Southern Arkansas Arts Center revamps building and provides more opportunities for community

MONROE, La. (KNOE) – The Southern Arkansas Center for the Arts has launched a fundraising campaign to raise $2 million for facility improvements in El Dorado, AR.

So far, they have raised more than half of the amount through private funds. They are now reaching out to the community to help raise the remaining amount for the upgrades. SAAC director Laura Allen says the last updates date back 20 years.

“The Art Center is launching a fundraising campaign called to hire to do a renovation and in addition to the facade of our building,” Allen said.

The updates will also include disabled access to make community events more accessible and allow visitors to be more than just spectators.

“It’s not just a place for entertainment. It’s a place where people can come and be creative,” Allen said.

Many people have benefited from the programs offered by the centre. A student volunteer, Mason Halstead, has been coming for 9 years and says she thinks the center is a second home.

“As soon as I moved in here, I jumped in,” Halstead explained. “I started more in shows.”

She is usually a stage performer, but has recently worked in the background.

“I enjoyed doing the set and painting and lighting and learning to do all the behind-the-scenes stuff more than I ever thought I would,” Mason said.

She said she felt the center gave her knowledge she could use in her future career.

“I know a lot of what’s going on behind the scenes now, which I don’t think a lot of actors know. And I think that helps a lot to know what everything is really about in a show,” Mason said. “It’s just a lot of learning and I really enjoyed it.”

With updates to the center, they will be able to provide similar opportunities to even more community members and other southern Arkansas residents.

Copyright 2022 KNOE. All rights reserved.

William E. Bennett