Arkansas Symphony Orchestra to Receive $12,500 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Little Rock, ARK, February 7, 2018 – National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $25 million in grants as part of the NEA’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018.  Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $12,500 to the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra for the Canvas Festival, which combines visual arts with the performance of live symphonic music, allowing both art forms to influence the experiences of audiences and musicians. The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.

“It is energizing to see the impact that the arts are making throughout the United States. These NEA-supported projects, such as this one to the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, are good examples of how the arts build stronger and more vibrant communities, improve well-being, prepare our children to succeed, and increase the quality of our lives,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “At the National Endowment for the Arts, we believe that all people should have access to the joy, opportunities and connections the arts bring.”

“Arkansas Symphony Orchestra is proud and grateful to the National Endowment for the Arts for this generous grant,” said ASO Chief Executive Officer Christina Littlejohn. “Receiving an NEA grant is an extremely competitive process in which the orchestra competes on both its artistic excellence and ability to implement a quality project. We are excited that the NEA chose to support the ASO’s Canvas Festival.”

The Canvas Festival combines visual arts with the performance of live symphonic music, allowing both art forms to influence the experiences of audiences and musicians. The festival will culminate in a performance at Robinson Center of works inspired by the visual arts, and will include a live painting influenced by the performance. As ASO performs Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, American Impressionist Barry Thomas will paint on-stage in real time. The concert, including Thomas’ process, will be filmed to be projected for audiences in Robinson Center and streamed live for audiences on the lawn of the Arkansas Arts Center. Other works on this program include Adam Schoenberg’s Finding Rothko and Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite. Leading up to the April concert ASO will do education programs for Arkansans of all ages, collaborative community outreach, and performances throughout Little Rock that will feature visual art thematically combined with symphonic music.

For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit

About Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 52nd full season in 2017-2018, under the leadership of Music Director Philip Mann. ASO is the resident orchestra of Robinson Center Music Hall, to which the ASO returned in November of 2016 after a two-year renovation of the historic structure. ASO performs more than sixty concerts each year for more than 165,000 people through its Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks Series, ACXIOM Pops LIVE! Series, River Rhapsodies Chamber Music Series, Intimate Neighborhood Concerts, and numerous concerts performed around the state of Arkansas, in addition to serving central Arkansas through numerous community outreach programs and bringing live symphonic music education to over 26,000 school children and over 200 schools.


For more information about the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra call 501-666-1761 or visit


Program notes, artist bios and high resolution headshots available upon request.