What's New

What's New

Meet Council Member Catherine Bays

Arkansas Arts Council - Thursday, December 12, 2019


Catherine BaysCatherine Bays, of Little Rock, is the chief development officer of the Museum of Discovery. Previously, she held development positions for Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Arkansas Repertory Theatre and Arkansas Children's Foundation. Bays has a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from the University of Arkansas. She is an experienced and versatile nonprofit management executive who is passionate about the arts and about integrating the arts into education. She is former board member of Ballet Arkansas and Arkansas Festival Ballet and was a professional ballet dancer, teacher and arts administrator. On the Advisory Council, Bays represents District 6, which covers Central Arkansas from Saline to Monroe counties and Faulkner County.

Q. How would you describe yourself?

A. I would describe myself as someone who truly believes in and is passionate about art and art education. I believe early and frequent exposure to art cultivates a lifelong interest and increases education outcomes. I have been fortunate to be supported by family, friends and fellow artists during my personal art pursuit.

Q. What is your connection with the arts in Arkansas?

A. I am an arts supporter, a former art educator and a former, professional ballet dancer. I support the arts by attending art events, by going to galleries or museums and by individually supporting artists through acquisitions of artworks.

Q. Why is it important to be on the Advisory Council of the Arkansas Arts Council?

A. I appreciate the opportunity to serve on the Advisory Council because it is important to advocate for positive growth and the allocation of resources toward Arkansas artists and arts education. I am proud to be part of a council that so strongly advocates for the arts. In the past fiscal year, for example, the Arkansas Arts Council awarded more than $1.2 million in grants to support the arts, artists and arts organizations in Arkansas.

Q. When were you appointed or how long have you been on the advisory board?

A. I was initially appointed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson in 2015.

Q. What would you like to see the advisory board or the Arts Council accomplish this year?

A. I hope to see continued funding for Arkansas artists and arts programming. I want to see more professional development opportunities for artists, including educational workshops and conferences.

Q. What do you wish people knew about Arkansas’s arts communities, the Arts Council or the advisory board?

A. I hope all Arkansas artists know there are opportunities for support through the Arkansas Arts Council. This support includes professional development workshops, grants, fellowships, awards and networking opportunities. Also, I want residents to know the arts community in Arkansas has a varied, unique history with many hidden gems throughout our state. Further, I hope everyone realizes the great importance of having art education available for all children, beginning at the earliest age possible. In fact, plenty of scientific research shows access to and participation in the arts increase children’s academic success and their emotional and mental wellbeing.