Arkansas Arts Center announces $128 million fundraising campaign, $118 million already committed

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 606 views 

The Arkansas Arts Center (AAC) announced a $128 million fundraising campaign on Wednesday (May 15) and further noted that it had received commitments exceeding $118 million to-date.

The Little Rock-based art museum will undergo a major renovation led by renowned architect Jeanne Gang and Studio Gang.

The new AAC will include a revitalized landscape, designed by Kate Orff and SCAPE, which will expand the connection between the architecture and MacArthur Park. Both Jeanne Gang and Kate Orff are MacArthur fellows who have received prestigious MacArthur “Genius” grants.

The $128 million campaign will also provide transition and opening support, and endowment funds. Scheduled for completion in early 2022, the project will strengthen the Arkansas Arts Center as “the region’s pre-eminent cultural and arts education institution for visual and performing arts,” a release from the arts center said.

Campaign Co-Chairs Harriet and Warren Stephens announced an early commitment of $31,245,000 from the City of Little Rock. The contribution is being generated through a hotel-tax revenue bond.

Major private fundraising for the project includes the Windgate Foundation, which has donated a lead campaign gift of $35 million, Harriet and Warren Stephens, and the Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust.

“The new Arkansas Arts Center will stand as a noted architectural treasure in the heart of Arkansas, serving even more young people and adults, and attracting visitors from throughout the city, state, region, and nation,” said Campaign Co-Chair Warren Stephens, CEO of Stephens Inc. “The Campaign is an excellent example of the transformative power of a successful public/private partnership.”

“A remarkable group has come together with a clear understanding of the importance of reimagining the Arkansas Arts Center for the 21st Century,” said Campaign Co-Chair Harriet Stephens. “We will now reach out to the entire community and state for support to realize this once-in-a-lifetime project. Together, we can ensure that the Arkansas Arts Center is a thriving and influential cultural institution for present and future generations.”

The Arts Center plans for a fall 2019 groundbreaking. During construction, from fall 2019 through its planned grand opening in early 2022, the AAC will relocate to the Riverdale Shopping Center at 2510 Cantrell Road in Little Rock. Museum School classes, programs and events will take place at the Riverdale Shopping Center location, and the Museum gift shop will be open. The Children’s Theatre will also present performances at the Riverdale location, and will expand tours and performances throughout the state.