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story.lead_photo.caption Executive Director Sonny Kay stands outside the Low Key Arts building in Hot Springs. Low Key Arts will host its first-ever prom fundraiser Jan. 27, beginning at 8 p.m. The cost to attend the fundraiser is $10 each or $15 per couple. - Photo by William Harvey

— Get your tuxes and limos ready, Hot Springs. Low Key Arts will host its first Prom Fundraiser Formale on Jan. 27.

“It has been interesting,” said Sonny Kay, executive director of Low Key Arts. “We have received an enthusiastic response. I’m a little surprised.

“Apparently, a whole bunch of people want to relive their prom.”

Kay said he plans on pulling out all the stops by dressing up the club with standard prom fare.

“We really want it to feel like a classic prom,” Kay said. “It is going to be very photogenic.”

The fundraiser will take place at the Low Key Arts building, 118 Arbor St. in Hot Springs, from 8 p.m. to midnight. The cost for the event is $10 per person or $15 per couple. DJ Courier Coleman will provide the music, and photographer Devin Castle will be on-site to take photos under a balloon arch.

“He is a local photographer and is really impressive,” Kay said. “He does a lot of boudoir photography, and his stuff is really artistic.

“I can only imagine how good the stuff is going to turn out.”

For more information, email Kay at, or visit

Money raised by the event will benefit the Valley of the Vapors music festival, which will run March 16-20.

“We want the festival to be as strong as it can be this year,” Kay said. “We have the FOLK (Friends of Low Key) program and other things like that, which bring in a lot of underwriting, for all the programming.

“But it is something we are trying to underwrite a little more heavily. We are attempting to do things we haven’t necessarily done in the past.”

Kay said he doesn’t want to “count his chickens before they hatch,” but he hopes the fundraiser will help build a foundation to create some flexibility for the event.

“[During the festival], we are hoping to partner with more venues around town this year, with secret shows and acoustic pop shows — make anything we want to do feasible,” Kay said.

In correlation with the prom fundraiser, Kay said, Low Key Arts is revamping its FOLK program this month.

“It is basically our annual membership support program that we have developed the past couple of years,” Kay said. “People pay a flat fee for the year, and it allows them into our main events.”

The main events for Low Key Arts include the Valley of the Vapors music festival; Arkansas Shorts: A Night of Short Film; and the Hot Water Waters Hills festival. Low Key Arts is also responsible for Inception to Projection, a filming program, and KUHS 97.9 in Hot Springs. The cost for the annual membership is $120 or, essentially, $10 a month.

“We are actually expanding that this year and allowing other events to fall under that umbrella,” Kay said. “The prom will be one of those. FOLK-pass holders will get into the prom for free.

“We are also going to be including select shows at the club within the umbrella of the program.”

Kay said the organization is trying to create an incentive for people to check out the smaller shows they wouldn’t necessary be inclined to see otherwise.

“We are trying to develop a more consistent schedule at the club,” Kay said. “Ideally, we would like to have something going on at least every couple of weeks, if not more often.

“This time next year, I’d like to think we’d have a lot more going on. These things take time.”

Part of the revamping of the program includes streamlining the process by issuing cards to members.

“We are trying to gradually, in an organized fashion as we possibly can, get away from reliance on a bunch of paper and mayhem at the entry,” Kay said. “By issuing the cards to the people, it is a convenient way to stick it in their wallet or purse and streamline the whole process a little bit.”

The fundraiser is open to everyone 18 years and older.

“It is a serious fundraiser, and we are serious about it being formal,” he said. “We are hoping people really embrace the idea.”

He said that so far, the reaction to the event has been positive.

“It is appealing to people who otherwise wouldn’t necessarily come to a show,” Kay said. “The age range seems to be across the board. We have people be very vocal and had some enthusiastic responses from people in their 60s.

“I think it is going to be a collective night.”

Staff writer Sam Pierce can be reached at (501) 226-8233 or

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