Ballet Arkansas Seeking $200K for Main Street Studio

Ballet Arkansas announced Tuesday that it's raising $200,000 to secure rehearsal and office space in Little Rock's emerging Main Street Creative Corridor.

Standing in what might become a 1,500-SF rehearsal studio, members of the professional dance company discussed plans to move into the Arkansas Building at the corner of Sixth and Main streets. The organization has filed a letter of intent, and $175,000 of the funds being raised are earmarked for a five-year lease. The remaining $25,000 is for moving costs and renovations.

Lauren Strother, executive director of Ballet Arkansas, said the organization has already raised more than $50,000 after about a month of campaigning. 

Strother said the location could allow the dance company to collaborate with the Arkansas Repertory Theatre and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. She said the symphony signed a lease that includes a portion of the Arkansas Building and that the Rep has filed a letter of intent to place a black box performance space in the building. 

Michael Bearden, Ballet Arkansas' new artistic director, said the location could give the organization visibility within the community – something he says it has lacked in the past.

"If we're creating beautiful art and dance and nobody sees it, who knows about it?" Bearden said. "Why is it important? Why is it relevant?" 

Reed Realty Advisors is the project developer. David Robinson, managing director of RRA, said the project will advance after the city makes a number of adjustments to Main Street. Robinson said the project's general contractor is AMR Construction LLC.

People can contribute to Ballet Arkansas' fundraising campaign at (501) 223-5150 or at

In January, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra executed a lease and announced plans to move its practice space and offices to two spaces on Main Street: part of the first floor of the M.M. Cohn Building and part of the neighboring Arkansas Building

The symphony was set to move into the new space by the end of this summer. The new space is 12,250 SF, which is more than twice the 6,000 SF of the symphony's current facility at St. John Catholic Center, 2417 N. Tyler St.

In December, city leaders unveiled their vision for a "creative corridor" along Main StreetIn all, the corridor would extend two blocks north and south of Capitol Avenue, potentially growing to include Markham and South Main streets, and include entities focusing on the arts, retail and residential real estate.