Artsy Small Town America

Been meaning to mention this article from the Christian Science Monitor on a trend in creating regional art centers in small towns across the USA. I never would have thought of Paducah, Kentucky as a hip and artsy locale, though I did know that Hot Springs, Arkansas was a popular destination for art tourism.

1 thought on “Artsy Small Town America

  1. Wayne's Mom

    It’s comforting to know Hot Springs is making a name for itself in the national arts community.

    Until my husband got transferred to Hot Springs three years ago, I thought Arkansas was mostly about huntin’ and fishin’ and the wonderful outdoor life. But that’s only the beginning!

    We were pleasantly surprised by the wealth of hidden gems here in our new home town. For example, as professional cellist who used to live only three hours away, I was shocked to learn of the first-rate Hot Springs Music Festival, an annual event that attracts 200 pre-professional classical and jazz musicians from around the world.

    (Note: Although I am a travel writer and public relations professional, I am not paid to promote our city nor any of the properties or events I’ve listed. These are just our personal favorites!)

    Ours is a unique demographic here in Hot Springs, where the median age is 42. A healthy percentage of us have incomes of $100K or more, and we support 12 championship golf courses and 27 non-profit organizations directly related to the visual and performing arts. Having hosted a Historic District Gallery Walk the first Friday of each month for nearly 16 years, Hot Springs was recently named #4 Art Town in America. The 200th Gallery Walk celebration is planned for February 2006.

    There are definitely other great things to do in addition to the Hot Springs Music Festival, held the first two weeks of June each year. Early September brings the annual Bluesfest and Hot Springs Jazzfest.

    By late October, the city swells with nearly 20,000 people for the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, one of four preliminary sites for the Academy Awards in the documentary category.

    From January through April, hotels and restaurants are booming with racing fans at Oaklawn Jockey Club, a 102-year-old thoroughbred racetrack.

    Cradled by the Ouachita Mountains, three pristine lakes lure the likes of FLW Bass Fishing Championships. a breathtaking bounty of botanical beauty known as Garvan Woodland Gardens. is located on a 210-acre peninsula of Lake Hamilton.

    Our particularly outstanding accommodations include Lookout Point Lakeside Inn, one of only three Arkansas inns listed on the Select Registry. Many folks enjoy the convenience of Embassy Suites Hot Springs, an all suite hotel adjacent to Summit Arena, was ranked #1 Embassy Suites worldwide for 2004. You’ll find adult locals politely congregating in the atrium around the piano bar during happy hour.

    Looking for lunch? For eclectic urban cuisine, check out the award-winning Cafe 1217, recently featured as one of the best deli’s in the country on The Food Network!

    Best of all, Hot Springs is packed with people who understand hospitality. Sure, we have attractions. But without the people who live here, we’d be a ghost town instead of a resort town.

    Local people. Local events. Hot Springs’ REAL attraction.
    Come see us!
    Rebecca McCormick

    Executive Editor, Hot Springs Life & Home and Wayne’s Mom

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