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The Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts (AMFA), the oldest and largest cultural institution of its kind in the state, today announced their grand reopening on Saturday, April 22, 2023, following an historic renovation project that is dramatically transforming the museum’s main building and its grounds in Little Rock’s MacArthur Park.
“For six years, a dedicated team has been working to create an inclusive cultural space that inspires and builds community. Not only will the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts offer an array of visual arts, performing arts, and educational opportunities, it will provide a beautiful venue for people to connect with each other,” said Dr. Victoria Ramirez, AMFA’s Executive Director.
Designed by world-renowned architect Jeanne Gang and her architecture and urban design practice, Studio Gang, the project includes a new 133,000-square-foot building that will house the Windgate Art School, Harriet and Warren Stephens Galleries, Governor Winthrop Rockefeller Lecture Hall, Terri and Chuck Erwin Collections Research Center, a performing arts theater, a modern restaurant, and more. On the reopening date, AMFA will also unveil eleven acres of landscaping in MacArthur Park by award- winning landscape architect Kate Orff of SCAPE Landscape Architecture.
Harriet Stephens, AMFA Capital Campaign Co-Chair and Building Committee Chair, said: “Over the past few years, we’ve been privileged to collaborate with an extraordinary group of architects, artisans, contractors, and skilled tradespeople to re-envision the museum inside and out as a world-class arts destination – and to keep the project moving forward, even through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic. One of our most influential predecessors, Winthrop Rockefeller, always felt this institution was far more than a museum, and it’s been incredibly exciting to see the shared vision for its next chapter come to life.”
AMFA Capital Campaign Co-Chair Warren Stephens commented, “This is an extraordinary project. My family’s roots, like so many others in Arkansas, run deep. So the excitement is thoroughly shared across the state and beyond, as evidenced by the success of the capital campaign, which has now raised $150.4 million, far exceeding our original goal. In fact, today we are announcing a new goal of $155 million.”
There are 30 donors at the 21st Century Founders level who have contributed gifts between $1 million and $35 million, 95 donors at the Leadership level, contributing between $100,000 and $999,999, as well as 96 contributors at the Major Donor level, giving between $25,000 and $99,999. Numerous other individuals, families, businesses, and foundations have also made generous donations at every gift level.
“This is truly a public-private partnership,” Harriet Stephens added, “made possible through the generosity, commitment, passion for arts and culture, and love for our community and state.”
The capital campaign (“Reimagining the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts”) includes a $31,245,000 contribution from the City of Little Rock, generated through a hotel tax revenue bond approved by voters.
“The reimagined Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts will be a beacon not just for downtown, or even for all of Little Rock, but for the region,” said Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. “Not only is the building’s design a welcoming one, but the programming will emphasize the belief shared by the Museum and my administration that equity in access to the arts is important for all. The City is proud of its role in making this dream a reality.”
Overwhelming private support to date has nearly quintupled the impact of the public contribution to the project. Lead donors include Windgate Foundation, Harriet and Warren Stephens, the Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust, Terri and Chuck Erwin, and the State of Arkansas.
“The enthusiasm has been incredible, and the new fundraising goal will allow us to far surpass the initial scope of the project,” said Warren Stephens. “It is the perfect time to support AMFA, and we ask our patrons to consider giving a special donation, or even an additional donation, in support of this campaign.”
At the announcement, a new marketing campaign, Perfect Timing, was introduced, launching a series of announcements highlighting the exhibitions, programming, and membership opportunities the community can anticipate when AMFA opens in 2023. To build further excitement, AMFA unveiled a LED wall inside the new building with a giant clock counting down to opening day, visible through the 32-foot, second-floor Art Perch window overlooking 9th Street.
Dr. Ramirez concluded, “The transformation is full speed ahead. It’s T minus 219 days until April 22 – when we will fittingly invite the entire community to be the very first to enjoy our amazing new museum.”
For more information on how to participate in the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts’ capital campaign, email the museum’s development office at [email protected].