Oxford American Gets $290,000 Grant for Restaurant, Cultural Venue

by Kate Knable  on Tuesday, Jun. 12, 2012 5:03 pm  

A national collaboration of foundations, ArtPlace, announced Tuesday that it awarded $290,000 in grant funds to Southern literary magazine The Oxford American.

Warwick Sabin, publisher of the OA, said the grant money will pay for conversion of one of the magazine's two buildings on South Main Street in Little Rock into a site for nightly cultural programs and a Southern restaurant.

The grant should mainly pay for audio and visual equipment, lighting and broadcast equipment for the space that once housed the bar and music venue part of Juanita's Café & Bar, Sabin said.

The equipment will be used for live performances, live-streamed events, recorded podcasts and videos for the Web, as well as national radio and TV broadcasts.

Sabin said no agreements have been finalized, but the magazine plans to partner with a chef who should operate the restaurant as a financially separate enterprise from the nonprofit magazine.

The organization plans to host cultural events, such as readings, lectures and musical performances, in the former Juanita's music venue.

The facility, after its landlord helps with some physical improvements and the OA buys the necessary equipment, should open as an arts center in January.

"I think there's an awful lot of cultural activity that's happening in this area, and if The Oxford American can be a platform for it to be seen and appreciated by a much larger audience, that's a role we want to play," Sabin said.   

The OA has been using one of the leased Juanita's buildings as office space since about December.


Below, a video about the grant produced by the Oxford American.



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