FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — People gathered in Fort Smith on May 10 to celebrate the Community School of Art’s new Center for the Creative Arts.

The new center will focus on music, theater, dance, visual art, film, and culinary arts.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and First Lady Susan Hutchinson were in attendance. Hutchinson says the new center is a way to give students more of what they want.

“Whenever you look at the Community School of the Arts, that really supplemented and enhanced the arts education for so many different schools in the River Valley. This is really a step forward in arts education,” Hutchinson said.

“Governor’s school started back in the ’80s and they did this very thing,” said Dr. Rosilee Russell, founder and executive director of Community School of the Arts. “Now they come under other titles, and so, we named our facility the Center for Creative Arts. But, it’s patterned after that model where students are bussed to us and it’s the first in the state.”

39 area districts will use the center including some in Oklahoma. Construction should be done sometime in 2023.