August 20, 1961 – Groundbreaking for Arkansas Arts Center

On a warm Sunday afternoon, ten golden shovels turned dirt to mark the start of construction for the new Arkansas Arts Center.  The activity followed a series of speeches that day, August 20, 1961.

The speakers and dignitaries sat on the front portico of the original Museum of Fine Arts in MacArthur Park. That building would be incorporated into the new structure.

Among those who took part in the speeches and groundbreaking were Winthrop Rockefeller, Jeannette Edris Rockefeller, Gov. Orval Faubus, Congressman Dale Alford, and Little Rock Mayor Werner Knoop.

The efforts to create the Arkansas Arts Center started in the mid-1950s when the Junior League of Little Rock started an effort to establish a new art museum.  Next, the business community founded a Committee for a Center of Art and Science to accept funds donated.

When a suitable location within Little Rock could not be found, the decision was made to join with the Fine Arts Club and the Museum of Fine Arts.  Under the leadership of the Rockefellers, the drive to form the Arkansas Arts Center was launched. In September 1960, the City of Little Rock formally established the Arkansas Arts Center.


August 2nd Friday Art Night at UA Little Rock Downtown with Bang-Up Betty

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The galleries and shops of downtown Little Rock are staying open late for 2nd Friday Art Night

Bang-Up Betty will be popping up with local artists and artisans at UA Little Rock Downtown in the River Market area for the evening festivities!

Shop hand-stamped jewelry, lapel pins and more by local designer Bang-Up Betty from 5-8 p.m. She’ll be showcasing new designs, her recent funny zodiac collection and classic favorites Friday night.

Sandwich in History at the Stebbins-Roberts Building today

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You are invited to join the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program’s next “Sandwiching in History” tour, which will visit the Stebbins-Roberts Building at 1300 East Sixth Street in Little Rock beginning at noon on Friday, August 2, 2019.

The 1947 Stebbins-Roberts Building was designed by noted Arkansas architect H. Ray Burks for the Stebbins & Roberts Paint Company, the former sole provider of Benjamin Moore paint products in Arkansas. The building is a late example of Art Deco and Art Moderne architecture by Burks, who was known for his work in the style.

Sandwiching in History tours are worth one hour of AIA continuing education credit. If you would like to receive email notifications of upcoming tours instead of postcards or need additional information, please contact Callie Williams, Education and Outreach Coordinator for AHPP, at 501-324-9880 or

July 2FAN – Old State House presents “A Piece of My Soul: Quilts by Black Arkansans”

Join the Old State House Museum for Second Friday Art Night, Friday, July 12, from 5 to 8 p.m., as they showcase and celebrate their current exhibit, A Piece of My Soul: Quilts by Black Arkansans.

They will have live music by Brae Leni and the Blackout, refreshments, and fun activities, including quilting crafts, and as always the museum will be open to view all exhibits!

A Piece of My Soul: Quilts by Black Arkansans, is a curated selection of the museum’s collection of more than 200 quilts from the post-Reconstruction era to the present, representing a variety of different types of quilts many of which were created by multi-generational families.

These quilts are a profoundly important part of Arkansas’s history — through their patterns, material, stitching, and family oral histories, these special bedcovers reveal the lives of late 19th and early 20th century Arkansas families

July 2FAN – UA Little Rock Downtown spotlights three artists

No photo description available.UA Little Rock Downtown is proud to host artists Sherry Williamson, Mariah Hatta, and Sergio Valdivia.

Sherry Williamson loves painting pets and everyday places and things with a “quirky twist and brightly saturated colors.” She began painting in 2008 when she was inspired by her 20 pound pet cat, and then went on to paint over 200 pet portraits.

Mariah Hatta, a local ceramics artist and owner of House Of Terriers, a creative ceramics company, will join us again in July and will be bringing her beautiful heart pieces. Grab them while you can because they will not last long!

Sergio Valdivia is a vibrant artist and dance instructor who we are so excited to have join us this July! Of his work, Sergio says, “If you meet me one day and see that my hands, arms, etc are covered with paints forgive me but I tend to get very ‘involved’ in my artwork and having paint on me expresses the person I am.”

UA Little Rock also have free snacks and drinks.