Imagining a River: The Buffalo River in Art, Photography and Film


Photo submitted

Thomas Hart Benton, “Fisherman’s Camp, Buffalo River”

The ongoing Buffalo National River Celebration will travel to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art for a full program on Saturday August 6th.

From 11 a.m. to noon, a conversation with experts will explore the ways in which artists have understood, represented and defended the river. Speakers will include:

  • Steve Sitton, Historic Site Supervisor of the TH Benton Home State Historic Site in Kansas City, Missouri, will feature Benton’s relationship with the Ozarks and Buffaloes, including a 15-minute screening of the film A man and a river. The film, produced by the Environmental Protection Agency, explores Benton’s love for the Buffalo and its effect on his works.

  • Angie Albright, Director of Shiloh Museum of Ozark History, will talk about how photography was used in the defense of the river. The museum is currently hosting an exhibition of photographs by Ken Smith, primarily using photographs taken during his exploration of the Buffalo in 1965. The exhibition brings a different perspective on the relationship of artist and landscape mediated through another art form.

Immediately following the panel, the Crystal Bridges team hosted a screening of First River: How Arkansas saved a national treasure. The film, created by the Ozark Societyis a history of the river and its preservation from the 1960s to the present day with particular emphasis on the conservation efforts of the Ozark Society.


The panel and screening will be free and open to the public, but you must reserve your free seat online or with Crystal Bridges Guest Services at (479) 657-2335 or via link to the museum ticket office.

This panel is part of The digital buffalo project, which was sponsored by the U of A Chancellor’s Fund and is under the direction of the U of A Humanities Center and University Libraries. News about upcoming events, as well as videos of past events and a library of digital materials in development, are available on the project website.


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