South on Main
The Oxford American is transforming its new buildings in Little Rock’s burgeoning South Main Street (SOMA) district into a home for diverse arts programming where people can experience the variety of culture that its award-winning magazine has documented since 1992. The space will include a restaurant that will present the full breadth and depth of southern culinary culture. Accompanying the food will be nightly cultural programming that will feature the best of Southern arts and culture across a variety of formats including literature, music, film, art, drama and food. The Oxford American will use its own connections and expertise to create national-caliber programs featuring famous and notable artistic personalities, but these high-level programs will be interspersed on a day-to-day basis with the community-oriented programming developed through partnerships with local organizations and institutions. The Oxford American will also outfit this space with recording (audio and video) equipment that will allow all of the programming to be live-streamed over the organization’s website as well as recorded for podcasts, videos and other presentations. As a result, the programming will be viewed and appreciated by people all over the world.
ArtPlace spoke with Warwick Sabin, the publisher of The Oxford American, about any difficult issues that they have faced as they bring their project to fruition.
ARTPLACE: What has been the thorniest issue you’ve faced to date? How have you dealt with it?
SABIN: We have learned that new projects can stretch the resources and capacity of an organization, especially a small not-for-profit operation like ours. Yet we have managed to deal with that by effectively delegating responsibility so that we can continue our other work easily and efficiently. We are also trying to obtain additional grants and funding to increase our capacity, and we expect this will be an ongoing effort in perpetuity as we continue to improve our programming and maximize the creative potential of South on Main. In fact, we will always have additional potential funding desires as we continue to develop this project, as it would benefit from more staff, enhanced equipment, and other improvements. Over time we intend to create an endowment fund to sustain and grow the artistic and cultural activities at South on Main.