Construction on the new Arts on Main building continues in downtown Van Buren as the Center for Arts and Education plans future events before their move to the new location in 2022.


Next door to the King Opera House, the new site for Arts on Main is undergoing extensive renovation and restoration. The 17,000-square-foot building is currently just an empty shell as it’s being rebuilt from the inside out. The construction is focused mainly on improving the structural integrity of the historic building at the moment. Once that is finished the next step is work on the interior. The new building will house a pottery studio, culinary kitchen, second-floor veranda, meeting spaces, and outdoor gardens.


Before the CAE prepares to move, they are still providing classes and experiences for the community to get hands-on with art. A new experience they offer is their carpool art adventures. This is a series of day trips where participants can go inside the artist’s studio for personal conversations with the artist, a gallery and studio tour, and an artist demonstration. Along the way, those in attendance are able to experience local cuisine, culture, and sites from the comfort of their own vehicles.


The adventure is open to the 500 club at CAE. This is a club composed of high-level donors. Previously, the trips involved renting a bus, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, the center decided to allow people to travel personally to maintain social distance while traveling and while attending the tours. The 500 club gets first entry when signing up for the tours, and if the spaces are not completely filled, the center opens it up to the public. When the new building is complete it will open opportunities for the artists to bring their work to the people.


In October, the tour will explore wood carving with artist Stephen Holmes at his studio gallery in Fort Smith as well as retired UAFS Art Director Chairman Don Lee’s personal art collection later this fall.


"Recently we went on our very first carpool to John P. Lasater IV’s home gallery and studio in Siloam Springs, AR. The artist demo was great, the food was wonderful, and it was good to spend time with the eleven of our supporters who joined us on this adventure," said Director Jane Owen.


Over the summer, the CAE art camp took a virtual approach where students could work on their artwork at home and send it in to be displayed on the CAE website.


"We are hearing from parents that they are enjoying the art projects as much as their children," said Owen.


CAE is in its 44th year of providing art education to the river valley. More information regarding upcoming classes and experiences can be found at art-ed.org.