From the Director
Photo by Brian Chilson
A Note from Todd...
As we head into a new year, change and rebirth are on my mind. Change and transformation are at the nucleus of humanity, and yet we struggle and resist at every turn. It’s in our nature. Yet countless quotes, from Heraclitus and Churchill to Bob Dylan and George Foreman (and thousands in between), inform us in one way or another that change, development, growth, and evolution are synonymous and to be embraced.
And so it is with the Arts Center. We have an amazing opportunity to transform, grow, develop, evolve, and yes, change. We have narrowed our search to five extremely talented architects who will bring a new vision to our facility that makes it more efficient, welcoming, and functional within an envelope that is eye-catching and interesting and that adds ‘architecture’ to the works on display at the AAC.
The opportunity to activate change in our immediate area is also part of the vision. Creating beautiful and welcoming spaces within the surrounding park will stimulate increased foot traffic in this area and produce an inspiring destination for ALL community members and visitors.
At the same time, we have finalized a new strategic plan as part of our reaccreditation process. This gave us an opportunity to look deeply into our programs, operations, audience, communications, and outreach to determine how we can most effectively achieve our mission of making the arts and art education available to everyone. We revised our Mission Statement to be more succinct and created a Vision Statement to embrace our goals (read more at arkansasartscenter.org/mission).
We identified six key initiatives that unify the different arms of the institution (Museum School, Museum, Children’s Theatre, State Services) under a shared umbrella of common aims: 1) Enhance the Visitor Experience, 2) Expand Audience and Deepen Engagement, 3) Ensure Fiscal Stability, 4) Elevate Visibility, 5) Encourage Innovation, 6) Embrace Diversity through Deliberate Institutional Initiatives. Through these actions, we are positioning the Arkansas Arts Center to be a leader in the arts for another 50 years and to offer our community a place where they can be inspired, feel welcome, and grow.
As always, we are grateful to you, our members, who have supported and sustained the Arts Center as it has evolved over time. What began as a small regional Museum of Fine Arts in 1937, expanded to the Arkansas Arts Center in 1963, and is now set to transform itself once again. In tech-speak, we would call this AAC 3.0.
Todd A. Herman, Ph.D.