Regional arts organization to assume facility operations of Arts Center of the Ozarks

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,239 views 

The Arts Center of the Ozarks (ACO) in Springdale will transition ownership and management of its downtown building. The facility and operations will shift from the ACO staff to Creative Arkansas Community Hub & Exchange (CACHE). That’s the regional arts service organization launched last year with funding from the Walton Family Foundation. CACHE is a pillar of the Northwest Arkansas Council, a regional nonprofit that addresses infrastructure, healthcare and quality-of-life improvements.

A grant from the Tyson Family Foundation supports the ACO transition, which takes effect Sept. 18, according to a news release Thursday (Sept. 3) from the Northwest Arkansas Council. The ACO building at 214 S. Main St. is being bought by Grove Arts, an affiliate of the Tyson Family Foundation formed to help reinvent and rejuvenate the arts center.

Contract and purchase details were not disclosed. CACHE will work closely with the ACO team on the transition.

“We have the opportunity with this space to reinvent the modern era’s arts center in the Downtown Springdale Arts District,” CACHE founding executive director Allyson Esposito said in a statement. “This transition will allow us to expand equity, inclusion and expression across all artistic disciplines and Northwest Arkansas communities, and we are thankful to the Tyson Family Foundation for its dedication to preserving the history of arts in downtown Springdale.”

The ACO will move into a strategic planning phase that will include taking some time to gather information from its theatre family and public to update its plans. The shift is meant to open the physical space to broader use and encourage further partnerships between the various arts organizations in the region. It will also allow the ACO to focus on developing and producing future programming without the additional task of managing and maintaining the building itself.

Click here to read ACO’s full statement.

“For more than 53 years, ACO has been one of the largest organizational champions of arts in the area — delighting the public through performances, exhibitions and outdoor festivals,” ACO executive director Bryan Gott said in a statement. “We believe this transition will encourage partnership between the various organizations in the area, offering a wonderful opportunity for the arts in Springdale to flourish. The ACO will then have the ability to focus its energy on developing and producing future programming.”

The ACO’s traditional summer musical will be back on stage in 2021, the news release said.

Since its inception in August 2019, CACHE has raised nearly $3.5 million through support from the Walmart Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation. CACHE is presently leading more than 10 initiatives serving the region’s arts and culture sector.