With the works of five photographers on exhibit over the next month, the Southwest Arkansas Arts Council continues 2018 and goes into 2019 with one of its busiest seasons in its history.

With the works of five photographers on exhibit over the next month, the Southwest Arkansas Arts Council continues 2018 and goes into 2019 with one of its busiest seasons in its history.
The ongoing Photo Exhibit at the Arts Station in downtown Hope features works by photographers Meredith Piper Embry, Abby Christine Pifer, Alex Chavez, C. Jason Smith, and even the SWAAC director himself, George Smith.
Then, as the photo exhibit concludes in August, the SWAAC will move into September with a series of several performances scheduled over the next few months. The events were selected to fit the musical and theatrical appetites of all area residents, according to Smith.
Smith said, “The board and its corps of volunteers are extremely pleased with the six performances scheduled. With our partnership with Hempstead Hall on the campus of the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope, the council has one of the best show schedules in 32 years of serving the artistic needs of Southwest Arkansas.”
Kicking off the season on September 23 will be a Sunday performance featuring the Leatherwoods, a Mountain View touring group that has been entertaining Arkansans for more than 50 years.
“The Leatherwoods,’ Smith said, “will help celebrate Hempstead County’s Bicentennial with a performance of gospel songs, old tunes of the South and folk dance tunes that offer a glimpse into the history of folk music in Arkansas.
“Some of the state’s best folk musicians showcase guitars, mandolin, dulcimers, autoharps and other acoustical instruments,” he said.
The group will include a clogger, who will offer to show locals, who will join the group onstage, the intricate dance steps.  Smith added that a local resident will join this group for a number.
Next on the schedule, Smith said, will be a presentation of “Masters of Soul,” a tribute show featuring pop and soul classics that changed the landscape of American music.
“The magic of Motown comes to Hope in fully costumed, choreographed tribute to this glorious era of music,” he said.
“Masters of Soul” will includes a live band and six stylish singers who will perform songs from Gladys Knight and the Pips, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, Barry White, James Brown and others, Smith said.
As the schedule moves into November, a presentation of “Snow White” is scheduled for a family performance on November 27. Smith said “A cast of professional actors will portray the beloved and despised characters in the timeless tale of good and evil and redemption.”
On December 4, the SWAAC will bring the Arkansas Symphony to Hempstead Hall for a Christmas-themed concert.
Smith said, “Imagine the sound of a full orchestra filling Hempstead Hall. Make your plans as soon as tickets become available. This event will sell out.”
Following that concert, Smith said, “The Arts Council and Hempstead Hall has come up with the perfect Christmas stocking stuffer for the entire family with a presentation of  ‘Peter Pan on Ice.’”
Smith said ”Peter Pan on Ice” tells the familiar story of the boy who refused to grow up and the fun-filled (and dangerous) adventures of Neverland, Tinker Bell, Captain Hook, and Wendy, Peter and John.
He also added the show will feature ice skating on the Hempstead Hall stage paired with extravagant sword fights and specialty acts.
Smith said another classic, told in various forms adopted from areas around the world, “The Tortoise and the Hare…and Other Turtle Tales,” is scheduled for Jan. 23, 2019.
The Arts Council season is scheduled to wrap-up on April 2, 2019 with a performance of yet another classic tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” The audience will find out how much power a single statement can mean after a wise boy pipes up and utters the famous line that everyone is thinking: “The emperor has no clothes!”
In a statement regarding the upcoming Southwest Arts Council’s fall season, John Hollis, council president, said “This is a program of which we all can be proud. The performance committee, with the total support of Hempstead Hall Director Dolly Henley, are bringing programs to Hope that reach across the spectrum of those that enjoy stage productions.”