Today in Athens, Arkansas….

We’re thrilled to have our new website up and running. Kudos to Bobby Kelly, webmaster and Shakespeare board member extraordinaire. And a heap of thanks goes out to Kristian Andersen and his team of designers at KA+A in Indianapolis for designing our new logo and our up-coming brochure, as well as our cool new t-shirts, that will be free with the purchase of a membership at our upcoming Shakespeare Party on Nov. 6th. All of the aforementioned folks have donated their time, ample talents, and energy for a cause that they deem worthy–increasing the visibility of AST in the state of Arkansas and beyond.

Just today I heard that Conway’s own Gene Hatfield, one of Arkansas’s most-revered artists, said that in the days of yore Conway was referred to as the “Athens of Arkansas,” meaning that all eyes were on Conway as the progenitor of arts and culture in the state. Certainly a case can be made that we are well on our way to reclaiming that title, with the success of Artsfest, the presence on the UCA campus of the Oxford American magazine, the Murphy foundations’ generous endowment for the arts at Hendrix College, the Public Appearances line-up at UCA (SPIKE LEE is coming!), and, of course, our own pool of talent that comprises Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre.

I love living  in Conway today, a town with culture so accessible that I need only jump on my bike to ride the short distance to any event. Every day I work with folks who are sharp, energetic, and innovative, and in these interactions I feel sort of euphoric, as though I am involved in some grand experiment. It must be like, well,…. living in the early days of Athens.