The Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts (AMFA), currently undergoing a roughly $130 million renovation and expansion in downtown Little Rock, will reopen to the public in the fall of 2022, the museum announced Monday.
Formerly known as the Arkansas Arts Center, the museum was originally scheduled to open in the spring of 2022 after being closed for renovations in the fall of 2019. But museum officials said “significant strides” related to construction, design, the museum grounds and the surrounding McArthur Park grounds made it necessary to push back the opening. Victoria Ramirez, AMFA’s executive director, told Arkansas Money & Politics last fall that the renovated and expanded museum would be worth the wait and garner national and even international attention.
“Anticipating the continued success and momentum of the Capital Campaign, we have been able to expand our vision and the scope of the project,” she said Monday in a statement. “The pace of construction is extraordinary, and we are delighted with what we have seen to date. By adjusting the opening timetable from spring to fall 2022, we are taking a deliberate and focused approach to reintroducing AMFA to Arkansans and beyond as a best-in-class museum.”
Among the enhancements to the originally conceived design is a reconfiguration of the gallery space and the addition of almost 1,000 square feet. Also, a behind-the-scenes space has been transformed into the “Glass Box,” a light-filled space for flexible programming and events.
Ramirez noted that a renewed focus on outdoor events and increasing access for our community led to expanded landscaping plans that allow for larger programs and events, including festivals and concerts. The “Event Lawn” on the south side of the museum campus has grown and plans are underway to landscape the grounds along Ninth Street, creating a “front lawn” for AMFA and MacArthur Park, according to a press release.