BELLA VISTA, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Bella Vista Arts Council announced that it will honor ceramicist Heather Grills as the May 2022 featured artist.

According to a press release, Grills will be honored at a public reception from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 19 at her studio at 27 Sandwick Drive, Bella Vista. Grills is an artist who “expresses herself through many mediums, first using them to celebrate wonder and appreciation for the natural world and then to connect with and serve others.”

“I love to learn new techniques and meet those artists who are both masters of their craft and willing to share their expertise with others. After the (Joplin) tornado, I opened Phoenix Fired Art to bring workshops like those I attended and a well-equipped teaching facility and gallery to Joplin,” she said.

She enjoyed running Phoenix Fired Art, representing and supporting over 35 artists, and then joined the Artisan Alliance after moving to Bella Vista with her pediatrician husband Jeff in 2017. They donated pottery equipment to The Clay Studio at Wishing Spring, where Dave Johnson and other talented ceramicists teach and manage classes.

“I am still involved peripherally and have a finger in Benton County Empty Bowls, but I’m no longer in charge. I relish the freedom to return to my plein air painting roots and continue my hand building ceramic work. Creating hand pinched, burnished, smoke fired meditation pots brings me peace and centers me.”

Born in New England and raised in Florida and Maine, Grills earned degrees from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., and a Certificate in Mural Studies from Pennsylvania College of Art and Design in Lancaster, Penn.

She has completed courses in silversmithing and pottery at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, Mo., and bronze casting at Sanctuary Arts in Eliot, Maine. She attended workshops around the country in advanced ceramics, including paper clay, mosaic, surface decoration and sculpting the figure.

In December, the Grills bought a second home in Bella Vista to become her studio and an arts-themed bed and breakfast. It showcases Heather’s art and gives her a place to create work, teach private lessons and host small groups.