Little Rock Look Back: Media preview, Gordon MacRae concert prior to Arkansas Arts Center Opening

Photo of singer Gordon MacRae from the 1963 Arkansas Arts Center dedication booklet

On Friday, May 17, 1963, Little Rock’s media were treated to a preview of the new Arkansas Arts Center.  It was set to open to the public the next day.  The media were invited to attend between 6:30pm and 10:00pm.

One of the highlights was the chance to view the exhibit:  Five Centuries of European Painting.  The works were from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Arts.  The exhibition featured works by Titian, El Greco, van Dyck, Murillo, Gainsborough, Monet, Courbet, Renoir, Degas, Pissarro, and Gauguin.  Another artist featured was Paul Signac.  Today the Arts Center has one of the largest collections or works by Signac due to the generosity of collector James T. Dyke.

At 8pm that evening, there was a concert appearance by film and recording star Gordon MacRae.  This took place in the Arts Center’s theatre for Arts Center patrons. (Or at least the 389 who could get tickets to it.)  At 10pm, the press were treated to an encore performance by Mr. MacRae.

After it concluded around 11pm, it was time for the staff and volunteers to wind down for the evening and get ready for two major events on May 18, 1963.