With more than 30 years promoting and showcasing the arts in the region, the Southwest Arkansas Arts Council (SWAAC) is expanding its scope of operation and reaching out to surrounding counties to promote its 2017-2018 slogan “Growing With The Arts.”

With more than 30 years promoting and showcasing the arts in the region, the Southwest Arkansas Arts Council (SWAAC) is expanding its scope of operation and reaching out to surrounding counties to promote its 2017-2018 slogan “Growing With The Arts.”
Housed at the Cairo-Fulton Depot in downtown Hope, the SWACC has hundreds of members and volunteers promoting all phases of art, including music, stage productions, painting, sculpture, woodcraft, photography and crafts.
SWAAC Executive Director George Smith said “The council has always had an outreach program aimed at serving art enthusiasts in countries in southwest Arkansas. Beginning with the 2017-2018 season, we will be more active in working with citizens outside of Hempstead County to become an integral part of the non-profit organization.”
Partnering with Hempstead Hall on the UA Hope campus, the council has traditionally presented an array of stage productions; it also has gallery shows from regional and national artists in all disciplines, dinner theater productions, Artist in Education programs, after-school programs, plus other programs throughout the year.
In the addition to five shows this coming season, including a unique ice skating extravaganza, the council aims to begin a community theater.
Smith said, “The community theater will have a murder mystery dinner theater in the spring and will follow that with a vaudeville-type variety show. We will be looking for the best talent – singers, dancers, actors – in the area and the show will be framed to showcase those that want to perform in the best possible light.”
Other special projects for Hempstead County’s Bicentennial in 2018 will be announced in the near future, Smith said, “and will be aimed at maximum participation from families, church groups and schools.”
Annual council memberships are available starting at $25 for individuals. Members get special opening night previews, with a reception, of artists displaying work in the council’s gallery, plus attendance to an annual membership reception, in addition to other perks.
“It is the mission of the council to get every person involved in the arts on some level,” he said.