It's Time to Raise the Curtain

After a year and a half of unconventional performances and full season cancellations, the arts scene in central Arkansas is finally beginning to emerge.

"The community is experiencing an arts awakening with renewed interest, excitement and a strengthened realization of the importance of the arts in our community," says Catherine Fothergill, Ballet Arkansas' associate artistic director.

The troupe recently announced the lineup for its 2021-22 main stage season, with in-person and virtual tickets available, that kicks off with "The Great Gatsby" in October and includes the family favorite "Nutcracker Spectacular" during the holidays.

This summer is especially crucial for the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. July marks the theater's return after a chaotic few years in which it suspended operations in 2018, implemented a successful rebuilding campaign, then went dark again last spring just before what was meant to be the triumphant return of its signature Saints & Sinners gala.

The Rep will host three outdoor shows around the city, beginning with "Marie and Rosetta" on July 13 in The Rep Revival Tent at War Memorial Park.

"If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s how much we all crave being out in the world and sharing experiences with our families, friends and neighbors," says Will Trice, The Rep’s executive artistic director. "That’s exactly what live theater provides, and these immersive productions give us the chance to enjoy our city’s beautiful community spaces in a whole new way."

Back to School

With support from The Reform Alliance, Gov. Asa Hutchinson officially signed into creation the Philanthropic Investment in Arkansas Kids Program, a tax credit scholarship that will fund private school tuition for approximately 250 K-12 students whose families would normally be unable to afford the option.

"Most people recognize that there is a significant achievement gap between students from higher income families and lower income families," says The Reform Alliance Managing Director Emmy Henley. "This is an essential step to giving students from lower income families equal access to resources that could help bridge the gap."

Take Your Best Shot

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is one of 11 entities across the country selected by the National Institutes of Health to not only study the effects of COVID-19 in the hardest-hit populations in the area, but to also help educate and encourage communities to get vaccinated.

"We want to make sure that Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino and Marshallese and rural residents have access to trustworthy information to inform their decision-making about getting a vaccine," says Dr. Pebbles Fagan, one of three principal investigators on the study. “We want to make sure they receive equitable health care treatment and have easy access to a vaccine today and five years from now.”

UAMS Medical Center in central Little Rock.

Big Moves

The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center found its new director in Key Fletcher.

Justin Archer Birch has been named the national director of workforce development at Rural Local Initiatives Support Corp. in Little Rock.

Economics Arkansas appointed its new board president, Mike Poore, and three new board members: Randi Chambers, Eric Munson and Dr. Karen Walters.

Becky Flynn is the new director of development for the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas.

The Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts named Bob Tarren as its new chief marketing officer.