Serving the community for nearly two decades, Inviting Arkansas continues to recognize philanthropic + civic leadership in Central Arkansas. As we begin this new decade, we have some buried treasures to share from the archives. These are just a few illustrious covers that reflect the continued mission fulfillment work in our community. Enjoy the memories, read about a few of the Capital City’s beloved foundations and remember to vote for your favorite cover – one of these nonprofit organizations will win a complimentary ad in the magazine. The contest will close on May 31st… #MakingPhilanthropyFUN
Elizabeth Banko for the Arkansas Arts Center – February 2010 Issue
By Jillian Duke | Photography by Nancy Nolan | Hair by Lindy Bass with Raspberries | Makeup by Antonio Figueroa with Dillard’s Chanel | Necklace provided from Roberson‘s Fine Jewelry | Earrings from Faux Pas | Shot on location at the Arkansas Arts Center
Elizabeth Banko’s house is full of children and activities surrounding them. She wouldn’t have it any other way. The fact that she and her husband, Peter Banko, have four children speaks to a larger purpose in the community. Although involved in many organizations, a top priority for Liz is giving all children opportunities to succeed in investing in their future. The arts are good place to start, the native New Yorker says.
“The arts center is the first step to show children the world,” she says. “It gives them away to express themselves and shows them that art is accessible.” The arts have always been an instrumental part in Liz’s life. Growing up in Long Island, she says she was fortunate to take piano lessons and being in such venues as Carnegie Hall. In her all girls Catholic high school, the study of focus was on humanities. She and the girls studied art, history, music and literature collectively, and so they understood why Charles dickens wrote A Tale of Two Cities. Now, as an adult, Liz says a perfect day is going to the Children’s Theater at the Arkansas Arts Center in the morning with her smaller children into the Repertory Theater at night with her 14-year-old. With her passion for the arts, it only seems fitting that Liz is chair of the Museums Comes to Life Program at the arts center.
Based on the popular movie series, Night at the Museum, the arts center will use actors and costumes to create interactive activities featuring works from the centers permanent collection. The new interactive art education program will be implemented with two separate events targeting specific audiences. On March 5, Carnaval, the centers bi-annual event, will serve as the marketing launch and adults-only preview party to introduce the Museum Comes to Life Program. Then, on April 23, the family event will be held and seek to engage members in the public in a fun, family centered and educational evening.
Liz moved to Arkansas in 2007 when her husband excepted the CEO position at St. Vincent‘s Health System. The family moved in May of that year with their children, Daniel, 14, Lauren, 9, Zachary, 8, and Luke, 2. “We lived in an apartment for a year while our house was being built. I started doing the classroom mom thing to become active in our children’s schools,” she says. She also became involved with Catholic Charities in soon realized the generosity of Arkansans. “ I never meet a person not involved in someway.” The culture and art were factors Liz considered it before moving here, she notes. The culture and arts were factors Liz considered it before moving here, she notes. “We have a lot to offer the Arts Center, the Children’s Theatre, exhibits and other cultural activities in Little Rock helped determine whether we moved here.”
The upcoming Museum Comes to Life Program combines Liz’s need to give back as well as her love of the arts. “When we started brainstorming for the Carnaval event, we thought of the Pharaoh’s exhibit and all of the other exhibits, and thought why not make the museum come to life? Art can be static to people, especially children, and we want the place to come to life,” she says. “The event will take the Arts Center collections to a whole new level. We already have a fabulous educational programs and this will expand it to a whole other medium. Each artifact will tell a story behind it and kids will have their eyes wide open the whole time. Guests will be greeted by art, entertained by artists and inspired by art, which is the mission of the Arkansas Arts Center.”