Today's Paper Latest stories Most commented Obits Traffic Weather Newsletters Puzzles + Games
story.lead_photo.caption State Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, and Miss America 2017 Savvy Shields

A state lawmaker, in a social media post, says a billboard advertising dance studies instead of other degrees at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock is “not OK.”

“They lease a sign to encourage computer science degrees or math teachers? No, they push for dance majors,” Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, wrote Monday on Twitter.

The lawmaker said that for that reason, higher education does not need increased funding.

“Lots of hardworking Arkansans subsidizing this,” Hester said.

The billboard along Interstate 30 shows a dancer to the words "dance major" and features the statement: “Unlimited pathways. Close to home.”

Miss America 2017 Savvy Shields, who is studying art at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, took issue with Hester’s comments in a reply.

“I disagree with this on so many levels,” she said. “As an artist and a dancer, I have seen the arts influence, inspire, challenge and transform society.”

Shields added that art education is “crucial in the advancement of Arkansas.”

State Rep. Bob Ballinger, R-Berryville, also chimed in on Twitter, questioning Shields' stance on the issue.

“Really, how so? How is art education crucial to the advancement of Arkansas?” Ballinger asked.

Judy Williams, UALR's associate vice chancellor of communications and marketing, said the billboard is one of several marketing tools in a campaign that features students in various programs.

"Our university offers the only dance performance program in Arkansas," Williams said in an emailed statement. "This is only one ad in the campaign."

Other UALR programs spotlighted include engineering, biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, economics, nursing and American sign language.

Williams said the marketing campaign "is designed to introduce prospective students and the community to the variety of majors and programs that are available."

Sponsor Content


You must be signed in to post comments
  • RBear
    February 7, 2018 at 11:52 a.m.

    Two idiot Republican lawmakers who question the value of liberal arts majors in our state. Honestly, I appreciate art, music, and dance majors who help provide cultural enrichment for the state. Oh, and a little note to these two lawmakers. Big companies like Apple and Amazon LOOK for areas where the cultural arts are celebrated, not suppressed.

  • hah406
    February 7, 2018 at 12:17 p.m.

    Ballinger and Hester are the two biggest idiots in the legislature. Liberal arts degrees will take you very far in this world, especially if you combine them with some science education. Education in the arts is just as important to the culture of our society as any other field of study. They are probably both Baptists who think dancing is a sin. And to take one billboard and say this is why higher education doesn't need any more money is just plain ignorant.

  • BRR
    February 7, 2018 at 12:47 p.m.

    I’m not sure which is more ridiculous, the story reported or the comments made about it.

  • FireEyes
    February 7, 2018 at 12:51 p.m.

    While I disagree that arts are such a great thing, who CARES what's on the billboard? ALL degrees should have equal merit. NO degree should have more prominence than another. I'll bet you liberals would be squealing just as loudly as those representatives if a RELIGIOUS degree was up there.........and you'd be EQUALLY WRONG!

    As to the denominations those gentleman belong to, that was a low blow hah406 and just your excuse to dis religion. But that's how you "anything goes" liberals roll isn't it? Patience, you'll soon have 7 years of having it your way totally..........pity is your way totally destroys civilization world wide during that time.

  • GeneralMac
    February 7, 2018 at 1 p.m.

    No problem with the billboard.

    Those that major in dancing or the arts better not cry years from now on how they are going to pay their massive student loan debt off on fast food wages.

  • GeneralMac
    February 7, 2018 at 1:03 p.m.

    RBear says........." big companies like Apple or Amazon look for areas where the arts are celebrated"

    Are those big companies hiring many dance majors from the University of Arkansas Little Rock ?

  • doc1940
    February 7, 2018 at 1:14 p.m.

    I've been a musician essentially all my life and I love the arts. But that isn't how I made a living and supported my family. I worked in the sciences to do that. Ballet dancers and clarinetists are great but they aren't the people who will develop energy sources for when we run out of oil or ways to get more yield from an acre of corn. They can put on a great show when we get to mars - but they aren't the ones who will get us there.

  • KathyHolt
    February 7, 2018 at 1:17 p.m.

    The arts, music and dance programs enhance Arkansas the same way taxpayer subsidized athletics programs do sir. Why don't you complain about that?

  • Delta123
    February 7, 2018 at 1:24 p.m.

    Tempest in a Teapot aka a slow news day.

  • oldude
    February 7, 2018 at 1:27 p.m.

    What a narrow minded hick this guy is ! Hope he's gone next go around !