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El Dorado MusicFest has three days of varied performers, concerts
Scanning this week's Arkansas cultural landscape, there appears to be just one spot where a person can find heavy doses of '70s-'80s funk, classic rock, blue-collar country, blazing hot hip-hop and a downtown, family friendly festival. Read More
Dazz & Brie
El Dorado, Arkansas
2017 Editors' Picks
Perhaps the most unusual journey I took this year was to El Dorado—it’s pronounced El Do—ray—do—a small town in southern Arkansas that aspires to transform itself into a musical mecca. For most of the last century, the economy of El Dorado was fueled by timber and oil, which made El Dorado more vibrant economically than much of Arkansas and northern Louisiana. The relative cluster of wealth led to some demand for and patronage of the arts, which in turn led to El Dorado becoming known as something of a music hub in the rural South. Read More
Austin Barrow
Austin Barrow, President and COO of El Dorado’s Murphy Arts District, Arkansas Life
YOU MAY NOT think of El Dorado as a hotbed for the performing arts. But you’d be wrong. This is largely due to the efforts of visionary Austin Barrow, a native son who returned home to help create what we now know as the Murphy Arts District, which opened to much fanfare this September. Acting on the premise that performing arts are salve to the community soul as well as a plank in the platform for economic growth, Austin works to celebrate Southern storytelling and musical talent in big-city-style venues that have brought blighted downtown buildings back to life. Read More
Brad Paisley
AMERICA’S NEXT GREAT CITY FOR THE ARTS IS IN … ARKANSAS?, Inside Hook
Setting: A once prosperous oil boomtown isolated in the American South. After decades of economic stability, a slow decay begins as people leave for larger cities and new opportunities. Main Street grows quieter by the year. No, this isn’t the setup for Clint Eastwood’s next flick. It’s the very real problem faced by the town of El Dorado, Arkansas. Read More
Edwin Alderson
Celebrating the Life of Edwin Alderson
The Murphy Arts District (MAD) lost one of its founders last week, Edwin Alderson. Edwin was arguably the greatest advocate for the City of El Dorado and certainly the thought-leader for the new arts district. He passed away October 5th, 2017, just four days after MAD's grand opening. Edwin was the project's heart and soul. His unflagging enthusiasm and energy inspired us throughout six years of dedicated work to create something unique and culturally significant for the community that he cherished. Read More