Faulkner Center Namesakes Selected as 2019 Governor’s Arts Award Recipients

by | Jan 9, 2019 | Community Outreach, Features, Gifts

The Arkansas Arts Council has announced the recipients of its 2019 Governor’s Arts Awards, which include the namesakes of University of Arkansas’ Jim & Joyce Faulkner Performing Arts Center, housed in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.

Since 1991, the annual awards program has recognized individuals and corporations for their outstanding contributions to the arts in Arkansas. Recipients are nominated by the public, then selected by an independent panel of arts professionals from across the state. 

Each of the 2019 recipients will receive an original work of art created by an Arkansas artist, and be honored at a ceremony this spring.

James H. Faulkner and Joyce Faulkner of Little Rock won in the category of Patron Award, which is for individuals or families who have made significant philanthropic contributions to the development of the arts.

The Faulkners are longtime supporters of the University of Arkansas. Their gift of $6 million helped to create the campus’s Jim & Joyce Faulkner Performing Arts Center, which was built by converting the university’s Old Field House building into a state-of-the-art performance venue with over 500 seats. During the 2017-2018 academic year, more than 13,000 visitors attended performances and events at the facility.

“The Faulkners have been incredible supporters of both the university and of course their namesake center, and we could not be more thankful for their vision and generosity,” said Nicole Cotton-Leachman, managing director of the Jim & Joyce Faulkner Performing Arts Center.

“Thanks to the Faulkners, we are able to provide an educational, community-centered approach to the performing arts,” Cotton-Leachman said. “We also provide a professional environment for U of A students to receive hands-on experience in administration, production and marketing in the performing arts field. It is the Faulkner Center’s mission to contribute to education and excellence in the community, helping to build a new generation of artists and patrons.”

Jim Faulkner, who is director of First Security Bankshares and First Security Bank of Mountain Home, began his career in the entertainment industry. In 1985, he founded Falcon Publications, a company that produced Take One, which was a video entertainment magazine.

The publication was the first of its type in the nation with a circulation that reached up to 1.5 million subscribers per month. He started several other companies, including Falcon Productions, which was the state’s first video production company, and Jimco Inc., which was a firm that created and sold bank premiums nationwide. 

The Faulkner Center is the couple’s legacy project that showcased their appreciation of the university and local arts, but the Faulkners also have served on other arts-related boards, including The Arkansas Rep Theater and The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, and they are sponsors of the Little Rock Winds, which is a group dedicated to woodwind instrumental music.

The group of 2019 Governor’s Arts Awards recipients also includes:

  • Arts Community Development Award, Steve Clark of Fort Smith
  • Arts in Education Award, The Center for Children and Youth of Fayetteville
  • Corporate Sponsorship of the Arts Award, Murphy USA of El Dorado
  • Folklife Award, Oxford American of Little Rock
  • Individual Artist Award, Marjorie Williams-Smith of Little Rock
  • Judges Recognition Award, Anthony Tidwell of Hot Springs
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Billie Jo Starr of Fayetteville

About the Arkansas Arts Council: 
The Arkansas Arts Council advances the arts in Arkansas by providing services and supporting arts endeavors that encourage and assist literary, performing and visual artists in achieving standards of professional excellence. In addition, the Arkansas Arts Council provides technical and financial assistance to Arkansas arts organizations and other providers of cultural and educational programs. The Arkansas Arts Council is division of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. Other agencies are the Arkansas Historic Preservation ProgramArkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Arkansas State ArchivesDelta Cultural Center in Helena, Historic Arkansas MuseumMosaic Templars Cultural Center and the Old State House Museum. Funding for the Arkansas Arts Council and its programs is provided by the State of Arkansas and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

About the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences: The J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences is the largest and most academically diverse unit on campus with three schools, 16 departments and 43 academic programs and research centers. The college provides the core curriculum for all University of Arkansas students and is named for J. William Fulbright, former university president and longtime U.S. senator.


Andra Parrish Liwag

Director of Communications, J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences 

479-575-4393 // liwag@uark.edu