Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area

LR Cultural Touchstone: Charlotte Gadberry

charlotte-gadberryCharlotte Gadberry has long been a supporter of Little Rock’s various cultural institutions. She has both served on boards and consulted with boards in strategic planning.  She is a Cultural Touchstone, however, because of her vision to found ACANSA Arts Festival.

A trip to Charleston, South Carolina, amid it’s Spoleto USA arts festival inspired her to dream that Little Rock could play host to a similar endeavor.  Using her fundraising prowess and connections, she started to raise funds, friends and awareness for this idea.

In September 2013, the inaugural ACANSA Arts Festival was announced for September 2014.  Under her leadership, ACANSA (a name derived from an early Native American variation of what is now called Arkansas) incorporated both local cultural institutions as well as performers brought in for the event.

It kicked off on a Tuesday with a reception at the Governor’s Mansion and concluded the following Sunday with a reception at Wildwood Park for the Arts.  In between there was theatre, dance, mime, puppetry, instrumental music, choral music, opera, jazz, painting, photography, history, lectures, and gallery tours.

Under her leadership as founder, plans are already underway for the next edition.  ACANSA Arts Festival 2015 is scheduled for September 16-20. Tickets go on sale next spring.


ACANSA Arts Festival Receives $10,000 Planning & Implementation Grant



The newly founded ACANSA Arts Festival accepted a $10,000 check from the Central Arkansas Planning and Development District (CAPDD) on Monday, February 24th. The distribution comes from CAPDD’s General Improvement Fund and is awarded through a grant process to qualifying organizations for the planning and implementation of economic and community development projects. The ACANSA application had the endorsement of Arkansas State Representative Warwick Sabin.

The CAPDD award adds to growing level of interest and support for the new arts festival to be held over 5 days in September. “Cultural enrichment opportunities that bring people together in Little Rock and North Little Rock both address the “quality of life” issues our board endeavors to support and generate viable economic opportunities in our community over their duration,” remarked CAPDD Executive Director Rodney Larsen.

Warwick Sabin and Rodney Larsen presented the check to Charlotte Gadberry, founder of the ACANSA Arts Festival and ACANSA Executive Director Renay Dean.

ACANSA Arts Festival is a southern celebration of visual and performing arts, premiering its inaugural event September 24-28, 2014, in Central Arkansas.

Arts ExtravACANSA is tonight in Clinton Presidential Park.

acansaEarlier this wee, the newly founded ACANSA Arts Festival announced its inaugural 2014 event.

Charlotte Gadberry, former Little Rock Rotary Club President, founder and current Board President of ACANSA Arts Festival introduced the new visual and performing arts festival that is the result of collaboration with regional arts organizations, local businesses, government and civic groups. She said the festival’s goal is to inspire public appreciation for the arts and enrich the economic and cultural vitality of the region. The festival’s theme is “A Southern Celebration of the Arts” and the Rotary Club of Little Rock Club 99 Foundation is an event sponsor, Gadberry said.

Robert Hupp, Producing Artistic Director of the Arkansas Repertory Theater and Chairman of ACANSA’s Arts Advisory Council summarized the festival’s programming. He said the festival will feature live performances, exhibits, educational opportunities, workshops and other activities throughout Little Rock and North Little Rock over nine days, from Sept. 19-27, 2014.

Additionally, ACANSA Arts Festival Director of Administration, Virginia Young, announced an upcoming kickoff event, Arts ExtravACANSA, to be held Saturday, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on the lawn of the Clinton Presidential Center. Arts ExtravACANSA will showcase a sampling of art and feature gourmet Southern delicacies, a silent auction, and a special musical performance by Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. and the Zydeco Twisters.

Tickets are $100 and may be purchased through ACANSA Arts Festival by calling 501-663-2287, or emailing More information is available at