First National Bank donates $250,000 to Community School of the Arts

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 607 views 

During its 150th anniversary block party celebration Saturday (May 14), First National Bank of Fort Smith announced it would give $250,000 to the Community School of the Arts (CSA) to help the school build its new Center for the Creative Arts along the Arkansas River.

The school had previously announced that the grand lobby and entrance to the new school would be named in honor of First National Bank. The public will enter the Grand Lobby area each time they visit the school for shows, concerts and other events throughout the facility.

“This magnificent space with its beautiful spiral staircase and a second-floor balcony view will be a gathering place for guests to visit, view artwork, attend receptions and luncheons, and enjoy the beautiful riverfront view,” noted a press release.

Guest speakers, exhibits, and performances will also be offered in the Grand Lobby.

CSA broke ground March 17, 2021, on a new facility near the U.S. Marshals Museum on Riverfront Drive in Fort Smith. The land for the new school, 11 acres north of the museum, was donated to the school by the Robbie Westphal family. Construction of the building, which began in February, is scheduled to be completed in summer 2023, according to Dr.  Rosilee Russell, CSA executive director. Though the school has reached its initial capital fundraising goal of $7.5 million, Russell said they still need to raise about $5 million for completion of the project.

The Center will house arts programs for young children through high school students as well as adults. The after-school Community Arts Connection programs will offer classes and lessons for up to 500 children and youth daily, the news release said. In addition to the afterschool programs, the Center will be home to the Institute for the Creative Arts which offers specialized programs for high school students in grades 9-12. The Institute will operate daily as students attend from regional school districts and will receive high school credits at their participating school.

The new 40,000-square-foot building will include high-tech classrooms, teaching studios, art galleries, recording studio, film and digital animation labs, dance studios, culinary labs, black box theater and a state-of-the-art 350 seat theater and performance hall.

“First National Bank of Fort Smith is grateful for the opportunity to contribute $250,000 to the Community School of the Arts for the development of the Center for the Creative Arts. We look forward to the opportunities this center will provide for our community,” said Sam Sicard, president and CEO of First National Bank.