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The art scene in Arkansas is thriving and many nonprofit arts and culture organizations across the state are planning spectacular shows this holiday season. Audiences will be delighted to find a mix of ticketed and free events and this year many of the activities are available both in-person and virtually. Here are eight Christmas events in Arkansas that are sure to make your bucket list!
Pulaski Technical College in North Little Rock will have the Merry Christmas Charlie Brown Exhibit on display in the Center for Humanities and Arts (CHARTS) Windgate Gallery through Dec. 22. Peanuts comic strips and seasonal novelties will be on display and there is even a Santa letter writing station and a photo opportunity for the kids.
Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown! is organized and toured by the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, Santa Rosa, California. Admission is free and gallery hours are Monday – Thursday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., with select Saturdays open for exhibit. For more information please call 501-812-2831. For a link to the virtual tour click here.
The Merry Christmas Charlie Brown exhibit is on display at UA Pulaski Tech CHARTS.
Ballet Arkansas will bring holiday cheer to audiences at the Robinson Center in downtown Little Rock this season with their performance of The Nutcracker Spectacular, the largest and longest-running holiday production in Arkansas. As an added bonus, performances of The Nutcracker include accompaniment from the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Performances are scheduled for Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 11 at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m., and Dec. 12 at 2 p.m.
New this year, Ballet Arkansas will also present a special world-premiere production of The Nutty Nutcracker. Filled with humor for the whole family this performance presents Clara’s adventure to the Land of the Sweets like you’ve never seen it before! The Nutty Nutcracker shows are scheduled for Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 12 at 6 p.m. Get tickets.
The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra welcomes American Idol star Kris Allen home for a program of holiday favorites, Christmas carols, winter-themed orchestra features and original song selections.
The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra performs more than 60 concerts per season and has a busy schedule of statewide touring and educational performances Through ASO education programs over 40,000 children each year experience the magic of music.
Kris Allen Holiday Spectacular show will take place in downtown Little Rock at Robinson Center on Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 18 at 7:30 p.m., and Dec. 19 at 3 p.m. Get Tickets
The Little Rock Zoo GloWILD! lantern festival is the first of its kind for central Arkansas and a spectacle you will not want to miss. The exhibit features larger-than-life creatures constructed of handcrafted silk-covered lanterns and glowing with over fifty- thousand LED lights.
The displays are placed along the 1.4-mile path through the zoo and feature marine life, naturescapes, and exotic animals from all over the world. You can also expect to find interactive photo opportunity displays along the way.
The show is open on select nights through Jan. 15, 2022, and includes access to the world market, s’mores station, and hot drinks. Adult beverages are available for purchase. The Zoo gift shop, cafe, and carousel will all remain open during GloWILD nights and parking is free during the event.
The event is made possible by the Arkansas Zoological Foundation and sponsored by Keep Arkansas Beautiful and is done in partnership with Tianyu Arts & Culture, Inc. Tickets for this event can be purchased online in advance or at the gate.
The TheatreSquared website describes it as “Brimming with stage magic and holiday cheer.” Adding, “[the show] sets the stage in the new Northwest Arkansas tradition” while still telling the traditional tale we all know and love of three spirits who come to visit Ebenezer Scrooge and take him on a journey through past, present and future.
This show is appropriate for all ages. Get Tickets for the in-person event or streaming.
The Symphony of Northwest Arkansas will present two holiday-themed shows this season at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas. A Very SoNA Christmas is a mix of holiday favorites featuring the orchestra and The SoNA Singers and is scheduled for two performances on Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The following day the orchestra will present The Snowman: A Family Concert at 2 p.m., also at the Walton Arts Center. This performance includes holiday music for the whole family as well as a screening of The Snowman with a live orchestral soundtrack.
Tickets to both events are available to purchase online.
MAD on Ice returned to the Murphy Arts District in El Dorado for a third year and will run through Jan. 2, 2022. Visitors can skate on real ice atop the outdoor amphitheater stage. MAD on Ice is presented by Murphy USA with additional funding from the El Dorado A&P Commission.
Hours vary throughout the season and the space is also available to rent for private parties so be sure to check the schedule before you go. Skates are available to rent at the venue but it should be noted that the smallest size available is a children’s size 8 so if your kid wears a smaller size you’ll have to bring your own skates or plan for them to enjoy the MAD Playscape instead. There are also skate assist props available to rent for the kids and helmets are available for free on a first-come, first-served basis. The family can spend the whole day at the Murphy Arts District and make plans to eat at MuleKick@MAD while you’re there.
A skating waiver form must be filled out for each person skating or watching from the stage. You can save time by filling it out in advance online.
The South Arkansas Symphony will present A Family Christmas featuring violinist Doug Cameron at the El Dorado Municipal Auditorium Friday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m.
The South Arkansas Symphony is a 70-member professional orchestra. The performance will feature a variety of Christmas favorites performed by the symphony and featuring Mr. Cameron.
Tickets must be purchased by calling the box office at (870) 310-2244
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