Bobby Roberts, director of the Central Arkansas Library System, announced today that the library’s board of directors voted to name the new 325-seat theater going into the Arcade Building at President Clinton Avenue and River Market Avenue the Ron Robinson Theater.
Longtime adman Robinson is donating his truly vast collection of Arkansas memorabilia — posters, sheet music, rare recordings, including six recordings of the “Arkansas Traveler” on Edison discs and other recordings, political artifacts and more — to the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies. Clinton School for Public Service Dean Skip Rutherford, who worked with Robinson at the Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods, called Robinson a “titan” in Arkansas communications. Rutherford read a letter from Robinson, who could not be present, thanking the board for the naming honor and saying he felt like “the luckiest man on the planet.”
Roberts took folks on a tour of the Arcade, showing off the state-of-the art theater, which will be used by the Little Rock Film Festival (its offices are on the third floor), the library and available to the public. The theater is a $3 million project; in all, CALS’ development in the building, which includes new space for Butler Center processing (he said the center ran out of space five years sooner than the 10 years he expected it to), an events room on the second floor facing Clinton Avenue directly over retail space on the first, office space for Meadors Adams & Lee insurance company and space for the Clinton School. The building will also house a two-story restaurant CACHE, being designed by the design firm Johnson Studio of Atlanta.
Roberts joked that the theater would be open in “December January,” but added that the Clark Contractors construction crew is to turn over the building to the library in December. The theater will be open for regular business in January.
CALS Director Bobby Roberts in the Ron Robinson Theater under construction in the Arcade Building.