Today was a special day in the field of arts in Little Rock.
The Arkansas Repertory Theatre and City of Little Rock welcomed Dr. Jane Chu, the newly elected chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts, for a special update on the award-winning Main Street Creative Corridor plan.
Mayor Mark Stodola opened the presentation on The Rep stage to a large audience, highlighting the main goals of the corridor and the NEA’s integral involvement in the master arts plan on Main Street. Stephen Luoni, director of the University of Arkansas Community Design Center, followed with a “refresher” on the corridor’s future plans for downtown.
In 2011, the city received an NEA “Our Town” grant to support the design phase for this cultural corridor. With the construction of the first phase of this project nearly complete, Luoni looked at the continuing evolvement of Little Rock’s creative community and renewal of a central section of its downtown district.
This includes adding townscaping elements (arcades, marquees and stormwater management landscapes), in addition to creating gateways for shared spaces and building frontage systems with lighting support for a 24/7 live-and-work environment. One of the main things he emphasized was how all features will have multiple purposes.
“[It’s about] creating public space that serves as an ecological component,” Luoni said.
Chu, who grew up in Arkadelphia and received her B.A. in music from Ouachita Baptist University, ended the presentation with remarks on the the well-developed creative corridor plans and how it shows the high value that Little Rock residents place on the arts.
“You have shown how the arts are an essential part of our lives,” she said.
Following the event, Chairman Chu toured the arts organizations that help make up the arts corridor— Ballet Arkansas and Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, along with The Rep.
Thank you to Chu for visiting the epicenter of arts in Little Rock!
Check out the full plan here.