51 years of continuous community art classes at the Arkansas Arts Center

AAC classes in the 1960s

Though it was not yet officially called the Museum School, the Arkansas Arts Center’s first day of community art classes started on June 3, 1968.

To call it the first day of community art classes is a bit of a misnomer.  Even before the institution opened in May 1963, there were community art classes.  But once the degree-granting program launched in autumn 1964, the consistent, regular offering of those classes went away.

With the January 1968 announcement that the degree-granting program would end by May 31, 1968, plans were underway to bring back community arts classes.  Monday, June 3, 1968, started that program. Since that day, the Arkansas Arts Center has consistently offered arts classes to the community.

The session which began on June 3, 1968, was six weeks in length.  There were fourteen faculty members teaching 48 different classes for both adults and children.  The registration ranged from $10 to $22, depending on the course.   Among the course topics were painting, drawing, print-making, sculpture, crafts, design, children’s and teenage theatre, and art appreciation.  The faculty came from local artists.

Plans were already underway to offer twelve week sessions in the autumn of 1968 and spring of 1969 in a variety of art and dramatic disciplines.

As the Arkansas Arts Center prepares to vacate the space in MacArthur Park for the re-imagining of the building, Museum School classes will not go away.  They are continuing (along with the AAC summer academies) in MacArthur Park through August. Then they will move to the Arkansas Arts Center at Riverdale for the next several quarters.

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