From the Director
Photo by Brian Chilson
A Note from Todd...
While we honor the legacy of the Arts Center’s longtime Executive Director Townsend Wolfe, we also look toward the future as we build both literally and figuratively on the legacy he established during his 34 years of service. The Arts Center has selected Chicago architecture and urban design firm Studio Gang as design architect for our upcoming renovation and expansion project (read more).
Studio Gang rose to the top from an initial pool of 24 local, national and international firms. What impressed both the technical committee and the selection committee was not only the long list of prestigious awards attached to the firm, its founder Jeanne Gang, and individual projects, but a demonstrated understanding of the complexities of what we are trying to accomplish and the diverse experience to get us there. Others recognized the same qualities. Studio Gang was the favorite among the AAC staff and the audience who listened to the five finalists’ presentations.
It's a transformative time for the Arts Center. Soon a local architect will be selected to work with Studio Gang on the project. Following that, these teams will begin an in-depth analysis of the building and all of its mechanical and physical systems with an eye to assessing what potential (or issues) exist and how best to optimize our current facility and spaces to achieve our goals within budget. Substantial private funds will be raised to maximize the impact of the public dollars approved through a city bond issue. The generous support of the people of Little Rock allows us to define the quality of our city’s character as one that embraces the arts, cultural diversity, creativity, and a global perspective.
We have set a course for the future that will, in some ways, redefine the Arts Center. While we continue—and expand—our commitment to providing quality art experiences for everyone (think Pay-What-You-Can Nights in the Children’s Theatre, free permanent collection and traveling exhibitions, and new education spaces dedicated to free, hands-on art activities), we will become a more active and collaborative partner in a lively MacArthur Park. Our role is now critical in establishing a key quality of life destination in the city. Our goal is to become your ‘cultural living room’ – a safe and welcoming place for education, art, creativity, and positive social activity that strengthens our civic fabric and social discourse. Lofty goals? YES. Can we do it? YES!
Todd A. Herman, Ph.D.