From the Director
Photo by Brian Chilson
A Note from Todd...
There are big events happening at the Arts Center this Spring! The Arts Center’s biennial fundraiser, Tabriz, is March 12 & 14. Tabriz chair Del Boyette and co-chairs Sara Batcheller and Millie Ward have organized a celebration that highlights the history of Tabriz and introduces new ideas to keep this premiere event fresh and exciting. Thursday night’s Bazaar of Tabriz is casual and fun with some of the best silent auction items in town. The black-tie Gala of Tabriz on Saturday night is an evening that celebrates the arts, the Arkansas Arts Center, and our renowned collection. A successful fundraiser helps us keep the programs you love going. It’s not too late to purchase your ticket and join in the fun!
Following Tabriz, the Arts Center is very proud to host 30 Americans, which opens to members April 9. This exhibition, drawn from the expansive Rubell Family Collection, features 30 of the most influential contemporary African-American artists including Kara Walker, Kehinde Wiley, Carrie Mae Weems, Barkley Hendricks, Nick Cave, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. The works are large, direct, forceful, and inescapable. This is an exhibition that ticks all the boxes in the Arts Center’s mission: the work is high-quality and educational, it presents diverse viewpoints, promotes discussion, and highlights art’s ability to safely address difficult issues. Art is a dialogue. I hope that you will visit this exhibition often, and encourage friends to engage in this dialogue as well.
Education and cultural literacy are essential elements in the continued growth and development of society. I have been a long-time advocate of turning STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) into STEAM (just add ART!). And now, the venerable icon of children’s education, Sesame Street, has jumped on the STEAM train writing on their website that STEAM-based education “highlights the underlying scientific process skills; observing and questioning, investigating, analyzing and reporting, and reflecting on the ‘big idea’. These skills enable children to formulate thoughts into questions, solve problems, and allow for the learning of new concepts and ‘big ideas’ to become apparent and meaningful. It also helps make the connection between scientific (“Let’s find out.”) and innovative (“What if?”) thinking to clearly demonstrate that the arts can be used to inspire learning and teach STEM concepts.” This is exactly the kind of multi-layered educational experience the Arts Center has offered for decades.
In addition to our Children’s Theatre performances, art classes in the Museum School, and diverse exhibitions, I encourage you to add art to your children’s education by enrolling them in our Spring Break youth programs, Junior Arts Academy, and Summer Theater Academy. It pays off!
Todd A. Herman, Ph.D.