Arkansas Arts Center Image

Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat.; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun.

Thirty years ago, the Arkansas Arts Center,the state's largest until the opening of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville in 2011, adopted a smart strategy for an institution with limited dollars: It began to build a collection of works on paper. The nationally recognized collection includes works by contemporary new world artists as well as European masters. The Arts Center, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2013, carved out another high-profile niche with its recognition (and collecting) of contemporary crafts as one of the most exciting American art forms today. The Arts Center's Children's Theatre is hugely popular, selling out its seasons. The Museum School offers classes in drawing, painting, pottery, photography, jewelry and more. The Arts Center also manages the Terry House community museum at 411 E. 7th St., two blocks north, where various exhibits are hung in an antebellum home once owned by one of the state's most prominent families.

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