Arkansas Arts Center Director Tod Herman announced today at a meeting of the Center board of directors that the facility has received a bequest of $225,000 from the estate of Norris Taylor, a CPA from Fort Smith. Taylor's interest in the Arts Center was spurred by a sister who once taught at the Arts Center.
The gift comes in handy; it's approximately the sum the Arts Center is behind in its budget for the year. The AAC will use it to update its 12-year-old dinosaur of a website and make pre-pays on upcoming exhibits.
Herman also talked about a special exhibition he wants to bring to the Arts Center in the summer of 2013, as the Arts Center concludes its celebration of its 50th anniversary — 48 works by Rembrandt, van Dyck, Gainesborough and others from Kenwood House in North London. The show is expensive — $365,000 — and will cost another $90,000 to install, but Herman told the board that he had already received two pledges for $100,000. Though the board doesn't have to vote on exhibitions, board chairman Chucki Bradbury asked that it do so in this case as a show of support and commitment, and the show got unanimous approval from directors. The expense for the exhibition is paltry compared to the $1.7 million budget for the snakebit "World of the Pharaohs," but the board's vote demonstrates it's paying attention.
Board member emerita Jeane Hamilton noted that the new Arts Center's first exhibit in 1963 was "Four Centuries of European Art," and she said it would be a "fitting kickoff to the next 50 years" to exhibit of works of such magnitude. A self-portrait of Rembrandt will be included; it will be exhibited at the Metropolitan this April before joining the other works at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
The rest of the tentative exhibit schedule includes a photographic study of tattoo art by Mark Perrott later this year; blown glass sculpture designed by children and a Smithsonian exhibit on printmaking; installation art about Japanese internment by Wendy Maruyama (to be paired with a show of Edward Weston photographs made to illustrate Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass") in 2013 and a show of 1940s work by Mark Rothko in 2014.