Arkansans for the Arts (formerly known as Arts Advocates Arkansas) came into fruition primarily through the efforts Garbo Hearne (Little Rock) and Mitch Mitchell (Fayetteville) due to a shared interest in expanding support for the arts throughout the state.
Hearne and Mitchell initially connected through their service on the Arkansas Arts Council Board and agreed that the state was capable of doing more to support the arts. After a bit of research and with some assistance from Americans for the Arts, the pair discovered that Arkansas was one of only five states that did not have an arts advocacy network and quickly resolved to change this reality.
After much planning, Arts Advocates Arkansas was launched and the pair began building the necessary infrastructure to support the organization. Hearne retired from the Arkansas Arts Council board to devote more time to recruiting board members and building relationships with essential partners while Mitch served as interim director, handling the day-to-day operations of the organization.
By August 2015, the board moved forward in hiring the organization’s first executive director -- El Dorado, Arkansas native, Jessica DeLoach Sabin.