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Southwest Missouri is home to numerous natural resources. Easy access to beautiful parks, trails, and waterways is an important draw for tourists and residents alike. But it may come as a surprise that the Ozarks, and the Current and Buffalo Rivers, in particular, were at the forefront of the national effort to protect this countrys natural rivers.
The beauty of Ozark rivers attracted enough advocates to stop the building of a dam along the Current River in 1949 and to create Americas first explicitly protected river corridor in 1964, with the development of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, managed by the National Park Service. One of these staunch advocates was none other than Missouri artist Thomas Hart Benton who voiced his support towards protecting his favorite rivers the Current, the Buffalo, and the White; sites that he floated regularly and that were featured extensively in his work.
Ozark rivers continue to serve as inspiration and respite for our community and our artists. This exhibition, pulled entirely from the Museums collection, explores a wide range of river-based work from our local rivers and beyond, reflecting upon the importance of this resource as both a natural amenity and a source of artistic inspiration. This exhibit runs through April 18, 2021. Afloat: Artists and Rivers are generously underwritten by Bass Pro Shops/Cabela's. Additional financial assistance for this project has been provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency