Walton Arts Center plans grand re-opening celebration for Nov. 19

Rendering of the expanded and renovated Walton Arts Center


The Walton Arts Center’s $23 million renovation and expansion of their Fayetteville facility is almost ready for showtime.

The arts center this week announced plans to celebrate the completion of their facility during an event scheduled at 9:50 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19.

The celebration will include a ribbon cutting, followed by an event called Family Open House: Behind the Curtain from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. geared toward families and children featuring music, food, and interactive activities.

Later on, a second event intended for audiences 14 and older titled Evening Celebration: Encore! is set for 6 p.m. which will also include music and performances in a variety of genres.

“November 19 is a big day for Northwest Arkansas,” said WAC CEO Peter Lane. “Our $23 million renovated facility is ready to meet our audiences and we sincerely hope you will come out and see what Walton Arts Center is prepared to offer.”

The public is free to explore the facility during the morning event, and light snacks and drinks will be available throughout the day.

The Walton Arts Center began the expansion project in July of 2015, and work has continued for the past two summers. The expanded facility will include an extra 30,000 square feet of overall space, including a new atrium that connects to Dickson Street, significant renovations and expansion of Starr Theater, more room for back of house technical and theatrical equipment, and other improvements.

More information about the grand re-opening festivities are below. Both events are free to attend, and open to the public.

For more information about the Grand Reopening Celebration events, visit waltonartscenter.org/grand-reopening.

Event descriptions provided by Walton Arts Center

Family Open House: “Behind the Curtain”

Date: Saturday, Nov. 19
Time: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
*With remarks and ribbon cutting ceremony at 9:50 am

Live performances by Fayetteville Old Time Music, Shannon Wurst and Mucca Pazza will greet patrons inside the new atrium lobby. Trike Theatre will present Grandma’s Story Quilt in McBride Studio and patrons will be able to observe and participate in the children’s cast rehearsal for Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s The Nutcracker in Starr Theater.

Special photo opportunities will be available onstage in Baum Walker Hall and backstage activities, including a large paint-by-numbers stage set, kid-friendly stage makeup and hair demos as well as hands-on theatrical equipment demonstrations will help attendees go “Behind the Curtain!”

Community Creative Center will host an interactive arts activity in the Pace Balcony Lobby with take-away keepsakes. Adults can escape to the Sudduth Garden Room for a coffee bar and quiet lounge area.

Joy Pratt Markham Gallery’s opening exhibition features Ted Lott’s Migration Series alongside printed and sewn installations by Kay Healy, which take inspiration from interviews with Walton Arts Center volunteers and donors, emphasizing the importance of memory and community.

Other family-friendly activities will take place in the Bradberry Rose Garden and the new catering kitchen.

To top things off, a “Wow-Me” guided tour will take people from the orchestra pit up to the catwalk above Baum Walker Hall stage where participants will get to explore the theater from a vantage point few people ever get the chance to see. These will take place every 30 minutes. Patrons who participate in the guided tour must be 14 years or older and must wear closed-toed, low-heeled shoes. Space for the “Wow-Me” tours is limited and will be first come, first served.

Evening Celebration: “Encore!”

Date: Saturday, Nov. 19
Time: Doors open at 6 p.m.*
*With a special lighting ceremony unveiling the new atrium lobby at 5:45pm.

The Evening Celebration: “Encore!” will feature all the newly renovated performance spaces and is geared toward an adult audience with drinks and hors d’oeuvres offered to attendees. Join us on Tyson Plaza at the corner of West Ave. and Dickson St. at 5:45 pm for a special lighting ceremony unveiling the new building before doors open. The Symphony of Northwest Arkansas (SoNA) will re-open Baum Walker Hall with a special performance at 7 pm, which will be simulcast on monitors throughout the facility. Mucca Pazza will perform after SoNA in Baum Walker Hall at 8:30 pm.

VoiceJam 2015 competition winners DeltaCapella will entertain audiences in the new atrium lobby while Starr Theater comes to life with performances by The Silvershakers and the Fayetteville Jazz Collective featuring interactive swing dance lessons. Jazz up-and-comer Champian Fulton will perform two sets in McBride Studio. Live acoustic music and a coffee bar will be available in the new Sudduth Garden Room.