Portrait of a Patron: Townsend Wolfe

Author: Arkansas Arts CenterFiled under: Beaux Arts Ball, Events

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For more than 50 years, the Arkansas Arts Center has contributed to the cultural fabric of Arkansas, creating a legacy worthy of recognition. POP! honors those who have made it all possible. This year, the Arts Center community will toast Jane McGehee Wilson, Townsend Wolfe and the Fine Arts Club of Arkansas in red-carpet style, followed by music and dancing, drinks and light hors d’oeuvres. All proceeds benefit the Arts Center’s education and outreach programs.

Dating from the 1960s, Arkansas Arts Center’s Beaux Arts Ball was reimagined in 2014 to honor those who have played an integral role in the Arts Center’s past and continued success. The 2018 POP! Portrait of a Patron Awards will honor Jane McGehee Wilson for her service, the Fine Arts Club of Arkansas for its philanthropy, and Townsend Wolfe for his lifetime of service.

Townsend Wolfe served as executive director and chief curator of the Arkansas Arts Center from 1968 until 2002. During his tenure, he ushered in a new era of community support while simultaneously establishing the Arts Center’s national reputation. In 1968, Wolfe left a position at the Ford Foundation to become the Executive Director of the Arkansas Arts Center, tackling financial stress, balancing budgets and raising money to begin purchasing new works for the collection – works that would foreshadow decades of dedicated collecting. Recognizing a niche where the Arts Center could make a significant contribution, Wolfe’s collecting focused on works on paper and contemporary craft objects. Wolfe’s vision extended to all corners of the organization and community, and his influence remains strong to this day. Wolfe was insistent that the galleries and exhibitions be free to the public. He was adamant that the collection include under-represented voices. He encouraged local artists with his emphasis on the annual Delta Exhibition and Young Arkansas Artists. He transformed Children’s Theatre, creating an award-winning theatre company that continues to charm, entertain and educated audiences at the Arts Center and across the state through Children’s Theatre on Tour. Wolfe led the Arkansas Arts Center for 34 incredible years, and the organization wouldn’t be what it is today without his leadership.

POP! Beaux Arts Ball Gold Sponsor is The Stella Boyle Smith Trust. Red Carpet Sponsors are CDI Contractors; Stuart Cobb; Mr. and Mrs. Merritt P. Dyke; Entergy Arkansas, Inc.; Bill and Kay Patton; Mrs. Lisenne Rockefeller. Legacy Sponsors are Bank of America; Bank of the Ozarks; Jack and Nan Ellen East; Barbara Rogers Hoover; Cindy and Chip Murphy; Belinda Shults; VCC, LLC. Host Sponsors are AAC Contemporaries; Carolynn Conway Coleman; Dillon Homes & Real Estate; Maribeth and John Frazer; June Freeman; HoganTaylor LLP; Brenda Mize; Nabholz; Tabatha and Brodes Perry; Jane McGehee Wilson and Brooks Wolfe; Pat Wilson. Little Rock Soiree/Arkansas Business Publishing Group is the media sponsor. Moon Distributors is the beverage sponsor. Tipton Hurst is the floral sponsor. Hank’s Event Rentals is the furniture sponsor.

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