The word is out that Patrick Ralston, who has been an analyst with the Legislative Bureau of Legislative Research and previously worked with the Department of Arkansas Heritage in the Historic Preservation Program, is the new Arkansas Arts Council director. The hire hasn’t been announced officially.  UPDATE: DAH has just announced Ralston’s hiring,

Ralston’s Arts Council cred is that he is an artist himself, a fine photographer. He’s also a good person, I happen to know, because I worked with him in the 1980s at the North Little Rock Times.


Marian Boyd has been acting as director since Joy Pennington left last year to work with the nonprofit Arkansans for the Arts.  DAH announced that Boyd will move to the Historic Preservation Program as interim director, replacing Missy McSwain, who has resigned. News that McSwain was given the option to be fired or resign circulated earlier in the week, but has now been confirmed.

Ralston will be steering an agency that gets huge support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Our new president plans to abolish the NEA, according to an article published yesterday in The Hill. If that happens, the state’s art community will suffer.

Here is also a link to an article about Ralston published by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.