Create Little Rock, the young professionals organization of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, and studioMAIN, a collective of design professionals, developers, and contractors, are excited to share developments in the 2015 PopUp in the Rock planning.
This year, PopUp West Ninth will take place Saturday, October 24 from 11am until 5pm. It will span from the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center (MTCC) at Ninth and Broadway to the Dreamland Ballroom at Ninth and State and across the State Street overpass to the campus of Philander Smith. The project will feature a meandering street with the intention of slowing traffic creating a more pedestrian friendly environment, a children’s corner, street musicians and performers, Dreamland Ballroom tours and a PopUp Goodfellas barber shop.
Local food trucks, vendors and entertainment have also been secured including Solfood Catering and Brown Sugar Bake Shop, local food trucks Loblolly, The Beast, Southern Gourmasian, Banana Leaf, Blackhound BBQ, Katmandu Momo as well as the Lost Forty beer garden. There will be PopUp shopping featuring Mimi Mwafrika designs and Tribal Collections. Great local musicians such as Lucious Spiller and the Arkansas Baptist Choir among several others will perform throughout the day.
PopUp in the Rock began generating community feedback for PopUp West Ninth at the 2014 Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom hosted by Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, Arkansas’s museum of African American history and culture. Once known as “The Line,” Ninth Street was a bustling east-west thoroughfare with a trolley line. It was a bustling community with a thriving urban fabric of mixed-use development that was largely black-owned.
Booker T. Washington spoke at Ninth and Broadway in 1913. Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and others performed at the Dreamland Ballroom and other jazz clubs along Ninth. Daisy and L.C. Bates operated their Arkansas State Press there, and, from the present location of MTCC, the Mosaic Templars operated a politically and financially influential headquarters. The campus of Philander Smith once spanned north to West Ninth before Interstate 630 divided the district. One goal of PopUp West Ninth is to encourage pedestrian and bicycle traffic between Philander Smith and West Ninth Street via the South State Street overpass, thereby bridging the gap that originally tore apart the neighborhood. Utilizing community feedback and knowledge of the deep historical roots of West Ninth, PopUp in the Rock hopes to demonstrate the district’s potential for an equally vibrant future.