My Walton Arts Center

A yearlong campaign and open call for the community

By Jennifer Wilson | Photos courtesy of Walton Arts Center

Walton Arts Center began when the public and private sectors in Northwest Arkansas had a vision and worked together for the good of the community. Negotiations, compromise, persistence and a shared vision ultimately yielded a facility and an organization that has enriched the cultural life of the region for nearly three decades.

In the late 1980s, the Walton family, University of Arkansas and City of Fayetteville realized the need for a venue that could accommodate major touring shows, local and regional performing acts, and even corporate meetings. As each group explored its options, the potential to work together became more apparent and exciting, ultimately leading to the opening of Walton Arts Center in 1992.

The performing arts center is celebrating its nearly 30-year anniversary by kicking off a yearlong campaign, My Walton Arts Center, to collect fond memories from patrons, volunteers, staff, artists and partners from over the years.

Initial Construction 91 - 2_sm.jpg

Breaking ground on the performing arts center circa 2010

Walton Arts Center prior to its renovation in 2016

Helen Walton (left) and Billie J

oe Starr during the grand opening of Walton Arts Center in 1992


Walton Arts Center after its renovation

and expansion in 2016

“We have been part of the cultural fabric of Northwest Arkansas for nearly three decades,” says Peter B. Lane, president and CEO of Walton Arts Center. “Throughout the pandemic and the suspension of full-scale operations, we kept hearing from members of the community about how much Walton Arts Center meant to them. We really want to capture those personal memories and celebrate that connection as we return to full-scale operations in anticipation of our 30th anniversary celebration.”

Walton Arts Center is asking people to call 479.571.2702 and leave their name, the city they are calling from and a Walton Arts Center memory or experience. These can be a favorite memory that they have such as the first show they saw at the venue, what they value most about the arts center or why they consider Walton Arts Center to be their theater.

Walton Arts Center staff will collect memories throughout the year, with the goal of incorporating and highlighting select memories as part of the 30th anniversary celebration throughout the 2021-22 season. By leaving a recording, patrons give Walton Arts Center permission to use their voice or memory in the celebration next year.

For more information about My Walton Arts Center, please visit


Area students enjoy a Colgate

Classroom Series performance

at Walton Arts Center