Arkansas Arts Center
|Former name||Museum of Fine Arts|
|Location||501 E. 9th Street, Little Rock, Arkansas|
The Arkansas Arts Center is on the corner of 9th and Commerce streets in MacArthur Park, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. The Arkansas Arts Center was founded in 1960, but the idea began in 1914 when the Fine Arts Club of Arkansas formed. The group included supporters and volunteers who contributed to the realization of the Museum of Fine Arts in 1937 in Little Rock's MacArthur Park. The center features a permanent collection of art along with occasional special exhibitions. Other parts of the center include a research library and rooms for several art education classes for a variety of age groups. The center also includes the restaurant Canvas and a gift shop. Many of the facilities such as the main atrium and the lecture hall can be rented for special events.
The museum's permanent collection is focused on drawings, which the AAC defines as any unique work on paper, and contemporary craft objects. The collection holds objects from such historically recognized artists such as Rembrandt, Pablo Picasso, Odilon Redon, Andrew Wyeth, and Edgar Degas. The collection also represents numerous important late 20th century and contemporary artists such as Susan Hauptman, Gregory Gillespie, John Connell, William Beckman, Enrique Chagoya, Jane Frank, John Stuart Ingle, Tim Lowly, and Odd Nerdrum. One of the highlights of the Arts Center's collection is a collection of Paul Signac drawings and watercolours; many are on public display in a gallery dedicated to the Signac collection. Much of the Arkansas Art Center's permanent collection can be viewed through its Web Kiosk.
The Arkansas Arts Center hosts the Annual Delta Exhibition, a juried exhibition of artist from Arkansas and its border states, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. The exhibition was founded in 1958 to feature contemporary work by artists born in or currently living in the Mississippi Delta region.
The Arts Center also host an Annual Collectors Show & Sale. The curators of the museum bring in works—principally drawings—from a variety of galleries from New York and around the country. This gives local collectors access to works they wouldn't normally see and the general public to see the works of a number of contemporary artists.
A competitive show of works from local school children is held annually as well. The Young Arkansas Artists show displays works from grades K-12 and awards prizes and honorable mentions for outstanding work. Schools with winning entries receive monetary awards to help promote their art programs.
The Arkansas Arts Center also organizes their National Drawing Invitational on a semi-regular basis. The show was designed to enhance to medium of drawing and to further awareness of draftsmanship as a contemporary art.
Recognized by The Drama League as one of the best regional theater companies in America, the Arkansas Arts Center Children's Theatre is the only professional company in Arkansas that produces children's literary works for the stage. The Children's Theater is a very popular attraction featuring plays of classic children's stories. The Children's Theater gives children both the opportunity to witness live performances and to participate in stage productions.
The Arts Center's Museum School offers courses in a variety of media. Classes in life drawing, Ceramics, photography, woodworking, and jewelry, as well as workshops by visiting artists and children's classes are available. The school holds a sale of student work the Saturday before Thanksgiving each year.
The gift shop in the museum includes many ceramics and hand blown glass objects. Other available items include books on various artists, including Paul signac and Viula Frey. Also included are bronze sculptures and other sculpted items
- Pike-Fletcher-Terry House, an event space and gallery owned by the center