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History and Fun Facts

  • In 1967, the Arts Center of the Ozarks was created for people by people who cared about the arts being a part of everyday life. It continues to be Northwest Arkansas’ very personal home for the arts.


  • Over 125,000 people of all ages are touched by the ACO's programs each year.


  • Approximately 20,000 students from elementary, middle, junior and senior highs from over 21 school districts attended daytime performance events and /or participated in performance or visual arts events during the past school year, including classes from NWACC. Some events are free of charge; those that are not, never cost more than $3 per student.


  • During its 45 years, the ACO has been the first to institute community theatre, dinner theatre, performance and visual arts classes for children and adults, children's theatre productions, children choirs, adult community choir, & a ball and silent auction.


  • Over 300 artists were shown in the ACO Galleries during the 2010-2011 season in collective competitions and solo exhibitions.


  • An average of 10,000 volunteer hours is required to produce and perform one ACO Summer Musical.


  • The ACO theatre is in use 200 nights a year for in-house productions alone. After school/weekend day use for theatre classes is 100 days. Day use for travel films, school performances and workshops total 30 days per year. Additional weekend/evening use for ACO choral concerts, dance performances, and other outside artists averages 25 nights.


  • The annual cost for utilities averages $36,000.00


  • It costs approximately $1500.00 per calendar day to operate the ACO.


  • Season memberships currently provide 13% of ACO annual revenues.


  • More than 575 volunteers of all ages participate each year in the programming and administration of the ACO, from performing to ushering to sewing costumes to working on tech crews to selling concessions to preparing mailings to answering phones to singing in the chorale to exhibiting their artworks to fund-raising to serving on the ACO Board of Directors.


  • Over 50 adults sing in the ACO Chorale----members come from all over Northwest Arkansas.


  • Over 80 children were enrolled in summer classes in theatre, music, and visual arts during June and July alone last summer.


  • The ACO has been the exhibition organizer of the Prairie Grove Clothesline Fair, the oldest area arts and crafts fair now in its 60th year since 1973.


  • The oldest participant onstage in an ACO Mainstage Theatre production to date was 84 years old; the youngest was 5 years old. (Not including 3 dogs and 1 cat)


  • The ACO's “For the Love of the Arts” provides help for economically challenged children wanting to participate in classes, choirs, workshops so that money is not a factor in the creative process.


  • The ACO has one of largest costume collections of period and vintage clothing in the state of Arkansas.


  • Last year the ACO offered 70 theatre performances opportunities; 27 visual arts exhibitions/events; 7 music performance events; 73 performing and visual arts educational offerings; 46 performances/events for schools, and 5 fundraising events.