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Concept Design

Transformational changes are coming to the Arkansas Arts Center, Executive Director Todd Herman announced on Tuesday, February 27. Alongside architect Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang and landscape architect Kate Orff of SCAPE, Herman presented a striking architectural design that strengthens the connections between the visual and performing arts in an inclusive space that welcomes a diverse community.

The Arkansas Arts Center concept design features 127,000 square feet of renovated and new spaces. New areas include a versatile indoor/outdoor restaurant overlooking MacArthur Park, a new north entrance reveals the original 1937 Museum of Fine Arts façade, a second floor of galleries, expanded art studios and art school gallery, a new drawing research center and conservation lab, a dedicated black box theatre, and expanded education spaces, including a family art adventure space. A flexible “Cultural Living Room” will serve as an extension of the galleries, event space, or community gathering space with bar and lounge seating enjoying a view north across downtown Little Rock.

The Arts Center’s transformation will also extend to MacArthur Park, bringing new outdoor amenities to the park. Herman and Orff presented a vision of the Arkansas Arts Center as a “museum within the forest.” Drawing inspiration from Little Rock’s unique regional ecologies – including the banks of Fourche Creek, the bluffs of Emerald Park, and the agrarian landscapes of the Mississippi Delta – the landscape design features inviting outdoor spaces that contribute to AAC’s emerging role as a cultural beacon for Arkansas.

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