Becoming John Marin: a Unique Narrative Website to Showcase New Work on Exhibit at the Arkansas Arts Center

by Lauren Schewene

Recently Stone Ward created a narrative website to showcase the extraordinary new collection and exhibit at the Arkansas Arts Center, “Becoming John Marin: Modernist at Work.” After the artist’s daughter-in-law donated 79 of her personal pieces (conserved with support from the Henry Luce Fund in American Art), the Arts Center wanted to showcase its Marin collection in an online format that would both demonstrate the Arts Center’s unique collection and encourage visitors, both regulars and newcomers alike. The Marin exhibit features 112 total pieces, 33 loaned by other outstanding public and private collections, and is only surpassed by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

BecomingJohnMarin.org has truly become a reflection of his life’s work, from his 1909 debut exhibition of watercolors at Alfred Stieglitz’s 291 Gallery in New York to his death in 1953. As a watercolorist, a beautiful “canvas-like” theme is iterated throughout the site, and his most notable works are paired together by architectural “Stories,” that show how Marin made and used drawings. These stories start with original etchings and transform into the completed watercolors, sharing quotes and descriptions along the way.

The website also features an interactive map, pairing his pieces with their respective points of inspiration, and a timeline of his life that pins down his life’s most historic moments, successes and relationships.