Little Rock’s rich cultural history has been influenced by many outstanding men and women. This October, during Arts & Humanities Month 2014, the Culture Vulture is looking at 31 outstanding women who have shaped cultural life in Little Rock…and beyond.
Kay Kelley Arnold. While attending law school, she worked at the Arkansas Arts Council. As she relayed to Soiree, she helped artists who taught in schools. Through that job, she met many creative people “and developed a love of all types of artistic expression.” During Bill Clinton’s first term in office as Governor, she was on his staff. In that capacity, she served as his liaison to what is now known as the Department of Arkansas Heritage. When he left office in January 1981, so did she.
In 1986, Governor Clinton tapped Arnold to lead the Department of Arkansas Heritage. In addition to supervising six cultural departments, she stepped into the job as plans were being made for Arkansas’ Sesquicentennial. She also oversaw those efforts which were heavily tilted toward artistic and historic events.
During the 1987 Arkansas General Assembly, Arnold led the successful effort for the legislators to approve a real estate transfer tax. The legislation proved immensely beneficial to historic properties. She entered the corporate world in 1988 joining Arkansas Power & Light. While serving in various capacities for AP&L and Entergy, Arnold split her time between Little Rock and Washington DC. She maintained close ties to Little Rock’s cultural community including service on the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Board. She served as Chair of the ASO Board at a crucial time in the organization’s history. In addition, she has served as a member of the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission.
Arnold has recently completed two terms on the Little Rock Airport Commission. During her time on that body, the airport purchased and installed several pieces of public art.
Now retired from Entergy, she is often seen around Little Rock enjoying cultural events.