(Editor's Note: Each year, Arkansas Business partners with the Arkansas Municipal League to present the Trendsetter City awards, which recognize exceptional initiatives underway in municipalities across the state. Large, medium and small-sized cities were honored in six categories: Diversity and Inclusion; Education/Workforce Development; Infrastructure and Water; Public Works/Environmental and Green Management; Technology and Security; and Tourism Development/Creative Culture. Below is one winner's story. For more, click here.)
Tourism Development/Creative Culture
Honorable Mention • Under 5,000
Mayor: Butch Berry
Eureka Springs is consistently ranked among the top four tourist destinations in Arkansas. This is due in part to a creative culture that includes festivals, public works of art, an art trail system and even an app that interacts with a chip in a rock cairn that visitors can tap to start a guided tour of the natural springs and public art features. But despite its dozens of art galleries and cultural festivals, the city never had an individual location dedicated to the preservation and celebrations of Eureka Springs’ art history and artist legacies.
Eureka Springs is known as Arkansas’ original art colony, dating to the 1940s when Louis and Elsie Freund started the state’s first art school.
The Museum of Eureka Springs Art is a 501(c)3 privately funded, nonprofit that will be located on the Eureka Springs Community Center campus. In discussion since the 1970s, the museum will become a reality in 2023 thanks to the efforts of a planning group working with local art professionals and community leaders. The museum will highlight artists like painter Miriam McKinnie, featured in TIME in 1939, photographer Lucien Grey, pop art icon Max Elbo and many more. It will feature current local artists and be staffed by volunteers.