The Little Rock Creative Corridor project is revitalizing Main Street one block at a time, using economic development stimulated by the arts rather than a traditional retail base. The Creative Corridor is being transformed into a mixed-used environment that is also sensitive to the historical context of Main Street.
Initial planning and design for the Creative Corridor was funded by a 2011 Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The plan, created by the University of Arkansas Community Design Center, has received awards from the American Institute of Architects and The American Society of Landscape Architects. The plan involves relocating three existing arts organizations with strong histories of programing into new homes that are clustered along what had been a moribund Main Street. Ballet Arkansas and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will have new, storefront practice spaces and The Arkansas Repertory Theatre will add a black box theatre and educational space to the Corridor. Funding from ArtPlace will provide unique extras to enhance the place-making qualities of the Creative Corridor: the Symphony will buy a sound system that will allow passersby to eavesdrop on rehearsals and performances, and Ballet Arkansas will purchase portable barres that will allow them to rehearse in front of the picture windows. All three arts groups will be provided with custom, artfully designed signage.
With ArtPlace funding, artists will be commissioned to create public art and lighting installations. Some of the first street banners have just been installed, and installation of huge banners with original art are soon to follow.
This project is combining funds from multiple sources to improve Main Street. Streetscape improvements to the Creative Corridor, funded by a water quality demonstration grant from the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, are nearly complete. The environmentally friendly, tree-lined streets will provide a shady pedestrian environment in which to stroll and enjoy art like the recently completed outdoor mural “Beneath the Surface” by Matt McLeod.
See below for recent updates, press, and events from this project