Crowd at Brad Paisley
What's Up With Murphy Arts District?

El Dorado Festivals & Events has been working for the past 4 years to create a new Arts & Entertainment District in downtown El Dorado - the Murphy Arts District. Our goal is to provide the city of El Dorado with creative outlets to explore music, dance, theater, art and food in fun and immersive ways that hold true to the people and culture of El Dorado. 

The outdoor Amphitheater hosts large festivals and events for over 7,000 people with market pavilions for seasonal farmers markets, and the largest park in the city. The outdoor destination playscape and splash pad are for children and families to enjoy outdoor activities with programming that will be both entertaining and enriching. Renovations to the Griffin, converted this historic structure into a restaurant and 2,500-plus seat entertainment venue.

And this is just the beginning! Phase 2 will bring the renovation of the historic and much-loved Rialto Theater. Once a favorite meeting place for vaudeville performances and movies, it will live again with a variety of musical acts, plays, comedy shows, and movies. In addition, an art gallery with traveling exhibitions, art classes and events will also be part of this future phase.

seats in the Griffin Music Hall
occupancy for the MAD Amphitheater
acres for children and families
Who We Are
Terry Stewart
Chairman of the Board & CEO

Terry always says that he is the luckiest, most blessed person in the world. As he tells anyone who will or won't listen that having had some of the greatest jobs ever, like President of Marvel Comics and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, or today heading the creation of the Murphy Arts District in El Dorado, Arkansas, he has never gone to work 'cause when ya love what ya do, every day is like a weekend or a holiday.

Austin Barrow
Austin Barrow
President & COO

Austin is an El Dorado native, returning after nearly 20 years of galavanting around the country working in the performing arts. He returned to his home town to take over the startup of the Murphy Arts District and assist in the economic and cultural revitalization efforts focused in the downtown core.

Dan Smith
Vice President & General Manager

Widely recognized industry leader in the Food & Beverage, Hospitality and Entertainment fields. In a career that began washing pots and pans, rising to Executive Chef and Food & Beverage Executive positions including the Vice President of Food & Beverages for the Cleveland Indians Baseball Team. He is known for balancing and unifying the divergent cultures of marketing and operations.

Pam Griffin
Chief Financial Officer

Pam is the true definition of GIRL POWER! Not only is she CFO of MAD, she is also the Chairman of the El Dorado-Union County Chamber of Commerce and involved in many other community service activities.  When Pam is not working, she enjoys scuba diving and has visited over 20 countries.

Bob Tarren
Bob Tarren
Chief Marketing Officer

Bob Tarren has more than 30 years on marketing and public relations experience, on both the agency and client sides, including stints with Circuit City Stores, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Frick Pittsburgh. Over his career his work has won more than 20 regional and national awards. His first startup was named Small Business of the Year in Virginia. He taught several marketing courses at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Mark Givens
Vice President of Talent and Relations

Mark was Executive Director of Main Street El Dorado when it was awarded “Arkansas Festival of the Year” 7 times.  He has organized numerous sold out performances including Willie Nelson, Vince Gill, Merle Haggard, and Mercy Me. He holds a Masters degree from Henderson State University and is married with three children.

Our Purpose

El Dorado Festivals & Events is a mission driven 501(c)3 company founded to create the "Festival City of the South!"  Embracing the spirit of Southern arts and culture, we are looking to engage new economic opportunity for the city through the creation of an Arts & Entertainment district in the southern core of the City of El Dorado's nationally recognized (2013 CNN's America's Best Small Town Comebacks, 2009 Great American Mainstreet Award) beautiful downtown.

We were formed in 2011 after the completion of a study conducted by Roger Brooks of Destination Development International.  Roger's team was contracted by the city to develop a plan to help find the best economic development project to change the tide of a declining population and rising unemployment.  The result was a brand action plan calling for an increase in the tourism industry through the creation of an arts and entertainment district.