Harriet Stephens, who with her husband Warren Stephens has headed up the capital campaign for construction of the new Arkansas Arts Center, announced at the annual meeting today that $122.7 million has been raised to date, just a little more than $5 million short of its goal. The campaign continues; the new Arts Center is scheduled to open in early 2022.

The 2019-20 fiscal year was, Dr. Victoria Ramirez, Arts Center director, said, beyond unusual. Operations moved from MacArthur Park to allow construction to begin on the new Arts Center; classes, library, gift shop and meeting space took up residence in a former grocery store on Cantrell, and the permanent collection was moved into storage. The Museum School had to close to in-person instruction in March, but soldiered on with online classes.

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Ramirez noted that the Arts Center ended the fiscal year in June with a balanced budget ($5.7 million, with revenues exceeding expenses by $500,000) for the 11th year in a row, thanks largely to the Arkansas Arts Center Foundation, a private operating foundation, which contributed nearly half that revenue: 46 percent. Donors provided another 28 percent, government grants 15 percent and earned income 11 percent. She also praised the partnerships with the Central Arkansas Library System and UA Little Rock for helping the AAC continue a public presence by exhibiting works from its permanent collection.

Ramirez also touted the upcoming webinar “Five Women You Should Know,” about the art and lives of five Black artists, to be held 6-7 p.m. Sept. 30 as part of the Arts Center’s “Art as Activism” series. Find information and a registration link on Facebook.

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Longtime Arts Center supporter Michael Mayton was presented with the 45th annual Governor Winthrop Rockefeller Award for public service and commitment to the arts.

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