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Jazz Lovers rejoice!

"Anat does what all authentic musicians do: She tells stories from her own experiences that are so deeply felt that they are very likely to connect listeners to their own dreams, desires and longings."

The Wall Street Journal

Clarinetist-saxophonist Anat Cohen has won hearts and minds the world over with her expressive virtuosity and delightful stage presence. The Jazz Journalists Association has voted Anat as Clarinetist of the Year eight years in a row, and she has topped both the Critics and Readers Polls in the clarinet category in DownBeat magazine every year since 2011. That’s not to mention years of being named Rising Star in the soprano and tenor saxophone categories in DownBeat, as well as for Jazz Artist of the Year.

Fun Facts

  • Anat was born in Tel Aviv, Israel 
  • Began clarinet studies at age 12
  • Graduated from both the Tel Aviv School for the Arts & Berklee College of Music 
  • Was the 1st Israeli to headline at the Village Vanguard
  • World's greatest jazz festivals invite Anat to perform (JVC, Chicago, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage, etc.)

Anat Cohen and her songs tell authentic stories that are deeply intertwined with the human experience. Her effervesence is deeply resonating and her versatility allows her to embrace a diverse palate of styles, from jazz standards and Brazlian Choros to compelling original compositions.

Here's a clip of Cohen performing "Putty Boy Strut" (originally by Flying Lotus) from her album LUMINOSA:


The Anat Cohen Quartet return to WAC  

Saturday, Nov. 21 at 7pm & 9pm

Tickets are $15-30 and can be purchased online here, by calling 479.443.5600 or in-person at the Walton Arts Center Box Office located in Nadine Baum Studios.



Pardon Our Dust: WAC is Open!


Children crossing West Street to attend "Me and My Shadow" 

Walton Arts Center officially opened the 2015-2016 Hard Hat Season last week with the children’s show Me and My Shadow presented by Patch Theatre from Australia. In addition to a public performance on Friday, Patch Theatre also performed for more than 1,000 Northwest Arkansas students throughout the week during their educational shows! Every year, Walton Arts Center serves more than 45,000 students and teachers through numerous education initiatives. Even with construction in full force, we will continue to present award winning education programs to the children in our community throughout the season.

Me and My Shadow was followed by a packed house for the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas’ Masterworks I on Saturday. This week, the first 2015-16 Procter & Gamble Broadway Series show, Pippin, will present eight performances Tuesday thru Sunday!

Our Pippin artists are reaping the full benefits of our new backstage spaces. In the past, Starr Theater was turned into a large storage closet for nearly one-third of our season to accommodate large touring productions. This kept Walton Arts Center from hosting performances in the space for much of the year.

WAC’s Starr Theater & Backstage Hallway during "The Wizard of Oz" in April 2014


With the recent completion of the first phase of our expansion), Pippin artists have the luxury of utilizing the new wig and wardrobe spaces that had previously been housed in Starr Theater! These new spaces will allow for Walton Arts Center to be a fully functioning two-theater facility when the Starr Theater renovation and expansion is complete in April 2016.

 WAC’s new Wardrobe Room during "Pippin"

Even with construction in full force during our Hard Hat Season, we still hope to see you at Walton Arts Center! With the help of everyone in our community, we are building a better place to live. When you attend a performance, please stop by our gallery to learn more about the expansion and learn how you can Play a Part!As a special gift, anyone who makes a gift of $50 or more to Investing in Our Future: The Expansion of Walton Arts Center campaign will receive a commemorative lapel pin.

Play a Part Lapel Pin

We have many giving levels available, including the opportunity to purchase bricks in our new Bill and LeAnn Underwood Family plaza and the option to put your name on a chair in Baum Walker Hall or Starr Theater! Please email for more information. We look forward to seeing you during our 24th season of programming at WAC!


2nd Annual SEEK Event on Nov. 11!


What is S.E.E.K. Fayetteville? 

 S.E.E.K. represents the unique aspects of Fayetteville that inspired us to create this event: Savor, Enrich, Explore and Know... SAVOR some of Fayetteville’s artfully crafted local cuisine and beverages at Puritan Brew Co. ENRICH your mind by experiencing the artistic nature of our community at Walton Arts Center. EXPLORE the beauty of the Ozark Mountains by connecting with nature and getting lost in the harmonic state of mind that Fayettechill embodies. Get to KNOW your local community!




Explore: At 5:30pm, the pre-party starts at Fayettechill! Grab your shades, enjoy the sunshine, and prepare yourself for a live circus performance alongside complimentary Fayettechill Ale and tacos from Kona Coast! Don’t miss the chance to have your picture taken in the Fayettechill photo booth – complete with props. Plus, we’ll be raffling off some sweet door prizes! 

Enrich: Every season, WAC chooses a Broadway show to collaborate the SEEK event with - this year it's PIPPIN! Around 6:30pm, we’ll walk to Walton Arts Center for the premiere of Pippin, the story of a young man who’s on a journey to be extraordinary! This Tony® Award winning musical will lift you up and leave you with a giant smile, showcasing acrobatics and magical feats that are unlike anything you’ve ever seen. 

Savor: All jazzed up and nowhere to go? Head up the street to Puritan Brew Co. for the after-party! We'll have an open bar, sweet door prizes including tickets to see Twenty One Pilots at the AMP, and more photo booth fun! We’ve even invited the cast and crew of Pippin to come chill with us after the show - be there to meet Broadway royalty!

Get to KNOW: Got Flow?, a group of flow artists, will be at the pre AND post party to entertain us with their fire dancing and incredible talent! They were recently spotted performing at Hillberry Music Festival just last month... 

*Get your ticket using the promo code "seek" for special access to $25 tickets, exclusive to students and young professionals. Give us a call at 479.443.5600 or bring cash to the pre-party at Fayettechill and purchase your ticket there.

Don't forget to join the Facebook event HERE for more info!



The Hard Hat Season is Finally Here

Entrance to Walton Arts Center’s New Administrative Offices

Phase one of Walton Arts Center’s expansion and renovation is almost complete! In July 2014, construction began on the City of Fayetteville’s new downtown parking deck which included plans for a liner building that would add over 16,500 square feet to house Walton Arts Center’s administrative offices and additional backstage spaces. Just barely a year later, the new parking deck and three story building are set to open in late October, just in time for the 24th season of programming!

Looking West from the top floor of Walton Arts Center’s new Administrative Offices

The top floors of the new office building will house Walton Arts Center’s staff while the ground level will connect to WAC’s backstage spaces which include a new wardrobe and wig room, production offices, a laundry room for touring companies, a crew lounge and musical instrument storage. For several years, Walton Arts Center transformed Starr Theater into storage to accommodate larger Broadway productions. The new backstage spaces will provide additional, much needed space for large touring productions and allow Starr Theater to be a fully functional, black-box theater throughout every season beginning in 2016.

Starr Theater Expansion Steel Framing

Walton Arts Center is excited to see the completion of phase one, and we hope you will join us for a show during our Hard Hat Season while we are still under construction on phase two. Please visit our expansion webpage for more information, updates, ways you can contribute and to see the virtual tour. We look forward to seeing you during our this season!     


Q&A with Paragon Ragtime Orchestra Director

First up on our 10x10 Arts Series is Paragon Ragtime Orchestra (PRO), the world’s only year-round, professional ensemble recreating “America’s Original Music” – the syncopated sounds of early musical theater, silent cinema and vintage dance. PRO is also known as one of the premiere performance groups for American music written around the turn of the 20th century. Since the 1980s, PRO has been rediscovering and performing the music of that era in hundreds of concert venues and in a large number of recordings which continues to grow. 

Watch as the PRO, conducted by Rick Benjamin, accompanies Charlie Chaplin's 1916 silent film comedy The Pawn Shop using original music cues and orchestrations! This excerpt is the famous "Alarm Clock Scene" from the full screening of the film at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa.


Rick Benjamin is the heart and soul of PRO! He has built a career on the discovery and performance of lost American music from the late 19th and early 20th Centuries and is the founder and director of PRO. And, we recently had a chance to sit down with Mr. Benjamin and pick his brain... 

Q&A with Rick Benjamin

1. What inspired you to recreate the movie music system from the early 20th century?

 PRO and I are recreating an incredibly unique, incredibly fun art form from the early 1900s that combines great stories (projected on a screen - movies!) with amazing live music. It's the combination that made tens of millions of people fall in love with the movies a hundred years ago.  

2. How do you build a score for a silent film?

We use historic materials - lost musical scores and "cue sheets" that I've discovered in over thirty years of "picking." We have original music for hundreds of early films.  

3. Does this passion run in your family?

Yes, my mother was an organist and choir director, and my grandfather (her father) was a violinist in movie house orchestras in the 1920s. 

4. List some of your favorite pioneers of movie music.

We just did a whole album of them - The Pioneers of Movie Music - which includes my fifty-page essay on the top composers. You can read and listen to it on our website! 

5. Who are some of your favorite contemporary composers? 

Eric Ewazan (my teacher at Juilliard), Ian Clarke, Frank Ticheli, Christian Humcke

6. Pick 5 words—that start with the letter ‘p’—to describe your music. 

Peppy, powerful, piquant, pleasant, priceless 

7. What has been your most exciting performance to date?

A three-night engagement at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, with all three nights sold-out. 

8. Do you have a preference for writing your own scores or reworking classics?

I created PRO to perform already existing, historic scores. We have one of the world's greatest collections - 20,000 by more than 1,000 different composers. We'll NEVER run out of tunes! 

9. What is the best advice that you have been given? 

Always be learning, from both mistakes and successes, and always look for the positive. A close second: surround yourself with people who support and inspire you. 

10. Whom do you define as a visionary?

Someone who can synthesize existing ideas into a new concept, with concrete plans for how to move it forward. 


PRO will present The Clown Princes of Silent Comedy on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 7pm. Be sure to join us before the show at 6pm for a Creative Conversation with the creative minds fr1om PRO, and then again for the post-show party!


Tickets are available online or by calling our Box Office at 479.443.5600.