$4 Million Raised for Arkansas Arts Center; Debt Erased

by Jan Cottingham  on Monday, Aug. 29, 2011 3:33 pm  

Warren Stephens, chairman of the Arkansas Arts Center Foundation, on Monday announced that the foundation had raised $4 million for the Arts Center, eliminating the center's troublesome debt.

The gifts included two challenge gifts of $1 million each made by two donors who wished to remain anonymous, Stephens said. All the foundation directors, as well as others, then chipped in, raising the additional money - $2.17 million in total - to match the challenge.

The Arkansas Arts Center Foundation raises money for the Arts Center, supports it financially and holds the center's artworks in trust.

In the last year, the Arts Center faced a series of financial difficulties stemming, in part, from the money-losing World of the Pharaohs exhibit. In April 2010, Arts Center trustees learned that the center faced a $1.2 million deficit. In addition, the center's executive director, Nan Plummer, resigned unexpectedly in April 2010. In April of this year, Todd Herman was hired as executive director of the center. He began his duties in July.

In his financial report to the board of directors of the Arts Center Foundation, according to a transcript, Stephens said, "This gift will relieve the Arts Center from both the debt to the foundation and the interest payments on that debt. It will provide the opportunity for our new director and the Arts Center to move forward in the most positive way."



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