The Fort Smith Regional Art Museum

About RAM


RAM originated in 1948 under the Arkansas Association of University Women. In 1951 the Associated Artists of Fort Smith began exhibiting art and holding classes in various locations throughout Fort Smith. In 1960 space for an art center was purchased, and in 1968 the Fort Smith Art Center was incorporated. The small Art Center offered a valuable service for local and regional artists by offering space for its artists for five decades.

The opening of the new museum located at 1601 Rogers Avenue near the heart of Fort Smith marked a major turning point for this organization. Arvest Bank made the expansion possible by donating the 16,000 square-foot building to the Art Center in January of 2009, following a $211 million dollar buyout of Superior Federal Bank in 2003. The Art Center was fully re-branded and opened in January of 2013 as the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum that is fully compliant with the standards of the American Alliance of Museums.

RAM won the prestigious Preservation through Rehabilitation Award from the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas (2013), the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Gulf State Region Merit Award (2014), and the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Gold Award. The nationally recognized architects of the newly renovated museum, Polk, Stanley Wilcox, are known for their work such as the William J. Clinton Presidential Library, Heifer International World Headquarters, and the Arkansas Studies Institute (ASI) of Little Rock. The building that houses RAM, the old Superior Federal Savings and Loan Bank building at 1601Rogers Avenue, was listed on the Arkansas Register of Historic Places, with local significance, as an example of a Mid-Century Modern design by the Fort Smith architecture firm of Mott, Mobley, Horstman and Staton.

RAM facilitates nationally and internationally recognized traveling exhibitions and rotating exhibits of works by local and regional artists. In addition to ongoing exhibitions the museum offers classes for children and adults, lectures, opening receptions, children’s art camps, galas, free Saturday programming, after school programs and artist-led workshops. The museum offers facility rentals and a specialty gift shop featuring one-of-a-kind items created by local and regional artists.

The new state-of-the-art Museum meets national standards and has greatly contributed to cultural growth in the region.

RAM at Night

Mission Statement

To foster art appreciation in the community through diverse exhibitions, educational programming, dynamic events, and cultural partnerships.



Message from the Founding Executive Director

Welcome to RAM, Fort Smith’s first art museum that is located near the heart of downtown. The museum serves as Fort Smith’s only source for traveling exhibitions showcasing world-renowned artists as well as emerging artists. RAM serves as the primary platform for our creative community and offers free weekly programming and intensive workshops for artists of all levels. In addition, the museum offers free after-school programming and works in tandem with the public and private schools in Fort Smith to further enhance arts education.

Our centrally located, 16,000 square foot state of-the-art facility provides residents with a unique and valuable arena for cultural expansion through diverse experiences that promote imagination, innovation, and discussion for people of all ages, cultural backgrounds, and every walk of life. We are an all-inclusive institution, offering excellent programming and exhibitions alive with diversity and the ability to surprise, delight, and engage the visitor in a meaningful way.

I invite you to support RAM by becoming a member, volunteering, involving your business, sponsoring exhibitions, and partnering with the museum for programs and our unique special events. Your commitment will ensure the museum’s sustainability in the community and its ability to thrive as a permanent fixture for Fort Smith’s cultural landscape and the region.

Looking forward to seeing you at the museum.

Lee Ortega
Founding Executive Director
Fort Smith Regional Art Museum

Board of Trustees

Sara Goodwin
Deanie Mehl
Vice President
Marcie Salamone
Janie Evitts
 Mona Eads Lawson Hembree  Alice Honea


Installation Details: Patrick Angus: Paintings and Works on Paper

Installation Details: 2015 Annual RAM Invitational

Installation Details: Selections from the Permanent Collection

Installation Details: Dawn Holder: Several Collections of Commemorative Plates

Installation Details: The Orlanda Series: Photographs by Anne Reichardt

Installation Details: VIVID: Works by Liz Whitney Quisgard

Recent Work of James Volkert
Installation Details: Recent Work of James Volkert

Sandra Ramos
Installation Details: Bridging the Past, Present and Future: Recent Works by Sandra Ramos

Installation Details: The Secrets of Mona Lisa