Who is Peg?
That’s one of the first questions people ask about our sculpture, pARTy for Peg. Peg is Peg Newton Smith, a longtime museum friend, volunteer and commissioner. In 1941, she volunteered—in costume—on the museum’s opening day. Thus began her lifelong commitment to Historic Arkansas Museum, then called the Arkansas Territorial Capitol Restoration. Every discussion about Historic Arkansas Museum and Arkansas art will eventually lead to mention of the late Peg Newton Smith. It was her brainchild for the museum to have a separate gallery devoted to contemporary Arkansas artists. She also helped found the Museum Store, filled with Arkansas crafts. We can’t say enough about how Peg helped shape who we are today. She had a sharp memory, a pure love and commitment to history and was a resource for us all as we tried to uncover the interesting minutia hidden within the fabric of Arkansas history. Peg also had a pure love for Arkansas artists and artisans, and she understood that an institution like Historic Arkansas Museum could offer significant support to the artist community in the state. By now, hundreds of contemporary Arkansas artists have exhibited their work at the museum. This is a rich legacy we would not think of abandoning. pARTy for Peg is not a portrait of our dear friend—it is a sculpture inspired by her spirit. And what better way to capture that spirit than to commission an Arkansas artist to create it?