Arts & Culture

Physical Setting

Along with possessing the beauty and charm that one expects of a college and county seat town, Fayetteville has long displayed a physical setting that attracted a diverse bounty of pioneers, teachers, people of wide experiences and diverse interests, tourists, and industries. A collection of people created a unique culture in the Ozark Mountains. Fayetteville has a topography of high plateaus, mountains and valleys. Early in the twentieth century, Fayetteville was surrounded with orchards, and boys and girls camps resided on the outskirts of the city, and there were many favored summer resorts within a few miles.

Cultural Features and Events

While the town was still in its infancy, men and women sought to supplant cultural elements that were familiar to their lifestyles back east. As part of this effort, dozens of lodges and social bands were founded. The first was the Masonic Lodge (named Washington Lodge) in 1835, and it was soon followed by several others, including The Knights of Pythias, Knight Templar, Woodmen of the World, Modern Woodmen of America, The Ozark Club, and The Daughters of the American Revolution. The Fayetteville Country Club was organized in 1923, and by 1926, it boasted an 18 hole golf course that was "the sportiest in the state".

Although the nature of transportation prevented visiting troops and entertainers from gaining access to Fayetteville before the Civil War, early settlers assembled amateur events to entertain and amuse in lodge halls, school rooms, and even in the courthouse. In 1879, the Van Winkle Hotel was erected and the third story was fitted for an Opera House. Other opera houses soon followed and notable actors and their entourages ventured to Fayetteville to entertain. By 1907, Moving Pictures came to Fayetteville, with small theaters located around the city.

Fayetteville has had a public access television channel for over thirty years, the City of Fayetteville provides the free opportunity for residents to produce programming that is cablecast in Fayetteville. For 3 decades, Fayetteville residents have told their stories and shared their talents on Public Access Television. We are the home, stopping place, and stomping ground of many well-known bands. Fayetteville is known for its passion for the arts, creativity, respect for the environment, business strengths, innovation, support for the University of Arkansas and the Arkansas Razorbacks, and our extensive trail system. The Fayetteville Public Library, which was ranked the top public library in the nation in 2005, provides constant intellectual stimulation and hundreds of free programs each year. Fayetteville is becoming increasingly known for its craft breweries. Fayetteville has 3 lakes and miles of trails running throughout the city. As the University of Arkansas system flagship university town, intellectual curiosity is high and the academic presence shapes our culture. The Walton Arts Center brings great performing artists and entertainers from around the world to Northwest Arkansas, connecting and engaging people through inspiring arts experiences.

There are marathons and races to benefit local charities, the Civil War re-enactment of the Battle of Fayetteville, Springfest, the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, arts festivals such as Arts in the Park, the monthly First Thursday Arts Walk on the Downtown Square, concerts in the parks, and the Annual Washington County Historical Society Ice Cream Social. The nationally known Bikes, Blues and BBQ rally has all the excitement that comes with one of the nation's biggest motorcycle rallies. Other Fall Winter events in town include the Thanksgiving Light the Night Parade, and the Lights of the Ozarks on the Downtown Square and Ozark Holiday Walk down Block Avenue and Dickson Street in the winter. Throughout Fayetteville's history, there have always been opportunities for cultural experiences and enjoyment.

Community Spirit

We are home to approximately 74,000 residents, and we provide a feeling of home away from home for thousands of visitors each month. We offer a diverse culture and rich history, concerts, plays, a variety of shops, outdoor fun and nature explorations, Southeastern Conference sporting events, the University of Arkansas campus, and 35 public parks. Fayetteville has friendly communities, acclaimed businesses, and top educational resources. We're environmentally conscious, economically sound, surrounded by the most beautiful nature in the nation, have one of the nation's top academic centers, are overflowing with exciting family activities; and we have resources of a large city, but with the unique quality of life and heritage of a small community in the Ozarks mountains.