More than a decade ago, John Villani, author of The 100 Best Small Art Towns in America, named Hot Springs one of the best small art towns in America. Hot Springs has maintained its prestigious ranking in Mr. Villani’s guidebook and now ranks in the top ten. In a recent article by USA Today, Villani stated, “This town inside a national park has a strong ethic of historic preservation, which can be seen in Victorian architecture. Artists, gallery owners and my entrepreneurs moved to Hot Springs to follow their dreams.” Villani specifically noted that the Hot Springs Music Festival is a “classic-music wonder.”
Hot Springs celebrates the arts in several venues, from contemporary visual arts to the musical arts to film documentaries. More than two dozen art galleries line the streets of downtown Hot Springs. The Gallery Walk held the first Friday evening of every month, is the best way to sample and savory Hot Springs’ visual arts culture while visiting with the local artists in their galleries and studios.
Several music festivals and cultural events also play a role in Hot Springs’ top art town designation. The Hot Springs Music Festival welcomes more than 250 international musicians for two weeks in June. This event pairs world-class mentor musicians from major orchestras, chamber ensembles and conservatory facilities with talented pre-professional apprentices. Twenty some concerts are performed and 250 rehearsals are held, all open to the public. The Hot Springs Jazz festival is the premier sponsored event of the Hot Springs Jazz Society. The three-day jazz event held the second weekend in September, welcomes local and nationally recognized jazz performers.
The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival celebrates the arts on the big screen. The 10-day event held in October welcomes thousands of visitors as well as filmmakers and celebrities. The Malco Theatre is the location where approximately 90 films are showcased during the festival.
1890 Williams House Inn is an architectural beauty of the Victorian era and is located just five blocks from historic downtown Hot Springs. When vacationing in Hot Springs to enjoy the arts activities and festivities, the Inn is the perfect lodging experience.