FAVORITE METRO LOCALS: Catherine Walworth, Downtown
Jackye & Curtis Finch Jr. Curator of Drawings at Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts
Originally from: Burlington, Iowa | Neighborhood: Downtown
Catherine Walworth relocated to Little Rock in January 2022 to join the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts as the Jackye & Curtis Finch Jr. Curator of Drawings. She has loved making art since she was little, but knew she was destined to make art her career through museums after visiting the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. in high school. As a curator, she helps research and select works that will appear in AMFA’s galleries.
“I love my job and am inspired by history, ideas, the beauty of color, an artist’s unique gesture, and swirling all these together into a meaningful aesthetic experience,” Catherine said. “My colleagues are also incredible, and they inspire me to do my best work because I know they are.”
Formerly known as the Arkansas Arts Center, AMFA will open to the public in April 2023. The renovation reuses and adapts certain structures and spaces to preserve the legacy of the museum while adding larger studios and education spaces, a “family art adventure space” and an indoor/outdoor restaurant overlooking MacArthur Park.
With these exciting innovations, the museum is bound to become a hub of creative activity for central Arkansas. Catherine is especially looking forward to opening the museum with “Together,” a special exhibition created by all three curators.
“The different artists’ voices will converge into a visual and conceptual conversation that I can only describe as yummy, thanks also to our exhibition designer Keith Melton.”
Though work brought her to Little Rock, the city’s culture and history was also a huge selling point. Walworth’s career has taken her to Pittsburgh, Cleveland and San Antonio, but she says Little Rock stands out because of its “big, small town” vibe and how easy it is to live here. Additionally, the historic architecture—such as the Victorian homes in Quapaw Quarter and mid-century buildings downtown—pleasantly surprised her.
When she isn’t working, Catherine enjoys reading, doing yoga and going on small adventures. Often, she can be found hiking with her lab-pit mix Mable. Some of their go-to spots include River Mountain Park Trail, East Quarry Trail and Allsopp Park. She loves vintage shopping and frequents small businesses like South Main Creative and Midtown Vintage Market. As for local eats, Catherine was happy to discover the city’s numerous vegan options. She likes Camp Taco’s good food and 1970s ambiance, and the laid-back garden setting of The Root Cafe.
Catherine encourages prospective newcomers to experience as much as possible in-person where they’re considering. “Think about where you might live and the possibility of getting out of your car and moving around by foot and by bike everyday, if you can,” she said. “There are fun neighborhoods with kind people, so be chatty with strangers. And keep your eye on the citywide event calendar because there are so many quirky events—everything from the World Cheese Dip Championship to the Paranormal Expo, which is luring me with my love of Bigfoot.”
Go-to ways to stay active: “Now that I’ve done it once successfully, my goal is to bike the Arkansas River Trail a few times a year. Making it up and over the Big Dam Bridge and beginning the loop back is a ‘Wow!’”
Happy hour hot spot: “Either White Water Tavern or Stone’s Throw in MacArthur Park”
Favorite shop: “Pink Olive for their hand-poured candles; the Green Corner Store is helping my plastic-free journey; and Domestic Domestic, Electric Ghost, and Moxy Modern Mercantile, because I love stores that make me laugh.”