Share This


Project Timeline

FEB 2016

Little Rock residents voted in favor (by 84%) of bonding the revenue from a 2% tax on lodging paid primarily by out of town visitors for the benefit of the Arkansas Arts Center, the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History and Historic MacArthur Park. Plans for the leadership phase of a capital campaign began.

July 2016

A Request for Qualifications was released for selection of a design architect. 23 design firms submitted proposals. The proposals were reviewed by a technical review panel including AAC Executive Director Todd Herman, AAC Chief Curator Brian Lang, Architect Ken Sims, Dean of the Fay Jones School of Architecture Peter MacKeith, Chair of the AAC Buildings and Grounds Committee Kaki Hockersmith and international museum consultant Deborah Frieden.

SEPT 2016

The technical review panel reviewed all proposals and recommended a slate of finalists to the selection committee based on specialized criteria outlined in the RFQ. Five firms were selected as finalists: Allied Works (Portland, Ore./New York), Shigeru Ban (New York/Paris/Tokyo, Japan), Studio Gang (Chicago/New York), Thomas Phifer (New York) and Snohetta (Oslo, Norway/New York/San Francisco)

NOV 2016

The five finalists presented their firm’s general project approach and design philosophies to the selection committee on November 1, 2016. The presentations took place in the AAC lower lobby lecture hall and were open for public viewing. More than 100 people were in attendance at the presentations, including students, community members and media.

DEC 2016

The committee determined the selection of design architect at a public meeting on December 6, 2016. The selection committee felt Studio Gang was the best fit for the project, due to the firm’s elegant and smart approach to architecture, their understanding of the issues posed by the AAC’s current facility, their vision for the center as a cultural beacon for Central Arkansas and their commitment to sustainability and strength as urban planners.

Founded by MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang is an award-winning architecture and urbanism practice based out of Chicago and New York. A recipient of the 2013 National Design Award, Jeanne Gang was also named the 2016 Architect of the Year by the Architectural Review and the firm was awarded the 2016 Architizer A+ award for Firm of the Year. Studio Gang is recognized internationally for a design process that foregrounds the relationships between individuals, communities and environments. The firm has extensive knowledge in museum, theatre and artist studio spaces, with projects ranging from the Writers Theatre in Glencoe, Ill. to the Aqua Tower in Chicago to the expansion of the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

The selection committee included AAC Executive Director Todd Herman, City Director Dean Kumpuris, Director of Little Rock Parks and Recreation Truman Tolefree, AAC Board Chair Mary Ellen Irons, AAC Board members Isabel Anthony, Van Tilbury and Chucki Bradbury, AAC Foundation Chair Bobby Tucker, Little Rock Small Business Development official Chauncey Holloman, and past Director of the Central Arkansas Library System Bobby Roberts.

JAN 2017

An RFQ was issued for selection of Associate Architect to partner on the project. Ten local firms responded to the RFQ, with Allison and Partners, Cromwell and Polk Stanley Wilcox selected as finalists.

FEB 2017

The three finalist firms presented to the associate architect selection committee on February 16, 2017. The selection committee for the associate architect included AAC Executive Director Todd Herman, three representatives from Studio Gang, international museum consultant Deborah Frieden and AAC Board member Sara Hendricks Batcheller. The committee selected Polk Stanley Wilcox as associate architect to partner with Studio Gang on the project.

Polk Stanley Wilcox has previously worked on a number of local projects, including the William J. Clinton Presidential Library, Heifer International Headquarters, the Arkansas Studies Institute and the recently opened Robinson Center expansion and renovation. The firm also has experience working with clients in a variety of industries and focuses on sustainability and creating buildings that operate on minimal energy usage.

On February 28, Jeanne Gang visited Little Rock for a lecture and Q&A at the Arkansas Arts Center. The event was free and open to the public. More than 100 community members, city officials and media were in attendance. Read more about the event here.

MAR 2017

A series of Community Conversations were held in March in partnership with the Clinton School of Public Service graduate program. The conversations were open to the public and were held at the Central Arkansas Library in downtown Little Rock and St. Mark Baptist Church in Little Rock.

APR 2017

A series of Community Conversations were held in April in partnership with the Clinton School of Public Service graduate program. The conversations were open to the public and were held at Laman Library in North Little Rock and the Southwest Community Center in Little Rock. Representatives from Studio Gang and Polk Stanley Wilcox architects, along with SCAPE landscape architects, held workshop and feedback sessions on the project with members of the AAC staff, groups from the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History and MacArthur Park, the Arkansas Parks Department, and AAC affiliate groups.

MAY 2017

Educators were invited to a focus group session with Studio Gang and Polk Stanley Wilcox architects to discuss the educational impacts of the building project, improved collaborative efforts, and how the AAC facility could better meet the needs of their school groups and educational priorities.

Educators and arts organizations invited to attend included the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum, Arkansas National Guard Museum, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Arkansas State Archives, Arkansas State Capitol, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Central Arkansas Library System, Central High School National Historic Site, Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, Heifer Village, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, Museum of Discovery, Old State House Museum, Wildwood Park for the Arts, Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, University of Arkansas Little Rock, Hurricane Creek Elementary, Central High School, University of Arkansas Little Rock, Parkview High School, Arnold Drive Elementary School, Meadow Cliff, Cabot High, Booker Elementary, Western Hills Elementary, Maumelle High, Pine Forest Elementary School, Sylvan Hills High School, Chenal Elementary School, Bryant High, Seventh Street Elementary, North Little Rock Academy, Catholic High, Pulaski Academy and Estem High School.

JUNE 2017

Representatives from ARUP Acoustic Consulting visited the Arts Center to conduct a variety of testing throughout the building. Measurements were taken at night, when the museum was quiet, and during public hours, when the museum is full of visitors, students and gallery tours. The team also hosted feedback sessions with members of the Children's Theatre staff. The ARUP team completed their initial visit by attending the 59th Annual Delta Lecture and Reception on June 8, taking measurements inside the Children's Theatre, throughout the gallery spaces and the Atrium reception space.

JULY–Dec 2017

Discovery and Concept Design work continued throughout the latter half of 2017.

FEB 2018

On February 27, concept designs were revealed. Alongside architect Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang and landscape architect Kate Orff of SCAPE, Todd Herman, executive director of the Arkansas Arts Center, presented a striking architectural design that strengthens the connections between the visual and performing arts in an inclusive space that welcomes a diverse community. The reimagined Arts Center will be a welcoming place that encourages prolonged and meaningful interaction with the collection and programs at the Arts Center – a true gathering place for the community that highlights the interplay between the AAC and the surrounding park. Read more at


Schematic Design work continued throughout the remainder of the Arts Center's fiscal year.

Sep 2018

The Arkansas Arts Center announced the selection of tri-venture Nabholz Construction, Pepper Construction, and Doyne Construction Company to serve as the construction management team, in addition to the selection of six specialty consultants to date that will be working on the project. Read more at

NOV 2018

The Arkansas Arts Center and the Central Arkansas Library System announced a long-term partnership to build valuable creative connections between two Central Arkansas cultural institutions. This collaboration with CALS is the first of several community partnerships the Arkansas Arts Center will offer as its building in MacArthur Park undergoes a transformational renovation. Beginning in the fall of 2019, arts patrons will find Arts Center collection works and programming at a variety of locations around Arkansas, including 15 Central Arkansas Library System locations. More details about additional partnerships will continue to be announced throughout 2019.


FEB 2019

The Arkansas Arts Center (AAC) announced plans to relocate to 2510 Cantrell Road in the Riverdale Shopping Center for two and a half years during the AAC’s upcoming renovation and expansion project. The temporary location is approximately three miles from the AAC’s MacArthur Park site. It will include studio space for Museum School classes, design and rehearsal space for the Children’s Theatre, and additional flexible spaces for offices, retail, facilities storage and educational programs. The AAC’s staff of approximately 100 full-and part-time employees will also office out of the Riverdale location during the renovation. Groundbreaking on the AAC’s transformational building project is scheduled for fall 2019. The MacArthur Park facility will be available for all regular summer programming, with the new temporary Riverdale location opening in September. The renovation and expansion of the MacArthur Park building is anticipated to be completed in early 2022. Read more here

May 2019

On May 15, the Arkansas Arts Center launched Reimagining the Arkansas Arts Center: Campaign for Our Cultural Future, a $128 million special fundraising campaign that will realize a stunning new Arts Center for the 21st Century. Campaign Co-Chairs Harriet and Warren Stephens announced that the Campaign has raised $118 million of its $128 million goal to-date. The project will result in a comprehensive reenvisioning of the Arts Center by renowned architect Jeanne Gang and her practice, Studio Gang. The new Arts Center will include a revitalized landscape, designed by Kate Orff and SCAPE, which will expand the connection between the architecture and MacArthur Park. Both Jeanne Gang and Kate Orff are MacArthur fellows who have received prestigious MacArthur “Genius” grants. The Campaign will also provide transition and opening support, and endowment funds. Read more here.

June 2019

On June 30 at 5:00 p.m., the Arkansas Arts Center's galleries, Museum Shop and restaurant closed to the public as preparations began for a groundbreaking in early fall. Museum School classes would continue in MacArthur Park through August. 

October 2019

On October 1, the Arkansas Arts Center officially broke ground on the $128 million project to reimagine its MacArthur Park building. At the Groundbreaking Ceremony on the MacArthur Park north lawn, Campaign Co-Chairs Harriet and Warren Stephens announced that Reimagining the Arkansas Arts Center: Campaign for Our Cultural Future had raised more than $122.7 million of its $128 million goal to date. At the event, Studio Gang Founding Principal Jeanne Gang, SCAPE Founder and Design Director Kate Orff, Arkansas Arts Center Board of Trustees President Merritt Dyke, Arkansas Arts Center Executive Director Victoria Ramirez, and Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. spoke about the reimagined Arts Center as a cultural beacon for Central Arkansas. Read more here.



Business Hours: Mon – Fri 9 AM - 5 PM    Address: 2510 Cantrell Rd., P.O. Box 2137, Little Rock, Arkansas 72203-2137    Phone: 501.372.4000

Arkansas Arts Center programs are supported in part by: Arkansas Arts Center Foundation; City of Little Rock; City of North Little Rock; Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau;
and the Arkansas Arts Council, a division of Arkansas Heritage, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

© Copyright 2021 Arkansas Arts Center. All rights reserved. All text and images are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without written permission from their respective owners.