Campaign kicks off to support Arts Center bond vote

by Kerri Jackson Case ([email protected]) 176 views 

The group supporting the bond issue to improve the Arkansas Arts Center and MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History held its kickoff meeting Tuesday (Jan. 5). The Committee for Arts and History gathered at the Arts Center to show support for the special election to be held Feb. 9.

“The funds from this bond issue, along with private donations will expand and enhance Little Rock’s cultural attractions,” Gary Smith, Chair of the Committee said. “Renovations and upgrades will increase accessibility for Little Rock residents and provide an enhanced experience for visitors.”

According to the committee, a vote for the bonds will spur community involvement not only by increasing educational opportunities and attracting more world-class exhibits, but also by expanding art classes and renovating the Children’s Theatre. The bonds are backed by an already-approved tax on hotels in Little Rock.

“If approved, this will keep the Arts Center in Little Rock accredited, with updates to aging facilities over 50 years old,” Todd Herman, Arkansas Arts Center Executive Director said. “This will bring in more world-class exhibitions and educational opportunities,” Herman added.

It will also provide help to aging facilities, preserve a national historic landmark and address landscaping and drainage needs in MacArthur Park.

“Preserving this historic landmark and museum will honor the service of Arkansas’ veterans and ensure children continue to benefit from the educational opportunities afforded by the museum,” Ron Fuller, Co-Chair of the Committee said.

Montine McNulty, Executive Director of the Arkansas Hospitality Association, the trade group which represents the state’s hoteliers, said the organization had not taken a position on the tax or upcoming bond vote, but she anticipated “much discussion” at board meetings next week.

She said typically, as a statewide trade group, they would only get involved on a local issue if the city A&P Commission asked for their assistance. Since both the Little Rock A&P and city board voted unanimously to pass the tax, she did not anticipate that happening.