by Robert Bell
The board of the Arkansas Community Arts Cooperative announced this morning that the six board members still active in the nonprofit voted to dissolve the organization last month.
Former executive director Chad McGriff issued a statement citing serious financial difficulties, as well as "lack of support from the community, dwindling membership and lack of interest in the downtown Little Rock scene" as the primary reasons why the organization is ending.
A year ago, the ACAC moved from its location on Rodney Parham Road to a space on Main Street that is now home to the music venue and arts space Super Happy Fun Land.
“Many of the board members have served tirelessly, and we’re getting to the point where we don’t have the energy and the activity to continue the leadership roles that are required to keep the organization going and doing what it should be doing," McGriff stated in the release. "Membership has dissipated since moving to Downtown and a non-profit such as ACAC working as a cooperative and not a full-time business just cannot succeed in Downtown Little Rock, especially without community or City support.”
The ACAC was formed in 2001 "to help artists and entertainers needing a boost in Central Arkansas and around the state," according to the release.
The full press release is on the jump.
GENERAL PRESS RELEASE
From: Chad McGriff - Executive Director Arkansas Community Arts Cooperative
Date: July 15, 2011
After 10 years of service, Arkansas Community Arts Cooperative (ACAC) a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing resources to artists and the community will be dissolving in August.
ACAC Executive Director, Chad McGriff, sent out a press release on July 15 stating the organization “had reached a crisis in existence, and can no longer provide resources to the community and remain a viable link to the artists of Central Arkansas.”
Founded in 2001, ACAC worked to help artists and entertainers needing a boost in Central Arkansas and around the state. Providing a venue and equipment to jump start an active artistic community was the key to ACAC. Moving to Downtown Little Rock in July of 2010, created a hole in the organization that couldn’t be filled due to lack of support from the community, dwindling membership, and lack of interest in the Downtown Little Rock scene.
During its June 2011 meeting, Board members voted to dissolve the organization by a majority vote. The organization is in financial trouble, it has been unable to attract new members, recruiting new board members is at a stand-still, and sponsorship is non-exisistant.
“The board is set up to have up to 13 board members. We currently have 6 active Board members, and several of them are considering terminating their board membership at the end of this year,” said McGriff. “Many of the board members have served tirelessly, and we’re getting to the point where we don’t have the energy and the activity to continue the leadership roles that are required to keep the organization going and doing what it should be doing. Membership has dissipated since moving to Downtown and a non-profit such as ACAC working as a cooperative and not a full-time business just cannot succeed in Downtown Little Rock, especially without community or City support.”
Membership dues and rental fees from those that chose to use the cooperative just have not been enough to sustain the ACAC. Rent, utilities, and daily expenses have overwhelmed ACAC, the Board, and members from being able to provide the community with what ACAC was established for and its mission. McGriff was relieved of full time duties in June, due to the group being unable to pay a salaried staff member, and was asked to stay on part time, mostly voluntarily to secure a stable dissolve of the organization. The Board is in Executive Session and is only participating in the steps to dissolve the organization and meet the requirements of the State of Arkansas.
Despite the actions being taken, ACAC hopes that it has helped the community the last 10 years in providing a venue and resources for those artists and entertainers that have come into contact with the group. So many people have been involved with ACAC throughout the years, and it is this legacy that ACAC hopes it will be remembered for in the future. ACAC tried to break the barriers by moving Downtown and trying to help revitalize the area with artistic expression, but without support, no organization can do it alone. The Board members of ACAC wish to thank the many who have helped along the way and a better brighter future for those artists and entertainers that have been a part of ACAC for so many years.