Apr 22, 2022 - News

Community theater organization reinvents itself

Art One Presents got creative and debuted "Romeo and Juliet" in a parking garage. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

The Arts Center of the Ozarks has left the building. The longtime NWA nonprofit has a new name, a new direction — and no venue.

What's happening: Art One Presents, which rebranded from Arts Center of the Ozarks last year, is back to live theater productions since it put performances on hold because of the pandemic.

  • The organization maintains office space in Springdale but sold its venue, which it had operated out of since 1972, in 2020. Now. it instead has the flexibility to host performances anywhere in NWA, executive director Anne Jackson tells Axios.
  • It's looking to expand its reach to all of NWA and boost its focus on visual art in addition to theater. The organization recently commissioned a public art installation called "Humongous Fungus," a "larger-than-life mushroom and flower garden" by artist Gina Gallina at Turnbow Park in Springdale, Jackson says.

Driving the news: Art One Presents' first production since 2019 debuted Wednesday. Its version of "Romeo and Juliet" is set inside the parking garage at Likewise on College Avenue in Fayetteville. (Tickets are sold out, sorry.)

The big picture: While TheatreSquared prides itself on bringing professional theater to NWA and the Walton Arts Center features Broadway productions, Art One Presents is an alternative whose mission is to offer opportunities to local, amateur talent.

  • The organization has hosted workshops to teach people how to audition.
  • The actors in "Romeo and Juliet" are local. NWA DJs provide the music, and the production was choreographed by Ozark Ballet Theatre.

1 fun fact: Art One Presents has been around in one form or another since it was called Springdale Music Club in 1964.

Flashback: Arts Center of the Ozarks sold the building at 214 S. Main St. to The Tyson Family Foundation when the pandemic forced it to halt production.

  • Jackson said that the building was also a bit large for the nonprofit's needs.
  • Creative Arkansas Community Hub and Exchange (CACHE), an arm of the Northwest Arkansas Council seeking to boost arts and culture in the region, is now operating out of the building.

Yes, and: The building, called 214 for now, will be getting a new name, website and social media by the end of the year, CACHE arts and community manager Amber Perrodin tells Axios.

  • CACHE is still testing the space to see what the community wants out of it and is in the process of choosing artists for its creative exchange fund.
  • Artists and arts organizations can use the space for rehearsals, performances, art shows or film screenings. Art One Presents used the space for "Romeo and Juliet" auditions, Perrodin says.

What's next: Art One Presents' next show, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," will be July 21-23 and July 28-31 at the Don Tyson School of Innovation's performing arts center.

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