contentsFort Smith AR Chamberads

The Arts

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The arts are alive in Fort Smith! Live bands, symphony performances, theatrical productions and art exhibits highlight local talent and attract special guests. The Fort Smith Symphony features the oldest orchestra in the state and performs multiple concerts each year. The Fort Smith Little Theatre is an award-winning organization that casts local talent.

The University of Arkansas Fort Smith Season of Entertainment features national touring theatre and musical productions as well as the "Season on the Green," a series of free outdoor performances. Every fall, the Riverfront Blues Fest electrifies Harry E. Kelley Park and draws famous artists from across the country.

Garrison Avenue regularly welcomes musicians and other artists for live music performances and art shows at local venues downtown.

In the Greater Fort Smith Region, creativity abounds. From dance recitals to the latest Broadway musical to the latest gallery showing at the Town Club, Fort Smith boasts a full list of art options to keep you entertained.

Fort Smith Regional Art Museum (RAM)
1601 Rogers Avenue
Fort Smith, AR 72901
479-784-2787
info@fsram.org
www.fsram.org

arts center

RAM (Regional Art Museum) originated in 1948 under the Arkansas Association of University Women. In 1951 the Associated Artists of Fort Smith evolved and began exhibiting art and holding classes in various locations throughout Fort Smith. In 1960 an old Victorian home was purchased, and in 1968 the Fort Smith Art Center was incorporated. The Art Center offered a valuable service for local and regional artists by offering valuable space for its artists for five decades.

The January 2013 opening of the museum located at 1601 Rogers Avenue in the heart of Fort Smith marks a major turning point for this organization. The new Fort Smith Regional Art Museum offers greatly expanded programming and exhibitions. Arvest Bank made the expansion possible by donating the 16,000 square foot building to RAM in January 2009, following a $211 million dollar buyout of Superior Federal Bank in 2003.

In 2014 RAM won the prestigious 2013 Preservation through Rehabilitation Award from the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas, as well as the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Gold Award. The architects of the newly renovated museum, Polk, Stanley Wilcox, are known for their work such as the William J. Clinton Presidential Library, Heifer International World Headquarters, and the Arkansas Studies Institute (ASI) of Little Rock.

In addition to ongoing exhibitions the museum offers classes for children and adults, lectures, opening receptions, galas, and artist-led workshops. The museum offers facility rentals and a specialty gift shop featuring one-of-a-kind items created by local and regional artists.

The new state-of-the-art Museum meets national standards and presents an exciting opportunity for cultural growth in the region. RAM is climate-controlled and fully equipped to facilitate nationally and internally recognized traveling exhibitions.

Fort Smith Little Theatre
401 North 6th Street
479-783-2966
www.fslt.org

The Fort Smith Little Theatre is the oldest continuously operating community theatre in the state and has been bringing live theatre to western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma since 1947. The volunteer organization regularly treats guests to dramas, musicals and comedies – keeping Fort Smith entertained. Tickets range from $5 to $25 and some opening night performances include complimentary hors d’oeuvres and champagne prior to each performance and dessert at intermission.

Fort Smith Symphony
479-452-7575
www.fortsmithsymphony.org

symphony

Entering its 85th season, the Fort Smith Symphony is the oldest orchestra in the state of Arkansas and performs classical, pop, youth and community concerts in Fort Smith and the surrounding communities. The symphony boasts excellent performers from Arkansas and across the country and received the 2005 Arkansas Governor’s Arts Award for Arts in Education. Conducted by Music Director John Jeter, the symphony performs regularly at the Arkansas Best Performing Arts Center. Tickets range from $13 to $30 with shows for youths and adults alike.

Western Arkansas Ballet
4701 Grand Avenue
479-785-0152

The Western Arkansas Ballet is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the fine arts through quality dance education, training and performance. The Ballet’s Academy offers a wide array of classes, from creative movement to ballet to jazz, for children and adults. The Ballet’s company performs regularly throughout the year, including performances with the Fort Smith Symphony and the annual Nutcracker Ballet performed each December.

Young Actors Guild
1310 North 32nd Street
479-782-1696
www.yagonline.org

Created in the late 1950s or early 1960s, the Young Actors Guild (YAG) was a Fort Smith Junior League project designed to introduce the children of Fort Smith to the theatre. Today, YAG offers Fort Smith’s young thespians a chance in the spotlight and entertains the community with musicals and plays on a regular basis. Recently, the organization partnered with the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith Academy of the Art’s program to offer acting classes for children.

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