Shared from the 7/5/2021 Hot Springs Sentinel Record  eEdition

Historical Society’s annual journal wins AHA award


Submitted photo

Garland County Historical Society volunteer Donnavae Hughes, left, and nationally recognized Hot Springs artist Gary Simmons were recently recognized for their contributions to the society’s yearly journal The Record 2020, at the Arkansas Historical Association’s annual conference.


At its recent annual conference, the Arkansas Historical Association awarded the Garland County Historical Society’s yearly journal, The Record 2020, the Walter L. Brown Award for Best Use of Graphics in a County or Historical Journal.

“We’re honored to have received this award from such a prestigious historical association,” Liz Robbins, the journal’s editor, said in a news release. “This recognition is a tribute to the talents of our graphic designer, GCHS volunteer Donnavae Hughes, and the cover artist, nationally recognized Hot Springs artist Gary Simmons.”

After living in 43 states and four foreign countries, and retiring after a multifaceted career, Hughes moved to Hot Springs in 2007 and began volunteering at the historical society in 2008.

“Now I can’t imagine living anywhere else,” Hughes said in the release. “With its abundant offerings in art and music, its friendly folks, its pleasant climate, this has become my town like no other has in my years of moving around. That feeling has been nurtured by my friends and my associates at the GCHS — by the facts and feel of the city that I’ve learned in 12 years as a volunteer at the society.”

Hughes, with Robbins, worked with not only the cover design but also all visual components of the publication: choice of typefaces and general layouts for all elements of the journal from the title page to the index, layout of individual articles with placement of photos, choice and formatting of photos and other elements including a color insert, and the integration of all these into a final, coherent product.

A highlight of the graphic design of the journal is the cover art, which features on the back cover a montage of COVID-19 shutdown photos and symbols and on the front cover the watercolor “Gulpha Creek” by Gary Simmons.

Simmons produced the watercolor, which is exhibited in the Ozark Cultural Center, in 2004 during his year as Hot Springs National Park Artist-in-Residence.

Simmons said in the release he accepted the park’s invitation because “the national parks are one of the smartest, most important things we ever did as a government” and “I [wanted] to be part of celebrating that.”

After his residency, Simmons sat on the board that evaluated the applications for the Artist-in-Residence Program, continued to teach art at Henderson State University until his retirement in 2013, and has continued to create and exhibit art, teach workshops, and be a leader in the Hot Springs arts community.

“The society is especially grateful to our members, whose support has enabled us to produce an annual journal with articles that explore local history since our founding in 1960,” Robbins said in the release.

The Record 2020 can be purchased for $25 through the society’s website at or by email at or by phone at 501-321-2159 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.

See this article in the e-Edition Here