We've little more than a month until the debut of the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts on April 22, and things are ramping up in MacArthur Park. The AMFA has announced its inaugural lineup of Windgate Art School classes, speaker series and kids programming, as well as "companies-in-residence" partnerships with Ballet Arkansas and the Arkansas Cinema Society, which will host its Filmland festival at the AMFA Oct. 4-8.
Speaking of Ballet Arkansas, the troupe has a busy few months ahead with its signature Turning Pointe Gala on April 1, "Modern Masters" production April 21-23 and "Live at the Plaza" April 26-30, along with a "glass box" performance at the AMFA in early May.
The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Guild's popular Symphony Designer House (last scheduled for spring 2020) is getting a makeover. The 2023 Symphony of Homes will feature seven residences throughout the Little Rock metro, each showcasing the styles of a noted local designer, rather than one house with different designers tackling each room.
Springtime comes to the stage with performances in the works from the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Argenta Community Theater, The Weekend Theater and The Studio Theatre. Many will close their curtains for the summer, so snag tickets while you can.
Keep an eye out for fall season announcements and the Acansa Arts Festival of the South lineup.
GRANTS, FIRSTS & MILESTONES
The Division of Arkansas Heritage awarded $5,700 to the Argenta Arts Foundation through its Public Art Grant Program. The funds will assist with the planning and implementation of the "Trail of Tears at the Argenta Library" public installation.
The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation has partnered with Public Knowledge and the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Children and Family Services in order to improve and "disrupt the pipeline into" the Pulaski County foster care ystem. The new team will select and support via grants local nonprofits that "directly engage with families and youth at risk of separation or involvement with the child welfare system."
The Arkansas Black Hall of Fame Foundation is teaming up with the Arkansas Community Foundation to award grants to programs benefiting Black and underserved populations with a focus on education, youth development, strengthening families, economic development and health and wellness. Applications are open through April 1.
ARORA (the Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency) reported back-to-back record years for organs recovered. In 2022, it saw a 49% increase in donors and 10% increase in transplants from 2021, making ARORA one of the fastest-growing organ procurement agencies in the U.S.
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas awarded three grants totalling more than $362,000 to UAMS "aimed at strengthening programs treating Arkansans with mental illness."
Winrock International has been selected to participate in the Advancing Racial Equity Community of Practice, a new nonprofit initiative in collaboration with The Bridgespan Group and nine other organizations to "share best practices and learnings on our work to prioritize equity," all funded by the Walmart Foundation.
NEW YEAR, NEW BOARD APPOINTEES
Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance: Brian Burton, Amy Dafler Meaux, Will Montgomery
Alzheimer’s Arkansas: Holly Fish, Amber Tierney
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas: Debbie Davis, Wanda King, Regina Taylor, William Wilder
CareLink: Curtis Carter, Maneetha Kodali
City Year Little Rock: Jay Barth
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas: Roy Griggs, Brenda Hatton-Ficklin, Andrew Norman, Kay Stebbins
• Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families has named Keesa Smith as its new executive director.
• Stephenie Cooke is the new executive director for Alzheimer’s Arkansas.
• Dr. Marta Cieslak has been named the new director of UA Little Rock Downtown.
• Sara Drew has joined the EAST Initiative as director of development.
• Jason Williams will serve in dual roles as the new chief of UAMS’ Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the College of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and as Arkansas Children’s senior vice president and chief mental and behavioral health officer.
• Home for Healing hired Whitney Vandiver Couch as its development director.
• Tawny Basinger has been promoted to strategic partnerships leader for RMHCA.