Mariano Padilla, a professional artist and muralist from Buenos Aires, Argentina, spent most of four days painting his interpretation of an Arkansas Razorback on an 8x10-foot sidewalk “canvas” in the 100 block of E. Division Street in downtown Hope.

Mariano Padilla, a professional artist and muralist from Buenos Aires, Argentina, spent most of four days painting his interpretation of an Arkansas Razorback on an 8x10-foot sidewalk “canvas” in the 100 block of E. Division Street in downtown Hope.
The home for this one-of-a-kind painting is ARTpark, a parking lot and adjacent sidewalks in the 100 block of East Division St.
Padilla first visited the United States on a tourist visa, but now is on track to get a work visa to expand his unique style of art here. While visiting a friend in Little Rock, he heard about the ARTpark and came to Hope to “join in the fun.”
He also said he would like return to Hope in the fall and work on murals around the city. “I walked all over town and Hope has some of the most wonderful buildings that are begging for paintings to enhance the attractiveness, history and unique character of the town.”
George Smith, executive director of the Southwest Arkansas Arts Council, said
that when he heard Padilla was interested in putting his special style of art in the ARTpark, researched Padilla’s work on line.
“I was simply blown away by the intricacy, the dynamics and the absolute perfection in his work,” Smith said, “Mariano has drawn this ‘pig’ in one of his art posts and it hit me that this would be a perfect addition to our art project.”
Smith also said the Arts Council would certainly consider sponsoring Padilla to return to do murals if sufficient financial support from merchants and interested patrons of the art and supporters of Hope could be assured. “Imagine how the town would look with murals all over blank walls around town and the ARTpark finished? Hope would be a tourist destination, not an afterthought.”
The ARTpark is an ongoing project for Hempstead County’s Bicentennial Celebration marking the 200th anniversary of the forming of the county.
Smith has been heading up the ARTpark project since its inception, which seeks to have 110 original pieces of artwork on 35,000-square-feet of a city lot.
With the special “undercoating and sealer coat put on each painting,” Smith said, there will be “no loss of parking spaces after it is completed.” He said the paintings are expected to last seven or more years, according to chemists for paint companies before the artwork will need “touching up.”
Smith said anyone interested in pursuing the mural idea and assist in starting a project can contact him at 870-777-8200.