places like Scottsdale and Sedona.

Today Barbara again resides in Hot Springs. The chief trustee of the Hanor-Westfall Memorial Fund for Artists, she holds a doctorate in tax law and has artworks in many permanent collections, including the Arkansas Arts Center.

And her career as a writer? Well now, that's whole other story!

Revised 05.17.16. Copyright 2008-2016 B. Sloan. All Rights Reserved

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Barbara A. Sloan - Arts Administrator, Educator, Advocate

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