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See & do

The big news in North Little Rock is the coming Argenta Plaza (502 Main St.), a $4.6 million development scheduled for completion sometime in the latter part of 2019. The plaza promises to be a world-class urban gathering place where art of all stripes will be showcased. A wall of water will serve as a visual and sound backdrop. A 35-foot-by-35-foot screen above a stage will allow the projection of film, sports and cultural events. The plaza will integrate the water features with lighting designed by the Renfro Design Group of New York, which worked on the American Museum of Natural History’s Richard Gilder Center.

But there’s plenty to do in the here and now: The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub (201 E. Broadway) is a nonprofit maker space where members can use 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC routers, screen-printing machines, a full woodshop and more to create their own products. Regular classes are offered, too, and the Hub does outreach to schoolchildren. Get your literary fix, for free, at the monthly Argenta Reading Series at the Argenta United Methodist Church (317 Main St.), where local and regional authors appear. The Joint (301 Main) is a coffeehouse and theater that regularly hosts comedy and improv shows and is the home of The Main Thing, a professional comedy troupe that does satirical two-act comedy shows every Friday and Saturday. The Joint also hosts the popular Argenta Acoustic Series. Catch a play or film at the Argenta Community Theater (405 Main), a nonprofit that attracts top-notch local and regional talent to perform in the intimate 300-seat theater. The biggest concerts and events in Arkansas happen at Verizon Arena, just east of Main Street, and on the banks of the Arkansas River, take a tour of the USS Razorback submarine at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum. 

Beyond downtown, CHARTS, as UA Pulaski Technical College’s Center for Humanities and Arts (3000 W. Scenic Drive) is known, has become an essential Central Arkansas destination since its opening in 2016. The 90,000-square-foot building includes a 450-seat theater, which has hosted performances from the likes of Mavis Staples and Pharoah Sanders, as well as productions by Ballet Arkansas and Opera in the Rock. CHARTS’ Windgate Gallery shows local and national art exhibits.

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Art walks & galleries

North Little Rock is home to the Thea Foundation (401 Main), Arkansas’s most vibrant arts education enterprise. Paul and Linda Leopoulos founded the nonprofit in memory of their late daughter, Thea, whose achievements in high school art classes gave her the confidence to excel in other academic areas. Thea offers gallery space for adult and student artists, provides funds for art supplies for schools across the state and awards annual competitive visual and performing arts scholarships to graduating high school students.
     The Argenta Art Walk, held every third Friday of the month from 5-8 p.m., includes a host of top-notch galleries and venues, including the Thea Foundation, Greg Thompson Fine Art (429 Main), Argenta Gallery (413 Main), Barry Thomas Fine Art & Studio (711 Main), The House of Art (108 E. Fourth St.) and the Argenta Branch of the Laman Library (420 Main).

 

Eat & drink

Three brewers make Argenta a destination for craft beer consumption: Diamond Bear Brewing Co. (600 N. Broadway), Flyway Brewing (314 Maple St.) and Core Public House (411 Main St.), one of the Springdale-based brewery’s many satellites.

North Little Rock is also home of the top-of-the-line roasting and packaging facility for Westrock Coffee, which delivers robust fair-trade African, Central American and South American blends. It’s sold in grocery stores, restaurants and shops throughout the state. Fischer’s Honey (2001 N. Poplar St.) is the largest and oldest honey processing and packing plant in Arkansas; you can buy directly from its headquarters or in stores throughout the state.