Arts in Arkansas

Arts in Arkansas

Day 1
Exploring Downtown Little Rock

Little Rock is full of surprises and its museums and galleries are no exception.  After settling into your hotel, choose from any number of museums and galleries to visit in the downtown area. 

Arkansas Arts Center for the visual and performing arts is a Little Rock gem. An art museum and active center for the visual and performing arts, it features a world-class international collection of art, live theatre productions, art classes, lectures, films, family programs, shopping and dining   something for everyone.
Inside the Arts Center is the award-winning Best Impressions restaurant, the perfect place to enjoy a mid-morning snack or delicious lunch. In 2013, it will mark its 50th anniversary and will be just one of four locations in the U.S. to host the Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: The Treasures of Kenwood House, London exhibit from June to September, 2013.

Next, proceed to the Terry House for an on-site tour of the home and grounds.  We suggest calling Jean Heslip at 501-396-0394 to let her know you are coming.
The Historic Arkansas Museum interprets Arkansas history and culture using material evidence, artifacts and on-site historic homes as primary tools. The museum provides further interaction with these sources through living history programs, publications, video productions, lectures and educational programming to illustrate ideas, values and lifestyles found throughout the states history. The museum was founded by Louise Loughborough, who ran a one-woman campaign in the late 1930s for the Arkansas Legislature to preserve and restore the remaining buildings on Block 32 of the original city of Little Rock.  In 2001 the museum held a grand opening for new 51,000-square-foot museum center including gallery exhibition space, atrium, performance theatre, and education and research wing.

The Museum of Discovery, located in the River Market District at 500 President Clinton Ave., is a science and technology museum for all ages that was closed for much of 2011 and received a $9.2 million grant for renovation from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. The museum reopened in 2012 and contains interactive exhibits that really get the mind and body working. Admission is $10 for adults $8 for children 12 and younger.

The William J. Clinton Presidential Center has more than 100,000 items given to President Clinton during the presidency by heads of state and other and features rotating exhibits.  From March 3 to September 16, 2012, The Clinton Center has partnered with the St. Louis Cardinals to bring this exciting exhibit entitles Play Ball! Contact the center for the most up to date exhibit information at (501) 374-4242. Cafe 42 is located inside the Clinton Library, and this full service restaurant will make you want to linger longer! 

Lunch in one of the museums or in the River Market and rest your feet. 

The Vogel Schwarz Sculpture Garden features natural terraces and walkways designed by the City of Little Rocks Leland Couch, Mark Webre and John Kinkade of the National Sculptors Guild. The design creates a more intimate space to view smaller works within the Riverfront Park and is ideal for hosting receptions, and visitors can enjoy the sculptures in solitude. This dynamic sculpture garden is located north of the Peabody Hotel.

The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies and the Cox Building Arkansas Studies Institute house four art galleries  including a retail gallery  featuring the work of Arkansas artists and art related to the state. The exhibit galleries host rotating exhibits including works from the Central Arkansas Library System's permanent collection. In addition to these galleries, several library locations throughout the system host various exhibits throughout the year.

The Argenta Arts District is just across the Main Street Bridge in downtown North Little Rock. This historic district contains a host of small local art galleries, an architectural gallery, a community performance hall, and a pottery studio and shop. 

Hearne Fine Art Gallery was first established in 1988 as Pyramid Gallery. It is considered as one of the finest galleries in Little Rock. When the gallery was first established, it specifically catered to African American material until expansion to accommodate more dynamic and modern artists in every medium. The gallery houses excellent collections of contemporary art in several mediums such as oil paint, coal, water colors, art on paper, bronze, clay and several others. The gallery is very popular among those art enthusiasts that want to learn more about contemporary artists and modern trends in art.

Day 2

After a restful night and a filling breakfast at the hotel, begin your journey to Crystal Bridges, Arkansass newest world-class art museum. The building that houses the collection was designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie, an architect, urban planner, educator, theorist, and author who embraces a comprehensive and humane design philosophy. The collection spans five centuries of American masterworks ranging from the Colonial era to present day. The museum is open Monday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 to 6 and Wednesday and Friday from 11 to 9. The museum is closed on Tuesdays as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Admission to the museum is free. Enjoy lunch at the museums onsite restaurant Eleven

Crystal Bridges is the dream of Alice Walton, youngest heir of the Wal Mart empire, and is the only U.S. destination on Travel and Leisures list of Hottest Travel Destinations of 2012.

For a more comprehensive list of Little Rock galleries or driving directions to Crystal Bridges, contact the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau.