New after-school arts opportunities coming to Bald Knob

By Angela Spencer Published August 7, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.
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PHOTO BY: Rusty Hubbard

Above: LaDonna Gibson, artistic director of the Bald Knob Fine Arts Council, back, instructs Mattea Smithson, from left, Brooke Manley and Sarah Gibson during a dance class in Bald Knob.

After-school activities for the upcoming school year just got a little more artistic in Bald Knob.

The Bald Knob Fine Arts Council has received a grant that will allow the council to host a free after-school program called The Studio for students in grades three through 12. Preregistration for the program will be from 2-4 p.m. Sunday at Community of Christ Church.

The Bald Knob Arts Council, which was established in 2000, has been active in getting children involved in the arts for many years. LaDonna Gibson, artistic director of the Bald Knob Fine Arts Council, said this program came about after several successful years of summer programs.

“For eight years now, we’ve had a summer program that has been very successful,” she said, adding that this year’s summer program had 110 participants.

The council had been mulling over how to host an after-school program that might have similar success, but the grants considered to fund the program required a specific location for the program. Gibson said that was a stumbling block until a local church approached her about after-school arts.

“The Community of Christ Church in Bald Knob talked to me in the winter about doing an after-school program,” she said.

Once the location was established, Renee Garr and Davissa Brimer wrote the grant for The Studio. The council received word in mid-July that they had been awarded a 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant for $660,000 over the next five years. The money will be used for purchasing musical instruments, paying instructors and covering other program costs.

“The money is given out in increments in August and then again in January,” Gibson said. “It’s going to go toward paying for the program itself. It’s heavily monitored.”

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program supports the creation of community learning centers for enrichment opportunities — such as music, art and drama — during nonschool hours.

The Studio will include classes such as Suzuki strings; Art 1: Exploring our world through color and line; Art 2: Exercise in creativity via acrylics, watercolor and multimedia; musical performance; Jazz Band 1 and 2; Dance 1 and 2; African drumming; drama; a cappella pop; and private instruction in instrumental and vocal music.

Classes are free because of the grant, but some have limited registration.

Gibson said there will also be time for homework or tutoring for students at The Studio. The program will start in mid-September and will be held from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Community of Christ Church is at 204 S Hickory St. in Bald Knob. For more information on the Bald Knob Fine Arts Council, visit

Staff writer Angela Spencer can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or

Zoned Editions Staff Writer Angela Spencer can be reached at 501-244-4307 or

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