Arkansas Arts

The 48 Hour Film Project

This weekend Arkansas filmmakers will once again step into the international spotlight as part of the annual 48-hour Film Project. Area film professionals and hobbyists will compete against teams as far away as Amsterdam and Shanghai to create the best short movie. Teams have 48 hours to write, film, edit, and score their entries. Those that meet the deadline are screened and judged locally and the Best Picture from each city continues on to be judged against other cities.

Robinson Auditorium
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

On the one year anniversary of Little Rock’s historic Robinson Auditorium closing to begin a nearly $70 million renovation, a topping out ceremony was held Wednesday. The final steel beam that will be put in place on the expanded structure was signed by local officials, members of the design and construction teams and other guests. Work is scheduled to be completed by November 2016.

Robinson Auditorium Center Music Hall
City of Little Rock

As workers begin to rebuild the interior of Little Rock's Robinson Auditorium, a key goal of the nearly $70 million renovation is to greatly improve its acoustics.

There had long been complaints about how live music sounded in the venue, which is the home of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. There were "dead spots" in the hall where the audience couldn’t properly hear the orchestra or all the instruments. That’s why the facility has been gutted and is being rebuilt inside the existing structure as part of the voter-approved project, funded with a two percent tourism tax.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Work is nearing the halfway point on a nearly $70 million project to renovate Little Rock’s historic Robinson Auditorium.

Nearly everything has now been ripped out, including the stage, balcony, interior walls and floors, leaving little more than the outside shell of the building and its support beams.

The Little Rock Film Festival continues through the weekend. Nearly 40 of the films competing for honors this year were made in the state. KUAR's Chris Hickey recently caught up with one festival programmer to talk about how the festival is shaped by these Arkansas-made movies.


Disclaimer: KUAR is a sponsor of the 2015 Little Rock Film Festival

UALR Announces $20.3 Million Grant For Arts Building

May 11, 2015

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock will build a 71,636-square-foot visual arts and applied design building thanks to a $20.6 million donation Monday from the Siloam Springs-based Windgate Charitable Foundation, the university announced today.

The grant for construction and equipment is the second largest in the university’s history. The university’s chancellor, Dr. Joel Anderson, said the gift is “transformational” for both the UALR Department of Art and the institution.

Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture / Jo McDougall

Born in 1935, poet Jo McDougall grew up on a rice farm in the Arkansas Delta. She began writing at an early age, first publishing in her early twenties. Since then, she has published five poetry books and one memoir and has taught at universities in Arkansas and Kansas. In the Home of the Famous Dead, her book of collected poems, is out now from the University of Arkansas Press.

The 14th annual Ozark Foothills FilmFest begins this weekend in Batesville. KUAR's Chris Hickey spoke with some of those involved about how it has fostered community in a remote, rural area of the State.


Judy Pest founded the Ozark Foothills FilmFest with her husband Bob more than a decade ago with the hopes of creating a cultural and artistic dialogue among the sparsely populated communities of North Central Arkansas.

“The basic concept is cultural equity,” she said.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

It took workers using two excavators a little less than an hour to bring down the old Cinema 150 movie theater in Little Rock. The dome-shaped building at the corner of University and Asher Avenues ran many of the top films of its day.

Built in the late 1960s with a screen that curved at a 150 degree angle, it gave movies a big impact.  The theater was closed in 2003, considered functionally obsolete for having just one screen in an era of multiplexes. But it still had a very special place in the hearts of many who saw films there.

Esse Purse Museum
David Monteith / KUAR News

It’s the only one of its kind in the United States and one of only three in the world. Located on Main Street in Little Rock is the ESSE Purse Museum. Laura Hardy, public relations director, says when people learn about it, “The reaction is usually like, ‘What the heck is a purse museum’ or, ‘Oh my gosh that is so cool.”