Arkansas River Valley Arts Center
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Arkansas River Valley Arts CenterGeneral Information


The staff at the exness Arkansas River Valley Arts Center will be happy to assist you and answer any questions you may have. Just ask to visit with any of the following;

Executive Director - Betty LaGrone

Administrative Assistant -Erica Smith

Teaching Artist - Winston J. Taylor

Kids-at-Art Teacher -Pam Blascyk

View hand crafted pottery at the Arkansas River Valley Arts Center
Hours of Operation

The Arts Center is open to the public from exness thailand 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday thru Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Friday.
To schedule a group tour at another time, please call 479-968-2452 or email



The ARV Arts Center is located at 1001 East B Street, Russellville, AR exness th. We are near the corner of Knoxville and East Main Street. It is easy to locate the city-owned Hughes Community Center at the corner of Parkway and Knoxville Street.....then you are almost here - turn south on Knoxville Street and go to the next driveway on your left and park in our spacious parking lot. If you prefer, park at the Hughes Community Center and we are just a walk across the footbridge behind the Center in Russellville City Park.

For even more directions on our location be sure to look at the
Map and Directions.

A Brief History

The Arkansas River Valley Arts Center is a private nonprofit community organization.

In June of 1981 the first public meeting was held to organize the Arkansas River Valley Arts Center. After an initial donation from Russellville Junior Auxiliary and commitments from community leaders, the Center officially opened its doors to the public at an all day celebration on October 7, 1981.

The Mission Statement of the Arts Center was adopted early in its history. The mission is to create opportunities for education, participation, appreciation and enjoyment of the arts for all people. Our vision is to encourage youth and adults to improve the qaulity of life for themselves, their families and community and strengthen their capacity to make meaningful contributions to society through art. We serve the River Valley area of Pope, Johnson, and Yell counties.

The first location was at 1008 West Main Street, Russellville. In the fall of 1984 the City of Russellville gave the center a long-term lease on its current home at 1001 East B Street in the Russellville City Park in a building that once served as the bathhouse for the Russellville City swimming pool. The building was, of course, marvelously renovated to our current facility that holds a gallery, gift shop, offices, and a classroom. On the premises is also our pottery studio and kiln building.

The Arts Center receives support from a variety of sources. At present we receive income from the Arkansas Arts Council, River Valley United Way, other corporate grants, fundraisers, and annual memberships, which include individuals and businesses. The remainder is generated from class fees, commission on sales of artwork, ticket sales, workshop fees, donations for specific programs and various other miscellaneous contributions such as memorials and an annual fundraising event.

One of the unique features of our Arts Center is that we have two teaching artists who are permanent staff members. Winston Taylor joined the Arts Center in 1990. He is an outstanding potter, or ceramic artists, who produces and shows his work throughout the state and nation. Winston developed the renowned "Kids-At-Art" program for which he received the Arkansas Arts Award for Arts in Education in 1993. Each year the Arts Center facilitates Kids-At-Art, a dynamic program that meets the need for a fully developed multi-disciplinary art curriculum. With the assistance of Carla Swanson, Winston taught the program to all 4th and 5th grade students in the Russellville School system until the 2006-07 school year when legislation decreed that public schools must hire art teachers. Kids-At-Art is still taught to all students at Community Christian School and to home school students.

The Arts Center offers a full schedule of classes and workshops throughout the year for adults and children. The purpose of the classes is to provide art instruction and appreciation to our residents and also, to utilize the wealth of local artists' talents. Our programming has expanded to serve the needs of the citizens of the tri-county area.

Present and past services include:
Visual Arts:
Classes, in all disciplines at graduating levels.

Gallery displays of local, regional, national, and international artists.

Extensive art in education programs in the schools in the tri-county area.

Gift Shop for local artist to market their works.
Scholarship program

Sunday, Funday, monthly series of free art activities for families.
Performing Arts:
Classes, in all disciplines at graduating levels.
Dance, music, theater, and film
Theater program
Children's Theater teaching and performances
Youth Theater teaching and performances
Community Theater teaching and performances
Storytellers Group
String instrument lessons
Partnership with Arkansas Tech University

Our motto has always been "Art is for Everyone". No one is ever turned away because of race, color, creed, religion, gender, or economic situation.

The Arts Center hosts a Local Artist Registry, which includes information about area artists including name, address, description of work, and training. Through this registry we are able to help community members locate a particular type of art work, solicit teachers for workshops and classes at the Arts Center or offsite, use this as a resource for gallery shows and gift shop merchandise, and are able to host a fellowship among area artists where they can help each other improve their works. The Arts Center has a gallery with new exhibits monthly. Admittance is free to the public, there is usually a gallery opening reception held for the artists at the beginning of the exhibition. Annual shows include Collegiate Competition open to any college student in the state, a statewide High School Competition, Art from the Heart and local artist exhibit. Other exhibits are from area, state and nationally renowned artists.

Many of you are familiar with our annual summer musical. This is a collaborative effort with Arkansas Tech University. Around the Christmas Holidays, we produce The Christmas Story, a retelling of the birth of Christ in song and dance. The Arts Center produces both the summer musical and Christmas Story locally, showcases local talent and is a hands-on-training ground for all aspects of theater production from marketing to directing. Another summer program offered by the Arts Center is Summer Arts Camps. Through this program, children enjoy a day camp setting, immersed in a variety of art forms led by artists.

We hope to become know as THE Birthday Party Place by quickly transforming the classroom into a fun party room.

Our plans are to be able to offer more classes off-site to some un-or under-served residents. Many reliable studies reflect that Art is an effective tool to help troubled youth shift direction into a more positive medically impaired residents senior citizens enjoyably fill otherwise lonely physically and mentally challenged citizens develop their own abilities.

Our major annual fundraiser is a ticketed event with live and silent auction, refreshments, heavy hors d'oeuvres, and entertainment.

E-mail and Web Site are now integral means of communication and sharing information along with a monthly newsletter.

The Art Center contributes a great deal to the quality of life and economy of our community, which only adds to the value of the Russellville area. The ARV Arts Center is always pleased to have residents as members, Board members, patrons, and volunteers.

We pay special tribute to all past and current members, those who have served on the Board of Directors, as officers and staff, and especially in the leadership role of President. A List of Presidents includes:

Bonita Church 1982-1983
Donna Van Horn 1983-1984
M. Olin Cook 1984-1985
Chris Martin-Fryer 1985-1986
Sherry Sanford 1986-1987
Michelle Meason 1988-1989
Betty LaGrone 1989-1990
Maysel Teeter 1990-1991
Toni Laws 1991-1992
Dr. Jim Collins 1992-1993
T.L "Todd" Sweeden 1993-1994
Donn Legge 1994-1995
Robert Holmes 1995-1996
Linda Follis 1997-1998
Gordon McLerran 1998-1999 DECEASED
Carol Thomason 1999-2001
Jeff Aulgur 2001-2002
Gracie Clark 2002-2003
Betty Price 2004-2005
Dennis Overman 2006-Current

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