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$5 million donation to support El Dorado entertainment district

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was published November 28, 2012 at 11:13 a.m.

The Murphy Foundation says it has donated $5 million to help create an entertainment district in downtown El Dorado.

The El Dorado-based foundation said in a statement the money will go to El Dorado Festival and Events, a group working to create and support a local art collective and district.

“The Murphy Foundation believes that a solid business plan is the key to success,” Murphy Foundation President Madison Murphy said in a statement. “El Dorado Festival and Events, Inc. has provided a road map, backed by research and key demographic data, that will foster this culture of Southern arts and, in turn, create a tremendous opportunity for El Dorado and the region.”

El Dorado Festival and Events said the district will ultimately result in more than 250 performances a year at more than 35 events in El Dorado. The project includes collaborations with the Southern Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and the Southern Arkansas Arts Center as well as the renovation and transformation of the Rialto Theatre into The Southern Theatre Festival.

The total cost of the project is $50 million, organizers said.

The Murphy Foundation donation comes on the heels of $9 million allotted last week by the El Dorado City Council.

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