Fine Arts Club of Arkansas

In 1914, a group of women formed the Fine Arts Club of Arkansas, an organization dedicated to the establishment of a permanent art gallery in the state. The group was instrumental in the creation of the Museum of Fine Arts in Little Rock (Pulaski County), which opened in 1937 and was renamed the Arkansas Arts Center in 1961 and then the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts in 2021. In the twenty-first century, the purpose of the Fine Arts Club is to promote and extend the activities, usefulness, and enjoyment of the museum. The Fine Arts Club serves as an auxiliary group of the museum, providing volunteers, hosting events with speakers for the public, and conducting special member preview parties.

The first fundraiser the Fine Arts Club organized was the Beaux Arts Ball in 1963. The Beaux Arts Ball changed its name to the Tabriz Ball, which the Arkansas Arts Center began holding each year to award those who have played an integral role in the center’s success. The Tabriz Ball generated $800,000 in 2017, for example, making it a major fundraising event. For the centennial anniversary of the Fine Arts Club in 2014, the Beaux Arts Ball was brought back as a separate event.

In 2017, the Arkansas Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to the Fine Arts Club. Three members accepted the award on behalf of the club: Jeane Hamilton, Cathy Owen, and Rachael Reid. Hamilton gathered more than 20,000 hours of recorded volunteer time as the former president of the Fine Arts Club Board of Directors and honorary lifetime member of the Arkansas Arts Center Board of Trustees. She also organized and led a traveling seminar program for the Fine Arts Club. Club members Cathy Owen and Rachael Reid have both served as president of the club.

For additional information:
“Annamary Thompson Leads Fine Arts Club into Its Centennial Year.” Little Rock Soiree, September 1, 2013. Online at https://www.littlerocksoiree.com/post/94330/annamary-thompson-leads-fine-arts-club-i (accessed March 31, 2020).

Fine Arts Club of Arkansas. https://www.arkansasartscenter.org/fine-arts-club (accessed March 31, 2020).

“Lifetime Achievement Award: The Fine Arts Club of Arkansas.” Inviting Arkansas, November 1, 2017. Online at http://www.invitingarkansas.com/featured/lifetime-achievement-award-fine-arts-club-arkansas/ (accessed March 31, 2020).

Katelynn Caple
Henderson State University

Last Updated: 03/31/2020

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