Arkansas Symphony Orchestra breaks ground on new music centre

Arkansas Symphony Orchestra breaks ground on new
$11.75m Stella Boyle Smith Music Center in Little Rock

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra (ASO) has broken ground on its new $11.75m Stella Boyle Smith Music Center in Little Rock’s East Village. This 20,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, designed by Witsell Evans Rasco Architects of Little Rock and constructed by Bailey Construction is expected to open in September 2024 and represents ASO’s first-ever permanent home in its 58-year history.

The Stella Boyle Smith Music Center will create a warm and inclusive atmosphere for music enthusiasts of all ages and will serve as a focal point for music education, live performances and music making. The centre will feature state-of-the-art amenities for the E. Lee Ronnel Music Academy and will include Morgan Hall, named in honour of long-time ASO supporters Susie and Charles Morgan.

The project has been a community-driven endeavour, with over 200 donors, including 48 musicians, contributing more than $11m towards its realisation. While ASO is just $500,000 shy of its fundraising goal, major contributors such as The Stella Boyle Smith Trust, the State of Arkansas and members of the ASO Board of Directors, along with ASO supporters, have been instrumental in making this vision a reality.