Southern Agenda

Back to Form

Technically Little Rock’s Museum of Fine Arts was completed when it opened in 1937, but some critics felt otherwise. A series of add-ons followed throughout the decades, lending the Arkansas Arts Center, as it came to be known in 1960, the architectural clarity of a poorly played game of Tetris. When the museum closed for yet more renovations in July 2019, the architects at Studio Gang took a different tack. In the newly rechristened $142 million Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts, opening on April 22, a soaring light-filled central atrium links 133,000 square feet of exhibition, performance, and education spaces with eleven acres of land and gardens. Old meets new, inside meets outside. It’s only fitting, then, that one of the inaugural exhibitions, Together, reflects connections—among people and with the natural world. As curator Catherine Walworth says, those connections aren’t just between visitors; they apply to the museum staff as well. “It’s almost like an expression of our own longing to be back together with audiences and with art.”