The grand opening of the Murphy Arts District ushers in a new era in El Dorado.
After much anticipation, the long-awaited Murphy Arts District, or MAD, is making its debut September 27 through October 1. The brainchild of city leaders and the Murphy family - founders of Murphy Oil Corp. and Murphy USA - the district was conceived as a way to reinvent the city and its economy, building upon its rich artistic traditions. To celebrate the opening, MAD welcomes a star-studded lineup of performers, inlcuding Brad Paisley, Train, X-Ambassadors, Smokey Robinson, ZZ Top, and more.
The first phase of the $100 million redevelopment project encompasses the 1928 Griffin Auto Building, which features a farm-to-table restaurant, cabaret lounge, and 2,000-seat music hall. It overlooks a new 8,000-capacity amphitheater, a two-acre children's destination playscape and splah pad, and an open-air farmer's market. All of this is nestled within El Dorado's charming and bustling downtown, which has flourished thanks to devoted revitalization efforts, and now includes 65 specialty shops, eateries, inns, and the state's oldest continuously operating pool hall.
MAD's founders envisioned it as a true destination for arts, culture, music and food lovers from across the region and the country. To bring this to fruition, they've enlisted a deep roster of talented entertainment execcutives, including Chief Executive Officer Terry Stewart, the former CEO and president of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and former president and General Manager Dan Smith, former general manager of House of Blues and former vice president of food and beverage for the Cleveland Indians; and Chief Marketing Officer Bob Tarren, former head of marketing at The Frick Pittsburgh and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
To mark the dirstrict's opening weekend, events begin on Wednesday, September 27 with Lyle Lovett, Rober Earl Keen, and John Hiatt in the Griffin Restaurant. Celebrate the 30th anniversary of Main Street El Dorado's MusicFest with Natasha Bedingfielf and Train in the Griffin Music Hall on Thursday, and Robert Randolph and the Family Band, XAmbassadors, and ZZTop in the Murphy Amphitheater, and Ludacris in the Griffin Music Hall on Friday. on Saturday, Ashley Mc -Bride, Chase Bryant, Hunter Hayes, and Brad aPaisley appear in the Amphitheater, followed by Migos in the Griffin Music Hall. Sunday's grand finale features the legendary Smokey Robinson with the South Arkansasa Symphony Orchestra ina a free performance in the Amphitheater.