Arkansas Heritage awards $2.5 million for Arkansas cultural institutions

Arkansas Heritage awards $2.5 million for Arkansas cultural institutions
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Arkansas Heritage
Thursday, February 23rd 2023
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Arkansas Heritage Grants

Arkansas Heritage, a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, distributed Arkansas Cultural Institutions Trust Fund awards to recipients on Wednesday, Feb. 22, at the division’s headquarters in Little Rock. Five organizations from across the state received funding from this year’s grant cycle.
Grants were awarded to nonprofit applicants that met the following criteria:

  • Are an Arkansas cultural institution that acquires, conserves, researches, communicates or exhibits works of art, artifacts or works of cultural or historic significance or related items significant to the heritage of Arkansas for the purpose of education, study and enjoyment; and
  • Will use the award for major capitol improvement projects for construction of a new or modified facility, permanent structural addition, change or the restoration of some aspect of the building. The total project cost should be a minimum of $7 million.

“Today’s grant recipients are creating additional opportunities for the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism to showcase our beautiful state and highlight our shared heritage,” said Mike Mills, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. “I look forward to seeing the completed projects and hearing about the positive impact they have on our local communities.”
This year, five organizations were awarded funds through this program:

  • Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts “Reimagining the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts” – $300,000
    The Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts offers an inspiring array of visual, performing arts, and educational experiences. The Museum is committed to creating an inclusive cultural space for the community to engage with diverse artistic perspectives through the AMFA Foundation’s 14,000 object permanent collection, compelling temporary exhibitions, lively theatre, and enriching courses.
  • Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Society, Inc. “The New Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Stella Boyle Smith Music Center” – $250,000

    The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Society, Inc. exists to connect, enrich, inspire and advance Arkansas through the power of music. Incorporated in 1966, the ASO now performs more than 60 concerts per season, which includes the Masterworks and Pops Concerts. In addition, the orchestra has a Chamber Series, River Rhapsodies, at the Clinton Presidential Center, ASO, I.N.C.: Intimate Neighborhood Concerts, and a busy schedule of statewide touring and educational performances in numerous venues, along with collaborations with Ballet Arkansas and the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.

  • Blytheville Air Force Base Cold War Museum, Inc. “The National Cold War Center Exterior Facility Renovation” – $400,000
    The National Cold War Center, located on Eaker Air Force Base, will be recognized as a major tourist attraction in Arkansas that will provide an immersive and authoritative experience in informing, interpreting and honoring the legacy of the Cold War.
  • Sultana Historical Preservation Society, Inc. “Sultana Disaster Museum” – $750,000
    The Sultana Disaster Museum focuses on the steamboat itself, from its construction to destruction and the aftermath of the disaster. Passenger stories are also presented - who they were and where they came from - as well as the stories of the rescuers and eyewitnesses. 
  • U.S. Marshals Museum “U.S. Marshals Museum-Creation and Installation of Interactive and Immersive History Exhibit Gallery” – $800,000
    U.S. Marshals Museum will tell the rich story of America’s oldest federal law enforcement agency, the constitution, and the Rule of Law through immersive and interactive exhibit experiences that will educate and entertain visitors of all ages.

The Arkansas Cultural Institutions Trust Fund Review Committee evaluated grant applications and made final recommendations for awards to the Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. The committee is made up of the director of the Division of Arkansas Heritage, the director of the Division of Arkansas Tourism and the director of an accredited museum within the Division of Arkansas Heritage.

Grant recipients were chosen based on the economic impact of the project, including the impact upon the region where the cultural institution is located as well as tax revenue generated by the project. Additional considerations included the number of visitors, jobs and business creation and the impact on existing businesses as well as overall tourism impact.

“The committee also looked at availability of other project funding sources, overall cost of the project and the project’s timeline,” said Debra Fithen, grants manager, Division of Arkansas Heritage.

The funding for this new grant program comes from the Arkansas Conservation Sales Tax, created by Amendment 75 of 1996.

“The Arkansas Cultural Institutions Trust Fund Grant program furthers the purpose of the Division of Arkansas Heritage,” said Jimmy Bryant, director of the Division of Arkansas Heritage. “The grantees help us tell the story of Arkansas, adding significant details and valuable depth that enriches our ability to preserve, promote and educate about our Arkansas heritage.”

For more information, please contact Lindsey Tugman at [email protected] or call 501-324-9349.

Photos of proposed projects and of today’s event can be found by clicking here.

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