From the Director
Photo by Brian Chilson
A Note from Todd...
Every 10 years, member institutions of the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) must undergo a thorough evaluation in order to maintain their AAM accreditation. This process, which takes eight to sixteen months to complete, is peer-driven and provides invaluable feedback and validation of museum operations, programs, and community impact. The exacting requirements cover everything from high standards of collection care and climate control, to effective and mission-driven leadership, governance, and strategic planning. The reviewers are comprised of museum leaders from around the country who combine a 2-day site visit with rigorous evaluation of policies, programs, mission, internal organization, and finances. I am happy to announce that the AAC not only met all of these standards, but exceeded them in numerous areas. It is worth noting, this would not have happened without the support of our donors, the city, and the people of Little Rock who supported funding a major renovation and expansion of our facility. With this commitment—and a world-renown architecture team on board—the committee was assured that the Arts Center’s facility will soon match the quality and standards of our programming and collection.
Why do we, as a profession, care so much about the standards of our member institutions? A new study from the University of Pennsylvania show that neighborhoods and communities with a concentration of arts and cultural resources (from museums, galleries, and symphonies, to artist’s lofts, bookstores, and theaters) improve health, safety, and well-being. The study compared low and middle-income neighborhoods with a strong arts presence with similar neighborhoods that lacked creative resources. Results showed that in those with arts and cultural access, there was a significant decrease in serious crime (18%), child abuse and neglect (14%), and an equally significant increase in school performance on English and math exams (18%). These results add to an already impressive list of studies that all come to the same conclusion whether their focus is economic impact, educational performance, or human physiology—that the arts improve our lives and create strong communities.
We are proud of the role we play in creating a strong community in central Arkansas. We want to strengthen that role. We will be reaching out to our members over the next few months to gather your input for the building project. Please take the time to participate so that we create the kind of Arts Center that engages you!
Todd A. Herman, Ph.D.