Ron Derge opened the Norberta Philbrook Gallery with his wife in downtown Bentonville last summer.
"This is very much a local gallery," Derge says. "We have 22 or 23 artists, all but one of them is from Northwest Arkansas."
The gallery space is in the front, but the store also sells art supplies.
"It feels really good to me to have both," Derge says. "One buoys up the other as necessary."
Derge says business isn't too bad.
"This is february, so they're not beating down the doors yet," he says. "It's fine, and getting better."
With the addition of 21c Museum Hotel earlier this week, downtown gallery owners expect to see a surge in customers.
"They have 104 rooms there," Derge says. "People will come, stay in downtown Bentonville, go to the museum, and they'll look for something else to do, and I hope it involves coming to see us as well."
"I truly believe 21c and Crystal Bridges has brought Bentonville on the map as far as artists in the country are looking to be here," says Thomas Merritt, who owns Studio 124. "It's bringing the art to a whole other level here in the area."
Merritt says the art on display 24 hours a day 7 days a week at the hotel also offers inspiration for locals hoping to join the art scene.
"The work is magnificent," he says. "My gallery focuses mostly on local artists, but I also like to see what the big guys are doing."
"It's kind of edgier than Crystal Bridges, but no less accessible," Derge adds. "It's wonderful art, wonderfully presented."
"21c are becoming a destination by themselves," says the Bentonville Hotel's general manager Emanuel Gardinier. "The great thing is our guests are coming from any walks of life."
Daniel Hintz, executive director of Downtown Bentonville, Inc. says 21c is perfectly placed to help Bentonville's art scene expand.
"It's a seamless fit into downtown and it's great to have them," he says. "What makes Bentonville authentic now are its people. They're involved, they're engaged and they care, so my hope is that continues as more and more people come into Bentonville, that they become part of the team."
"We want to be part of the downtown Bentonville experience," Gardinier says. "We want to be part of that fabric."
Downtown developers are also working on events to infuse local art into the city's culture. Hintz is planning an art and culinary festival for the month of June.
"It used to be an afternoon, now it's an entire month-long festival with art and culinary and theater and film," he says. "Trying to bring new opportunities for artists to not just show, but also to sell, to promote as well is a lot of our strategy."
An artist's market will start popping up on the square's sidewalks once a week too...
"Art in and of itself is great to experience, but artists need to make a living if they're going to be here and be active participants in growing the Bentonville art scene," he says. "It's just really exciting and I think it's only just begun."
Artists interested in participating in the upcoming events can apply here.