Throughout the year, Little Rock celebrates culture and tradition through a variety of performances, art exhibitions, and festivals.
The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra (ASO) celebrates its 43rd season this year. With an annual budget of over 3.5 million dollars, the symphony performs thirty concerts each season at the Robinson Center Music Hall in downtown Little Rock. Thanks to donations from individuals and corporations, the ASO is able to invite famous names to join in its performances, including former president Bill Clinton, former poet laureate Maya Angelou, and singer Aretha Franklin. The symphony is comprised of Arkansas' most talented professional musicians and commands an audience of over 250,000 each year.
Founded in 1978, Ballet Arkansas is the premiere Ballet company in the state. With high standards for its young performers and a reputation for excellence, the Ballet's annual performance of The Nutcracker Suite at the Robinson Center Music Hall is not to be missed.
The Arkansas Repertory Theatre, best known locally as "The Rep," is central Arkansas' only nonprofit professional theater. Located at 6th Street and Main downtown, The Rep is where theatre fans with distinctive taste gather to enjoy the comic and the tragic on stage. The Rep is currently undergoing a six million dollar renovation to enhance its amenities and expand its art education opportunities.
For those who have an itch to get up on stage themselves, The Community Theatre of Little Rock may be just the place. The CTLR is a nonprofit, volunteer organization that aims to make theater art available to everyone. located at the Public Theatre on Center Street in downtown Little Rock. For as little as fourteen dollars per show, theatregoers can enjoy an exciting performance by Little Rock's local talent.
The Arkansas Arts Center is known as Arkansas' leading cultural institution. Home to famous Renaissance and Impressionist paintings as well as modern drawings and sculptures, the Arts Center has worked for the last thirty years to build a unique collection of American and European works. In addition to the art museum, the center also offers special exhibitions, art classes, and a professional children's theatre.
The Hearne Fine Art Gallery features a stunning collection of works by African-American artists. The Gallery was founded in 1988 and has since gathered many rare works including out-of-print books by African-American authors, some of which are autographed.
If visitors want to take a piece home with them, the Arkansas Studies Institute in the Rivermarket district houses four art galleries, including a retail gallery, featuring Arkansas artists.
Among the most popular cultural celebrations in Little Rock is Worldfest. Held at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park, Worldfest brings in musicians, dancers, international foods, and art works from around the world to celebrate Little Rock's social diversity. Worldfest aims to reduce prejudice with increased knowledge of different cultures.
Other festivals include Oktoberfest, held each year at the Lutheran High School, and the downtown St. Patrick's Day Parade, sponsored by the Irish Cultural Society of Arkansas.