Arkansas Arts Center to relocate to Riverdale Shopping Center during two-year renovation and expansion

by Roby Brock (roby@talkbusiness.net) 229 views 

The Arkansas Arts Center (AAC) will temporarily relocate to 2510 Cantrell Road in the Riverdale Shopping Center for two and a half years during its upcoming renovation and expansion project.

The temporary location is approximately three miles from the arts center’s MacArthur Park site. It will include studio space for Museum School classes, design and rehearsal space for the Children’s Theatre, and additional flexible spaces for offices, retail, facilities storage and educational programs.

“The AAC’s impact in our community, both in Central Arkansas and across the state, is immense and enduring,” said Merritt Dyke, President of the AAC board of trustees. “In addition to the nearly 200,000 visitors to MacArthur Park, the AAC’s statewide outreach numbers approach half a million people. We’ve been working with numerous community partners to ensure that we can continue to fulfill our mission and to serve these people while the AAC is under construction.”

“The support we’ve received throughout this endeavor has been overwhelming, and we are grateful to Harriet and Warren Stephens who are chairing our lead gifts capital campaign,” Dyke said. “Without their leadership, this project would not be where it is today. I am greatly appreciative to the AAC and Foundation boards, staff, and all our community partners for their role in realizing this important vision.”

The AAC’s staff of approximately 100 full-and part-time employees will office out of the Riverdale location during the renovation. Groundbreaking on the AAC’s transformational building project is scheduled for fall 2019.

The MacArthur Park facility will be available for all regular summer programming, with the new temporary Riverdale location opening in September. The renovation and expansion of the MacArthur Park building is anticipated to be completed in early 2022.

The Cantrell Road location will offer convenient and secure parking and new amenities for AAC program participants. With 15,200 square feet of studio space, the Museum School will offer nearly all its current program of classes and workshops, including drawing, painting, ceramics, jewelry, glass, small metals, woodworking and printmaking for its nearly 3,000 yearly students. Fall Quarter classes are projected to begin in the Riverdale location in September.

“We’ve been working diligently for more than a year to ensure that our students have a creative space with the equipment needed to continue to engage in our classes in a temporary location,” said Rana Edgar, Director of Education and Programs. “Over the next two and a half years, we plan to welcome our students into well-appointed studios, with all our core classes currently being offered, in addition to offering expanded opportunities to build their talents.”

In the Children’s Theatre’s 14,200 square-foot workshop, theatre staff will create sets, sew costumes, and build props for the AAC’s productions, including touring programs. The AAC Museum Shop will also move its retail storefront into 1,500 square feet of space, joining many other local restaurants and businesses in the area. Administrative, facilities, equipment storage and flexible educational spaces will round out a total of 65,000 square feet of space at the temporary facility.

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