Arkansas Symphony to build multipurpose space for music education, offices, concert hall

Posted on: January 13, 2022

A design rendering of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s Stella Boyle Smith Music Center, set to open in 2023.

“The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra announced Wednesday that it is planning to build a new state-of-the-art, 20,000-square-foot music center in Little Rock’s East Village,” writes Eric E. Harrison in Wednesday’s (1/12) Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “The $9 million Stella Boyle Smith Music Center … will be between the Clinton Presidential Center and Heifer International.… Private fundraising … has brought in $5.4 million…. Plans call for a [300-seat concert] hall … practice spaces; music classrooms; climate-controlled instrument storage; and ‘additional flexible space to serve future generations of Arkansans,’ according to a news release. The orchestra’s education programs include … violin and cello instruction to more than 350 students from across the state and … nearly 200 students enrolled in two full orchestras and a strings-only ensemble. The orchestra also operates a community orchestra for adult amateurs…. ‘Orchestra concerts will still be at Robinson,’ [CEO Christina Littlejohn] said…. The building will also include a dedicated streaming studio [to] provide access … to Arkansans in nursing homes, retirement centers, libraries, schools.… The new facility will also provide new space for the orchestra’s administrative offices…. The orchestra board is determined to have the complete sum … in hand before starting construction [and open the center] by July 2023.”