COMMUNITY NEWS

In mid-June, ReMix Ideas launched Shop Black Live, a weekly Facebook livestream series where local Black business owners showcase their shops, services and goods to help “build a more equitable economic system” in Little Rock.

Along with amplifying Black businesses, the series has also raiseed funds for the Entrepreneurial Business Administration Program at Arkansas Baptist College, a local historically Black college. ReMix Ideas and local donors are now well on their way to reaching their fundraising target of $25,000.

“Our goal is to be a marketplace of thriving ideas, businesses and partnerships that will benefit our entire community,” says Benito Lubazibwa, ReMix Ideas CEO and founder of Shop Black Live. “As I have said in the past, we are building runways for Black entrepreneurs to thrive during this crisis and beyond through unconventional platforms/solutions.”


The Little Rock chapter of Pro-Duffers may have had to opt for a virtual golf tournament this spring, but that didn’t stop them from raising funds for St. Francis House and its service of homeless veterans. In fact, they raised more this year than in the tournament’s nearly 30-year history.


If one more viewing of “Frozen 2” will send you over the edge, try this instead. The Arkansas Arts Center is teaming up with Arkansas PBS on an original series called “Blueberry’s Clubhouse.” The show follows a fun-loving puppet as he goes on summertime adventures across The Natural State.

“By working with local instructors, museums, parks and artists, ‘Blueberry’s Clubhouse’ will introduce enriching educational content to engage and inspire children and families,” says Courtney Pledger, Arkansas PBS executive director and CEO.

Watch “Blueberry’s Clubhouse” on Fridays at 10 a.m. on PBS, YouTube, Facebook and the Engage Arkansas PBS and PBS Video apps


Music heals, there’s no question about that. And now the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will both receive and offer a dose of the medicine as well.

The ASO received an $18,760 grant from the League of American Orchestras to “strengthen its understanding of equity, diversity and inclusion and to help transform organizational culture,” which will impact the symphony’s short- and long-term planning, programming, staffing and goals.

“Arkansas Symphony Orchestra wants systemic, sustainable change that leads us to fulfill our mission to truly serve all Arkansans through music,” ASO CEO Christina Littlejohn says.

And for its 2021-2022 season, the ASO is one of 24 orchestras chosen to be part of a special New Music USA program called Amplifying Voices that commissioned composers to write new orchestral works, building “collaboration and collective action toward equitable representation of composers in classical music.” The ASO will be working with Grammy- and Latin Grammy-nominated composer and conductor Tania León.

“The Amplifying Voices grant, for which we are most grateful, allows us to pursue the creation of new art at a time when we need it most,” says ASO Interim Artistic Director Geoffrey Robson.


BIG MOVES


After serving as VP of Thea Foundation’s board of directors and Into the Blue gala chair in 2019, arts advocate Trish Roberson is now taking over as board president.

Trish Roberson of the Thea Foundation in North Little Rock.

Justin Sanders has been named assistant director of Immerse Arkansas.

Justin Sanders

The Arkansas Arts Center recently added two new faces to its team: Lisa Jones Black as director of development and Katie Campbell as children’s theatre and performing arts director.

Lisa Jones Black of the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock.

Katie Campbell


TECHNOLOGY & THE FUTURE OF THE ARTS

Ballet Arkansas has long been an organization that thrives on collaboration and community partnerships. Most recently, the troupe has presented a series of highly-popular multimedia productions in collaboration with the creative team at Cranford Co.

“While our performances of ‘Dracula’ and ‘Sleepy Hollow’ garnered national attention for the innovative use of multimedia, there is much more than can be done with technology beyond integrating media into our programming,” says Michael Fothergill, executive and artistic director. “We imagine technology to be the future of the performing arts, at least for the short term.”

The team at Ballet Arkansas has identified measures to expand broadcasts to the public and plans to create resources for educators and audiences to enjoy.

“Simply put, in trying times for the arts we must adapt to the circumstances,” Fothergill says.

Ballet Arkansas is currently looking into broadcast options that appeal to various interests, and will also create educational programming to balance virtual programs offered by schools.

The organization will soon release the details of its updated 2020-2021 season and is carefully reviewing government, public health and industry guidelines and recommendations.


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