BREAKING RECORDS IN THE WILD
Art camps and programming are going strong at Wildwood Park for the Arts this summer, and that's in part thanks to record-breaking attendance and fundraising at its signature Lanterns Festival in April.
Returning for the first time since 2019, the three-day cultural festival saw nearly 9,000 guests and brought in more than $100,000 to support year-round arts education and groundskeeping.
"Not only did our community turn out to support the park in record numbers as guests and volunteers, we broke a fundraising record for Lanterns — a whole year of educational programming and scholarships," executive director Dr. Bevan Keating says. "We cannot wait to put this generosity to good use as we grow into west Little Rock’s cultural center, providing access to nature and the arts for Arkansans of all ages."
GRANTS & GIFTS
As the Junior League of Little Rock celebrates its centennial year, the nonprofit gifted $13,500 to the Rockefeller Early Childhood Center to help in the creation of a media center and to update the indoor play area. The JLLR conducted research to find unmet needs in the community, and upon finding a critical lack of access to quality early childhood programs and children’s literacy, has spent a significant amount of time and resources with the Rockefeller Early Childhood Center in recent months.
Our House received a federal grant of $244,827 from AmeriCorps, with an additional $199,331 local match. The funds will allow AmeriCorps and the nonprofit to team up to serve more than 2,500 homeless or near-homeless families and individuals in central Arkansas through housing programs, mental health resources, career training and more.
• The Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts has two new curators: Theresa Bembnister and Dr. Catherine Walworth.
• Shannon Boshears has been hired as senior vice president of development at Goodwill Industries of Arkansas.
• Economics Arkansas added three members to its board of directors: Nakesha Cunningham, LeAnn Helms and Dr. Brent D. Williams.
• Joshua Engle has been named dean of student affairs at UA Pulaski Technical College.
• Old State House Museum longtime staffer Daniel Cockrell has been named the museum's new director.
• Dr. Carrie Phillips is the new chief communications and marketing officer for UA Little Rock.
SPEAKING OF MOVES...
Heifer International is selling its Little Rock campus to OneHealth Education Group, which is working with Lyon College to create the state's first dental and veterinary schools. Heifer will remain in the top two floors of the 94,000-square-foot building under a long-term lease, while the college will also take over the nearly 30-acre eco-friendly campus that includes Heifer Village, restored wetlands and the event pavilion.
According to president and CEO Pierre Ferrari, rising global hunger rates and his staff's desire for a more flexible workspace — both brought on by the pandemic — led to the sale.
"Selling the Little Rock campus enables us to unlock more resources in support of our programs, getting help to the people that need it most," Ferrari says, adding Heifer will "remain committed to Little Rock and our work with farmers across the state."