Conway is a town that has had a pulse on the arts for a long time. The art scene in Conway is really on the upswing,” said Rachel Shaw, executive director of the Conway Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Local artists, musicians and performers are really starting to come together to focus on providing the biggest impact they can on the city.”
Shaw said that Conway is home to not only local art, but professional art as well with options ranging from performances at Reynolds Performance Hall or the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, to the Conway Symphony Orchestra and exhibits at the Baum Gallery.
“During July, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre is a can’t miss,” said Shaw. “It is Arkansas’s only professional Shakespeare theatre and they put on four productions each summer, with numerous performances of each show. The Conway Symphony Orchestra’s Christmas concert is always a hit. Or you can visit one of the beautiful murals downtown anytime or see student artwork at UCA’s Baum Gallery. As of October 2020, the Windgate Museum of Art will open on campus at Hendrix College and they have big plans for traveling exhibits and special events that will be open to the public.”
Through the colleges in town there are also resources to bring in major arts events, productions and opportunities throughout the year.
“We have three colleges in town so that really means there is a lot of richness and depth in the arts here,” said Gayle Seymour with the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) College of Fine Arts. “I run the artists in residence program for UCA. We’ve got people coming from all over the world and they are giving free performances, lectures, workshops, classes, all this kind of stuff. We have a calendar on the university’s website and people are certainly welcome to join us for all of it. The same thing is happening at Hendrix College and Central Baptist College.”
Reynolds Performance Hall at UCA is a 1,200 seat performance hall that has hosted performers over the years like Loretta Lynn and Glen Campbell. National tours such as Cats and international touring companies such as the National Symphony Orchestra have also had performances there. The Baum Gallery of Fine Art can also be found on campus. UCA is also building a new performance arts center set to open in 2022 called the Windgate Fine and Performing Arts Center. When completed the building will house the art department and a 450 seat concert hall and 175 seat black box theater.
The town is also home to spots like Fretmonkey Records Studio. “We have a lot of momentum for the arts here in Conway,” said Pete Tanguay. “My primary involvement is with the performing arts through Fretmonkey Records Studio. We are on the front end of our mission to help local musicians connect with the global music community and realize their dream to make it in the music industry. I have a vision for Conway to be a music destination city like Nashville, Tennessee or Austin, Texas over the next 10 years.”
“I think that the arts are going to have a real renaissance in Conway,” added Seymour. “We are on the brink of a really exciting time here.”
For more details on the art scene in Conway, search #KeepConwayCreative or #ConwayArts to see what is going on in town.
About Arkansas Tourism
Arkansas Tourism, a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, strives to expand the economic impact of travel and tourism in the state and enhance the quality of life for all Arkansans. The division manages 14 Arkansas Welcome Centers and employs
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