From the Director
Photo by Brian Chilson
A Note from Todd...
We took another giant step toward our goal of a renovated Arts Center in February with a public vote—84% in favor—to bond the revenue from an existing sales tax on out-of-town visitors for the benefit of the Arkansas Arts Center, MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History and Historic MacArthur Park. We are incredibly grateful to all who voted and overwhelmingly supported this measure. The success of this vote is a clear statement from the citizens of Little Rock that they value what the arts add to their lives, which is great news for anyone in our city who loves culture and the arts.
More than a quarter of a million people use our facility every year, and over 50 years that has taken its toll on the building. The list of needed upgrades is long, including the mechanical systems, children’s theatre, lighting systems, and Museum School studio spaces, not to mention the tremendous need for additional space to properly house our art collection and create new educational spaces for families and kids.
Our next step will be to work with the city and the private sector to maximize the potential of these funds. With the continued support of our community, members, board and staff, we have the opportunity to create something aspirational and transformational for our community and visitors to enjoy for decades to come.
I encourage you to experience all our cultural offerings this Spring! In February we opened two historically significant exhibitions where you can witness life as art. Dorothea Lange’s America and the groundbreaking Industrial Beauty:Charles Burchfield’s Black Iron will be on view through May. We also welcomed the monumental painting Admiration by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, in addition to Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Madame Henriot in Costume, a magnificent full-length portrait of the actress from the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Ohio.
And don’t miss the hauntingly beautiful, large format photographs of models posed within garments of live flowers and other natural materials in the Alice Pratt Brown Atrium by Nathalia Edenmont. Force of Nature is the artist’s first major American solo exhibition. Edenmont traveled from her home in Sweden to visit Little Rock in January for a lecture on her life and work.
Our galleries are free and open to the public. Get involved, take a class, see a show or attend a program and be a pART! Enjoy the treasures in your own backyard as we look forward to an exciting new future for the Arkansas Arts Center and Historic MacArthur Park.
Todd A. Herman, Ph.D.