Arts organizations look back on 2023’s accomplishments

Arts organizations look back on 2023’s accomplishments

As the year rolled to a close, we asked several arts organizations for their proudest moments of 2023. These are the answers we received, edited for space:

Fort Smith Regional Art Museum

Julie Moncrief, development director

This year was RAM’s 75th anniversary, a proud moment in itself! Specific proud moments included:

An exhibition of Pablo Picasso ceramics.

The exhibition “Art Center to Museum,” which showed the timeline of the numerous accomplishments by RAM since our inception.

Our 75th Anniversary Gala where one-third of the guests were new to RAM.

The launching of the John Bell Jr. traveling exhibition.


Rogers Historical Museum

Serena Barnett, director

Rogers Historical Museum is proudest this year of the many opportunities we’ve had to collaborate. For example, our Victorian garden has blossomed with the help of the Benton County Master Gardeners, immigrants living in Northwest Arkansas shared their stories as part of the “Working America” traveling exhibit through coordination with the Ozark Literacy Council, and four century-old songs celebrating our region’s apple heritage were brought back to life by the musical talents from the Arkansas Arts Academy.


Fort Smith Little Theatre

Eric Wells, publicity director

During our summer production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella,” we were proud that two area businesses stepped up to help us share this magical performance with area children. Their generosity allowed us to provide a private performance for the Fort Smith Boys & Girls Clubs, Girls Inc. and other children’s agencies, as well as half-price kids’ tickets for two shows.


U.S. Marshals Museum

Leslie Higgins, chief programs officer

After 16 years of hard work and dedication, we were finally able to open our doors to the public on July 1. The building and exhibit spaces are like nothing else in this area, and we were so happy to finally be able to share them with our supporters.


Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

Lane Berrey, communications manager

Through our Terrific Tuesday Nights summer program’s expansion, the community can enjoy BGO for free every Tuesday night during the summer thanks to the Pat & Willard Walker Foundation. We focused on uplifting local talent, [and] we drew in more than double the attendance from 2022.


Shiloh Museum of Ozark History

Angie Albright, director

Most notable was the preservation of our 1850s Ritter-McDonald log cabin, which now looks better than ever while maintaining its historical integrity.


Theatre Collective of NWA

Rachel Mills, executive director

My proudest moment was during our first performance as an organization, back in May, when our performers [were] singing to an overwhelming crowd in The Commons at TheatreSquared. We were doing it — we were creating a brand new theater organization and successfully putting on a performance!



Jazlyn Sanderson, director

At the beginning of the year, MONAH announced new hours that restructured how everyone can view our space. Previously, we opened to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but in January, we changed that to accommodate our free group tours better. Now we host school groups/bus tours from 9 to 11 a.m. and then open to the public from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.



Shannon Jones, executive director

We’re really proud of the Arkansas New Play Festival, one of the few multi-week playwriting programs still in operation [after the pandemic]. This year, we’re thrilled to collaborate with three fantastically talented playwrights: Satya Chavez, Candrice Jones, and Jonathan Norton. Each of these playwrights will craft a brand-new, original play — and Northwest Arkansas audiences will be there for every step of this exciting process.


Arkansas Public Theatre

Lisa Turpin, director of operations

Before wrapping our season early to accommodate remodeling of the Victory Theatre, we hit three exciting benchmarks:

Attendance at “Little Shop of Horrors” in February saw APT ticket sales back at pre-covid levels, with sold-out shows most nights.

The numbers of actors auditioning for our shows was at an all-time high.

And that pool of actors grew with more new actors than ever.

We can’t wait for 2024!

Categories: Music