Studio Gang re-imagines the Arkansas Arts Center for the 21st Century

Arkansas Arts Center

The Arkansas Arts Center (AAC) is pleased to announce Reimagining the Arkansas Arts Center: Campaign for Our Cultural Future, a special fundraising campaign that will realize a stunning new Arts Center for the 21st Century. The project will result in a comprehensive reenvisioning of the AAC by Studio Gang. The new AAC will include a revitalized landscape, designed by Kate Orff and SCAPE, which will expand the connection between the architecture and MacArthur Park.

Scheduled for completion in early 2022, the project will strengthen the Arkansas Arts Center as the region’s pre-eminent cultural and arts education institution for visual and performing arts. At a special event on the evening of May 15, Campaign Co-Chairs Harriet and Warren Stephens announced that Reimagining the Arkansas Arts Center: Campaign for Our Cultural Future has raised $118 million of its $128 million goal to-date.

Donors to the project are supporting a design that features new spaces for gathering and community events, coupled with renovations to the existing building, to create dynamic new connections among the thriving education, exhibition, and theatre programs. New civic spaces will welcome visitors and community members alike, inviting them to explore the Center’s impressive programs and collections in an exciting, energy-efficient, accessible, and state-of-the-art facility.

A two-story atrium will extend through the existing museum complex to weave together the Galleries, Museum School, and Children’s Theatre. At the North end, a Cultural Living Room will act as a dynamic new community event and gathering space that will activate the building beyond business hours. A new visitor Entrance Hall will bring heightened importance to the historic 1937 Museum of Fine Arts facade.

At the South end, a new restaurant will invite visitors into MacArthur Park, with shaded outdoor seating, new walking paths, a great lawn, and landscape features that work together with the new architecture to become the heartbeat of an enlivened neighborhood and city. Off this new main axis, major renovations to the existing building will create a world-class visitor experience by amplifying the impact and accessibility of each of the Center’s programs:

• State-of-the-art Galleries for the AAC’s world-class collection and significant traveling exhibitions, and cutting-edge collection storage facilities to preserve and maintain the collection.
• Renovated facilities for the Museum School with increased education, amenity, and display spaces to improve the student experience and bring student work into visual dialogue with the collections on display elsewhere in the Arts Center.

• An updated Children’s Theatre, which includes new lighting, sound and rigging systems, control rooms, audience seats, an expansion of the black box theatre, increased space for education programs, dressing rooms, and the scene shop, and the addition of a costume shop. Source and images Courtesy of Studio Gang.

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