Small Market Meetings

JUN 2017

The Newspaper for Smaller Cities, Facilities and Planners.

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Page 37 of 43 Venue Showcase 38 By Kristy Alpert Above: The Walton Art Center is Fayetteville's hub for meetings and cultural events. Left: The center debuted a $25 million expansion in 2016. A lthough the sound didn't carry far from the Fayetteville First Baptist Church gymnasium where the North Arkansas Symphony was performing back in the late 1980s, the whis- pered hopes for a world-class performing arts venue could be heard miles away. It seemed like fate that at the same time the city of Fayetteville began dreaming up plans for a multiuse community arts facility, the University of Arkansas, along with the Walton Family, had begun plans to construct an auditorium that could accommodate major touring shows, performing arts opportunities and Wal-Mart shareholders meetings. It didn't take long before both parties decided to band together to create what would become Arkansas' premier center for the performing arts and entertainment. The Walton Arts Center opened in 1992, introducing artists and entertainers from around the world to its friendly and arts-driven community in northwest Arkansas. The center hosted Broadway shows, summer camps and numerous community events before it debuted its grandest performance of all, a $23 million expansion and renovation completed in November 2016. Today the center offers six meeting and event spaces where groups can gather and be entertained without leaving the building. From the beginning, the attentive and passionate staff and share- holders have held a uniform vision that the center would be a venue that connects and engages people through inspiring arts experiences, and their dedication to that vision is evident with each meeting and performance. The center's glass-walled exterior creates a sense of una- Photos courtesy Walton Arts Center nimity with the Dickson Street entertainment district beyond. The center has become more than a venue for shows or meetings; visitors and meeting guests of the Walton Arts Center have immediate access to Fayetteville's finest restaurants and shops. And the University of Arkansas campus is located just a short walk away from the center. From perfectly staged events to entertaining outings, the Walton Arts Center is a fantastic space for gathering in Arkansas. The House that Wal -

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