South Arkansas Arts Center revamps building, brings more opportunities to community

The South Arkansas Arts Center is working to raise $2 million in funds to update the facilities to include better handicap access and more classroom space.
Published: Jul. 14, 2022 at 10:52 AM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) -The Southern Arkansas Arts Center started a capital fundraising campaign to raise $2 million for improvements to the facility in El Dorado, AR.

So far they’ve raised over half of the amount through private funding. They are now reaching out to the community to help raise the remaining amount for improvements. SAAC Director Laura Allen says the last updates were 20 years ago.

“The Art Center is starting a capital campaign called reaching hire to do a renovation and in addition to the front of our building,” said Allen.

The updates will also include handicap access to make community events more accessible and will allow for visitors to be more than just spectators.

“It is not just a place to come for entertainment. It’s a place where people can come and be creative,” Allen said.

Many individuals have benefited from the programs that the center provides. One student volunteer, Mason Halstead, has been coming for 9 years and said she feels the center is a second home.

“As soon as I moved here, I just hopped right in,” Halstead explained. “I started off more in the shows.”

She is typically a stage performer but has been working in the background recently.

“I’ve enjoyed doing the set and painting and doing lights and learning how to do all of the backstage stuff more than I ever thought that I would,” Mason said.

She said it feels the center has given her knowledge that she can use in her future career.

“I know a lot of what goes on behind the scenes now, which I don’t think a lot of the actors do. And I think that that helps a lot with knowing what all really does go into a show,” Mason said. “It’s just a lot of learning and I’ve really enjoyed that.”

With the updates to the center, they will be able to provide similar opportunities to even more of the community and other residents in South Arkansas.

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