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JAN-FEB 2017

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Page 34 of 51 35 J A N U A R Y / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 7 Smith's appeal for years, excit- ing new developments are tak- ing place as well. Construction is underway on the U.S. Marshals Museum, which is set to open in Fort Smith in 2018. And a mural initiative called the Unexpected has brought new color to down- town buildings. " ey brought in interna- tional artists to do some unique paintings on our buildings," Joyce said. " ey're gorgeous, and it has brought so many peo- ple downtown. Each artist has their own concept of what they wanted to paint on the build- ings. It's now included in our driving tour." e project started in 2015, with 11 murals created in about a week's time. e results were so positively received that more artists came during the summer of 2016 and created 11 more murals, bringing the city's total to 22. Groups can arrange tours that showcase all the best public artwork in the city. Today groups can explore Fort Smith National Historic Site to see the barracks, the courtroom and the gallows that were used for some 80 years to govern the territory. Many also choose to experience the area's colorful history fi rsthand with a performance by Miss Laura's Players, a troupe of perform- ers led by Carolyn Joyce, tour and travel sales director at the Fort Smith Convention and Visitors Bureau, who plays the titular role of the city's historic madam. "I have been portraying the character of Miss Laura for 25 years," Joyce said. "Today it's a three-person skit, which is all comedy. e group has come to town for a hanging, and Miss Laura comes down to make sure that everyone knows about her business. And a huckster shows up selling a magical cure-all elixir." ough these experiences have been a core part of Fort Street art in Fort Smith Courtesy Fort Smith CVB Courtesy Fort Smith CVB Courtesy Arkansas Dept. of Parks and Tourism General Darby Memorial Miss Laura's Players stor ly colorful... Car ol y n J o y ce TOUR & TRAVEL SALES DIRECTOR TF: 800.637.1477 | FAX: 479.784.2421 TOURISM @ FORTSMITH.ORG 13 INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS + 24 TOWERING MURALS = 1 OUTDOOR ART EXPERIENCE UNLIKE ANY OTHER g g TOURFORTSMITH.COM @ EXPERIENCEFORTSMITH @ EXPFORTSMITH

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