Residents of Pine Bluff and the surrounding area don’t have to look far for ways to become engaged, educated and entertained.
Music, shopping, art exhibits and even dog shows are among the activities Jefferson County residents can enjoy on a regular basis.
Events take place throughout the year at the 90,000-square-foot Pine Bluff Convention Center, which is home to a 8,500-seat arena.
“We have hosted everything from the Southeast Arkansas Kennel Club dog show to college and high school basketball tournaments,” says Greg Gustek, director of the Pine Bluff Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The facility is also home to the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame and the Pine Bluff Symphony Orchestra, which plays three scheduled concerts each year in the center’s auditorium.
Another popular stop drawing visitors is the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas, a 22,000-square-foot center that features three art galleries with rotating collections and exhibits, a performing arts theater, classes, camps and hands-on science exhibits for kids, and special events like wine tastings and movie viewings.
Shoppers can find plenty to buy at the Pine Bluff’s regional mall, The Pines, which is anchored by three major department stores and includes a variety of retailers as well as a movie theater.
In downtown Pine Bluff, the Community Theatre – the oldest one-screen theater still operating in the state – hosts live theatrical performances, and the historic 1,500-seat Saenger Theatre is set to be restored to its former glory. Local nonprofit Old Town Theatre Centre Inc. is working to preserve and restore the Saenger so it can eventually host ballets, concerts, operas and more live events.
“Pine Bluff has a treasure,” says Kathleen Majewska, who along with her husband, Jack Stradley, is working with the restoration effort. “There is not any other theater in Arkansas that’s like it.”
Another downtown treasure: Pine Bluff’s 13 murals, which invite visitors to revisit the rich history of the area that spans more than 200 years.