$2.17 million gift to Arts Center | Rock Candy

$2.17 million gift to Arts Center

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Warren Stephens
  • Warren Stephens

The Arkansas Arts Center no longer owes the Arts Center Foundation $2.17 million borrowed in 2008 and 2009 to keep its doors operating. The foundation has essentially forgiven the two lines of credit that helped keep the Arts Center's doors open during its "World of the Pharaohs" exhibit (read here for background).

Last May, two anonymous donors gave the foundation challenge gifts of $1 million each. The board of directors of the foundation, the non-profit that contributes operating support to the Arts Center and holds its collection, met the challenge, raising $2 million from its membership and other long-time Arts Center supporters, Warren Stephens announced at the Arts Center's annual meeting just concluded.

"Based on the success of this campaign and the bright future we see ahead, the foundation directors unanimously agreed to gift two million one hundred seventy thousand dollars to the Arts Center," Stephens said in prepared remarks. "This gift will relieve the Arts Center from both the debt to the foundation and the interest payment on that debt. It will provide the opportunity for our new director and the Arts Center to move forward in the most positive way."

Stephens said after the meeting that he was not one of the two $1 million donors. He said the $2 milllion match came from directors (with full participation) and long-time supporters of the Arts Center, though he would not give a number. He said the anonymous gifts sparked a surge in giving, since donors knew their dollars would be matched.

Stephens, who is president of the foundation, also announced that the foundation acquired 197 works of art this year — 163 drawings, eight paintings, five photographs and 17 works of contemporary craft.

Twenty-three works were purchased with the help of various contributors. The remaining 174 works were donated to the Arts Center by Jackye and Curtis Finch Jr., John and Robyn Horn; the Diane and Sandy Besser Collection; by bequest from Elsie and Howard Stebbins; the Colleen Brown Wagner Trust, the Albert Pike Memorial Scottish Rite Temple, Mattie and Dr. Donald Leonard; artist John Falato, the Sam Francis Foundation; Arkansas Hospice; artist Donald Holden, Harmon-Meek Gallery, Jack Soultanian, artist Daniel Massad; artist Bruce Metcalf; Sue Williams, the Stonehill Family; Claire Shane Lohnes and artist Milly Moorhead West.

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