Aerial view of MacArthur Park.
The Arkansas Arts Center
was closed today, due to a power outage in MacArthur Park, and the MacArthur Museum of Military History was likely closed as well. Phones at the latter were being answered by machines.
It's a good thing it was today and not next Thursday, Aug. 4, when the Arts Center is holding an open house for architectural firms interested in applying for the planned renovation and expansion will be held. The Arts Center announced in June its Request For Qualifications
for a design architect was ready for interested parties.
The RFQ puts the budget for "hard construction" at around $46 million (this figure is not set in stone, the Arts Center says). Taxes on hotel rooms will provide the revenues to issue bonds for the project, and private funding has been promised, though not announced. The RFQ also says the project includes 90,000 square feet in renovations and new construction of $40,000 for new construction and $35,000 for landscaping. The RFQ says that the renovation and expansion, which includes more exhibition space to display the Arts Center's collection and added curation space to take care of it, outreach to the community, more programming and promoting tourism, is crucial to the Arts Center's mission and necessitated by competition from Bentonville:
Through strategic planning initiatives, staff and board retreats, and community sessions with stakeholders and the public, it became clear that the state of the current facility was an obstacle to the AAC’s ability to fulfill its mission and vision and prepare for the future. It was also recognized that the opening of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas in 2011 raised the bar for museum architecture in the state and increased awareness of the transformative possibilities of inspiring architecture.
Gallery space, according to the preliminaries put forth in the RFQ, would expand by 3,200 square feet, educational space by 9,053 square feet; the Chilldren's Theatre by 5,700 square feet; collections management by 10,555 square feet and administrative offices by 5,053 square feet.
(You can read the RFQ here.)