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From the Director

The Next Executive Director of the AAC, Dr. Victoria RamirezWhat an honor to be the new Executive Director of the AAC. I feel so fortunate to be leading this incredible institution at this extraordinary time.

As I write this note from my desk at our temporary home in the Riverdale Shopping Center, I find myself thinking about my first day on the job – Tuesday, October 1, 2019, the groundbreaking for the AAC’s new building. It was a sunny, and unseasonably warm Little Rock morning and I was on the stage with some of the most distinguished forces behind the Reimagining the Arkansas Art Center renovation and campaign: Foundation President Bobby Tucker, Board of Trustees President Merritt Dyke, SCAPE Founder and Design Director Kate Orff, Studio Gang Founding Principal Jeanne Gang, Capital Campaign Co-Chairs Harriet and Warren Stephens and Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr.

For weeks I had been drafting my remarks for this monumental event – a moment that marked the start of building construction, announced the impressive gifts that have led to the current campaign amount of $122.7 million, and the introduction of me as your new Executive Director. My remarks were drawn from many conversations from those involved at the AAC, from the past to the present, and my belief in the importance of arts and cultural organizations to a community.

So in this introductory note to you, our most valued supporters and friends, I would like to share an edited version of my remarks from the October 1 groundbreaking. I hope these give you a glimpse into the importance of your participation in our future.

One of the many benefits of being new to a community like Little Rock is that nearly everyone you meet is eager to share what they love about the city and the Arts Center. Long-time members have boasted about the Art Center’s many world-class exhibitions and our impressive collection, my new neighbors have shared with me their own memories of the Museum School and enrolling their children and grandchildren in art classes and I have learned the significant impact of the Children’s Theatre from stories of many young people.

These conversations confirm how beloved the Arts Center is to this community, but they are also a first-hand testament to the power and importance of the arts.

We are here to chart the future of the arts in Little Rock, but it is the dedication of generations of supporters like you, and the history of the Arts Center itself, that has also brought us all here today. A history that dates back to more than 100 years ago when, as early as 1914, a group of intrepid women planted the seed for the Arkansas Arts Center – a dynamic educational institution that would celebrate arts of the highest-quality and be deeply dedicated to the entire community. It would be the very first arts institution of its kind in the region. And here we are pledging that same commitment today.

We pledge that the Arts Center will showcase art that educates, inspires, provokes, and beautifies our lives. The Arts Center will be a place where we gather, as a community, to celebrate, learn, and cross boundaries.

We commit to continually working towards ensuring all people, from young to young at heart, are welcomed and have the opportunity to reap the benefits the arts have to offer. And finally, we pledge that the Arkansas Arts Center will be the cultural beacon for the region and a source of pride that reflects who we are as a people and who we aspire to be: an Arkansas Arts Center that embraces our history and what we care about today. I am honored, and very much look forward to, creating that Arkansas Art Center with all of you.

For more on the groundbreaking, please read more here. Also note that programming and outreach has not slowed down at our Riverdale location and be sure to mark your calendar for a weekend of Pay-What-You-Can Children’s Theatre on Tour performances and an Art of Fashion event at B.Barnett.

On behalf of the AAC staff and board, we wish you the happiest of holidays and a healthy new year.

Dr. Victoria Ramirez

Executive Director
Arkansas Arts Center


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