Bella Vista Arts Council recognizes area artists

The Bella Vista Arts Council is pleased to honor three artists for the fall 2023 Artist Spotlight program: Digital artist Alan Simmons, painter Kathleen Siegfried, and photographer and digital artist Mickey Arlow.

The group will be recognized in a ceremony with Bella Vista Mayor John Flynn at a public reception at 5 p.m. Thursday, September 21 at Bella Vista Bar and Grill, 98 Clubhouse Dr. in Bella Vista.

The former Artist of the Month program became a quarterly program at the beginning of 2023, featuring three artists at each event, and is now called the Artist Spotlight.


Alan Simmons has loved making art since he was a kid. It calmed and quieted his racing mind. But when others criticized his drawings, he stopped creating them. Fast forward 40 years to 2019, when Alan caught himself doodling during a meeting at work. It made him remember how much he once loved drawing. He soon discovered digital art and fell in love. When the pandemic began, he bought an iPad, Apple Pencil, and Procreate, a digital illustration app. He’s been creating art nearly every day since. And it still calms and quiets his racing mind.

“My work ranges from abstract to precisionism, with a few stops in between,” Simmons said. “You could say I like the art, not the label. I’m fortunate to be a member of two local galleries and participate in shows and events. We have an amazing community of artists here in northwest Arkansas.”

Kathleen Siegfried spent more than 30 years as an English teacher and administrator in Ohio and New Jersey, Kathleen Siegfried, during which she encouraged her students to discover connections between the expressive powers of art and literature. A huge print of Marc Chagall’s Half Past Three (The Poet) was a focal point in her classroom and later in workshops for English/language arts teachers.


 Georgia O’Keeffe’s Music—Pink and Blue was another frequently used resource for creative writing. Midway through her life and career, she could no longer resist the urge to pick up a brush. Encouraged by several artist/teachers, she developed competence with watercolor.

When she retired and moved to Northwest Arkansas 11 years ago, she was excited to find a vibrant arts community that has motivated her ongoing growth. Painting primarily in acrylic now, she is a member of ANA (Artists of Northwest Arkansas), where she serves on the Board of Directors and is a Gallery Artist at the ANA Gallery in Rogers. Her painting Primitive Rhythm was selected for Walton Art Center’s 2023 Our Show and will be on display through October 29 in the Joy Pratt Markham Gallery inside the Walton Arts Center.

Especially drawn to abstract art and the challenges of abstraction, her acrylic/mixed media paintings are typically layered with decorative papers that become part of the textural underpinning of the work. Full details are left to the viewer’s imagination. All paintings are multi-layered and gloss-finished for a photographic effect.

Mickey Arlow, a talented pet photographer and digital artist, has a passion for capturing the unique bond between people and their beloved pets. Armed with a camera and a deep appreciation for the beauty of animals, Arlow has been bringing joy to pet owners through stunning pet portraits since 2006. What began as a journey to master the art of photography for personal reasons quickly transformed into a lifelong passion. Originally picking up the camera to capture cherished moments of grandchildren who lived far away, Arlow soon found herself drawn to the captivating world of animal photography. Starting with her own furry companions, she began refining her photography skills by capturing the unique personalities and expressions of her dogs.


As word spread about the captivating pet portraits Arlow was creating, friends and acquaintances began requesting her talents to immortalize the bonds they shared with their pets. It wasn't long before the demand grew, leading Arlow to establish, a digital haven where pet owners could witness their furry friends transformed into timeless works of art.

When not behind the camera, Arlow can often be found enjoying quality time with her own furry companions, drawing inspiration from their antics and personalities. A storyteller through images, she invites you to join her in celebrating the magic of the animal kingdom through her lens.

Each artist will have examples of their work for a talk about their process and experiences in developing their unique style of craftsmanship. Join us to celebrate three of Bella Vista’s many creative talents.

The Bella Vista Arts Council, an advisory board to the City Council, was created by the City Council in February 2016 to help promote the arts in Bella Vista. Board members are Demara Titzer (president), JB Portillo and Gina Porter. The board established an Artist of the Month program in 2018, in which selected artists and their work were showcased and recognized monthly for their achievements. That program has become a quarterly recognition called Artist Spotlight, and three separate artists are featured each quarter.

A committee will choose each quarter from qualified artists, who must be residents of Bella Vista. Events will be held in a location around the city. Submit nominations via email to