Sixth Annual ACANSA Arts Festival of the South

From Texas swing and classical strings to stand-up comedy and silver screen, the ACANSA Arts Festival of the South provides Central Arkansas with arts opportunities for a spectacular September. ACANSA provides an invigorating line-up of world-class music, dance, theatre, culinary and visual arts to partner venues in Little Rock and North Little Rock from September 13 – 28. Single event tickets begin at $20, and several educational and visual arts opportunities are free. “This sixth year of the Arts Festival is ACANSA’s greatest celebration to date,” says Dillon Hupp, Executive Director. “We’re collaborating with international, regional and local artists to provide an array of dynamic arts and cultural events.” 

Every ACANSA Arts Festival brings together arts lovers from across the state, and this year is no exception. The festival launches on Friday the 13th with an opening reception that’s free to the public at the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) Roberts Library, followed by a ticketed performance of Texas swing and early jazz by the ever-popular Hot Club of Cowtown from Austin, TX. Two weeks later, ACANSA shares in opening the season for Arkansas Symphony Orchestra by hosting world-renowned conductor JoAnn Falletta and Time for Three.

The weekends in between bring an eclectic blend of entertainment, including BODYTRAFFIC, a contemporary dance company from the west coast, Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire with Argenta Community Theatre, Children’s Art Day, international mime Bill Bowers, Tenors Unlimited, stand-up comic Stewart Fullerton, and Austin Music Award winner, Gina Chavez and her band. Open Studios in conjunction with in conjunction with the Little Rock Arts & Culture Commission is among the opportunities for visual arts.

For tickets and the complete schedule of more than a dozen events, visit or call ACANSA’s office in Little Rock at (501) 663-2287.

Hot Club of Cowtown

Friday, September 13 | 8:00pm

Tickets:  $25

Ron Robinson Theater | 100 River Market Ave, Little Rock 72201

Hot Jazz and Western Swing •  Austin-based Hot Club of Cowtown explores the space where early jazz met Texas swing, where Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang met Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. Guitarist Whit Smith and fiddler Elana James have become a world-class country-jazz duo, challenging each other and reading each other’s minds at every turn. Add in the insouciant lyrics of the era and the vigorous slap-bass rhythms of Jake Erwin, and you’ve got virtuoso small-group western swing that’s beyond infectious. 


Stewart Fullerton’s Homecoming Queen: A night of intimate storytelling and standup

Friday and Saturday, September 13th and 14th | 9:30pm | Tickets:  $20

The REP Annex, Black Box Theatre | 518 Main Street, Little Rock 72201

Native Arkansan Stewart Fullerton is a comedian and actress who moonlights as a waitress in New York City. Among her performances across the City, she appeared in the Laughing Devil Comedy Festival, as well as Broadway Comedy Club and Greenwich Comedy Club during the 2018 She-Devil Festival. She recently appeared at the Burbank Comedy Festival where she was selected for the Best of the Fest Showcase.

Gina Chavez  

Saturday, September 14th | 8:00pm | Tickets: $30

The Rail Yard | 1212 East 6th Street, Little Rock 72202

A multi-ethnic Latin pop songstress, Gina Chavez is a 10-time Austin Music Award winner. Her bilingual record, Up.Rooted, topped both the Amazon and Latin iTunes charts following a feature on NPR’s All Things Considered and has been hailed by The Boston Globe, USA Today, and Texas Monthly. Her Tiny Desk concert made NPR’s top 15 of 2015. Fresh off a 10-country tour as a cultural ambassador with the U.S. State Department, Chavez’s passionate collection of bilingual songs takes audiences on a journey through the Americas, blending the sounds and rhythms of the region with tension and grace. 

Bill Bowers’ All Over the Map  

Thursday and Friday, September 19th and 20th | 7:00pm

Tickets:  $30

The REP Annex, Black Box Theatre | 518 Main St, Little Rock 72201

All Over the Map is 50 states, 30 years on the road, 25 countries, 2 hookers, 1 bunny, and a mime. Hailed by critics as the most accomplished and renowned mime of his generation, Bill Bowers currently performs and teaches the art of physical storytelling throughout the world. Bowers takes you places so unbelievable they could only be true. Bowers has performed on Broadway, at The Kennedy Center, the White House, and in some of the finest grade school cafetoriums across the country. In All Over The Map, he shares indelible memories and characters who will stay with you long after lights-up.


Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire

Tuesday – Saturday, September 17th – 22nd | 7:30pm | Tickets:  $30

Argenta Community Theater | 405 Main Street, North Little Rock 72114 

In partnership with Argenta Community Theater, ACANSA is proud to present Tennessee Williams’ timeless masterpiece, A Streetcar Named Desire. Seeking solace from her crumbling world, Blanche arrives at her sister, Stella’s, apartment bringing her face to face with the menacing masculinity of Stanley Kowalski. Directed by Ben Grimes, the production is a raw exploration of family, sexuality, gender roles, and survival.

Community Conversation with Dr. Virginia O. Craighill

Wednesday, September 18th

Clinton School for Public Service | 1200 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock 72201

A Community Conversation will be lead by Dr. Virginia O. Craighill, Professor of English from Sewanee, The University of the South in Sewanee, TN. A graduate of the University of the South, the University of Georgia, and the University of Texas at Austin, Craighill’s interests range from 19th century and modern American literature to literary journalism, creative non-fiction, and women’s literature.

American Guitarist & Composer Bill Frisell     [SOLD OUT]

In Partnership with Argenta Acoustic

Music Series

September 19th | 7:30pm | Tickets:  $35

The Joint Theater and Coffeehouse

301 Main St, North Little Rock 72114 

Known for his impressive surf, fusion, roots, Americana and folk jazz, Grammy Award-winning Bill Frisell’s career as a guitarist and composer has spanned more than 35 years and many celebrated solo and group recordings. Frisell has been recognized as one of America’s most vital and productive performing artists by Downbeat Magazine and the Jazz Journalists Association and has received the Coup de Coeur Award from the Academie Charles Cross as well as Germany’s Echo Jazz Award and The German Record Prize.

Tenors Unlimited 

Friday, September 20 | 8:00pm | Tickets:  $40

Ron Robinson Theater | 100 River Market Ave., Little Rock 72201

With a nod to THE 3 Tenors, Tenors Unlimited – Scott Ciscon (tenor), Paul Martin (bass-baritone) and Jem Sharples (tenor) – bring their own take on the popular classical genre and expand the perception of what a 21st century ‘Tenor’ could be. Known as The Rat Pack of Opera, Tenors Unlimited cleverly combines popular opera, musical theatre, crooner standards, original songs, a wicked sense of humor and rich harmonies to perform at ACANSA and around the globe as the UK’s original classical-crossover ‘man-band.’


Saturday, September 21st | 8:00pm | Tickets:  $40

Pulaski Technical College:  The Center for Humanities and Arts (CHARTS) | 3300 West Scenic Drive, North Little Rock 72118

BODYTRAFFIC, a world-class contemporary dance company born in Los Angeles, CA, is known internationally for its contagious vivacity and high caliber work. Founded in 2007 by Lillian Rose Barbeito and Tina Finkelman Berkett, BODYTRAFFIC continues to push boundaries through its deep commitment to producing acclaimed works by distinctive choreographic voices. BODYTRAFFIC is home to an exceptionally versatile family of world-renowned dancers who have trained with the likes of Mikhail Baryshnikov, The Juilliard School, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and more.

Bette Davis Ain’t for Sissies

Thursday, September 26th | 7:00pm | Tickets:  $30

Argenta Community Theater | 405 Main Street, North Little Rock, AR 72114

Written by and starring Jessica Sherr, Bette Davis Ain’t for Sissies is an up close and personal “conversation” with the two-time Oscar-winning and ten-time Oscar-nominated actress, Bette Davis. This 90-minute one-woman show escorts audiences to the 1939 Academy Awards. Miss Davis, nominated for Best Actress in the film “Dark Victory,” is pitted against Vivien Leigh in “Gone with the Wind.” When The Los Angeles Times leaks the Oscar winners, what will the bold, defiant and disillusioned Bette Davis do next?

Tatiana R. Mann and Friends

Thursday, September 26th | 7:00pm | Tickets:  $30

New Deal Salon | 2003 S Louisiana St., Little Rock 72206

The extraordinary Tatiana Roitman Mann and Friends return to the ACANSA Festival with Friends to share an exquisite evening of music. Tatiana R. Mann and Friends promise unusual repertoire in an intimate setting. Tatiana’s virtuosity, described by the BBC as “formidable…both accurate and with rarely seen joy,” has led to invitations for performances across Europe and the U.S., including the premiere of E. McKinley’s Speak No Evil at the American Composers’ Forum and For Don by M. Babbitt in celebration of the composer’s 90th birthday at Tanglewood’s Contemporary Music Festival. Tatiana is a recipient of Tanglewood’s Peggy Rockefeller Memorial Fellowship.

Jessica B. Harris, Author & Food Historian

Thursday, September 26th | 7:00pm | Tickets:  $35

The Joint Theater and Coffeehouse | 301 Main St, North Little Rock 72114 

Jessica B. Harris is an award-winning food historian, internationally-renowned speaker, and one of the world’s leading experts on African Diaspora cooking. She’s the author of the memoir, My Soul Looks Back (Simon & Schuster, 2017), a finalist for the PEN/Open Book Award, about her days in Harlem in the 1970s with James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Nina Simone and other leading black intellectuals and artists of the time. The author of twelve critically acclaimed cookbooks documenting the foods and foodways of the African Diaspora, Harris’ book, High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America, was the International Association for Culinary Professionals 2012 prize winner for culinary history. 

Dallas String Quartet’s Where Bach Meets Bon Jovi

Friday, September 27th | 8:00pm | Tickets:  $40

Pulaski Technical College:  The Center for Humanities and Arts (CHARTS) | 3300 West Scenic Drive, North Little Rock 72118

The Dallas String Quartet (DSQ) provides a unique fusion of classical and contemporary music on both traditional and electric strings. In addition to four studio albums and international performances, DSQ has played “at home” for Presidents Obama and Bush, the College Football Playoff, NBA, and NFL organizations. DSQ has sold out concert venues like the House of Blues and symphony halls alike, and has also played alongside such musicians and groups as Josh Groban, Chicago, and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. 

Arkansas Symphony Orchestra,

JoAnn Falletta & Time for Three

Saturday, September 28th | 7:30pm | Tickets: prices vary

Robinson Center | 426 W Markham St, Little Rock  72203 

ACANSA Arts Festival of the South and Arkansas Symphony Orchestra collaborate to present American trio Time for Three, an ensemble that “defies any traditional genre classification, happily and infectiously,” under the baton of one of the most important conductors of our time: JoAnn Falletta. The program, which opens ASO’s 2019-2020 season, features Rimsky-Korsakov’s exhilarating and evocative Scheherazade, Higdon’s Concerto 4-3, and Ravel’s La Valse.


ACANSA Arts Festival of the South exists as a visual and performing arts festival dedicated to building a more dynamic and engaging community through the arts and enriching the cultural vitality of the region. By fostering creative collaborations among artists, patrons, businesses and community institutions, we facilitate the creation and presentation of more compelling art that encourages public dialogue, economic innovation, exposes people to a wider array of artistic experiences and makes our community a stronger and more vibrant place to live. 

Though ACANSA’s programming spans the entire year, the central Arkansas community and visitors celebrate ACANSA’s signature multi-week, multi-venue Arts Festival of the South in September.

ACANSA was founded by Charlotte Gadberry with the help of hundreds of dedicated volunteers throughout the central Arkansas community. The first ACANSA Festival was held in 2014. The Festival’s name, ACANSA, is borrowed from the Quapaw word for “southern place.”

Inviting Arkansas

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