Historic bathhouse becomes home of The Muses | Arts & Culture
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. -- The Hale Bathhouse, the oldest of the architectural treasures in Hot Springs National Park’s Bathhouse Row, begins a new life today as the home of The Muses Creative Artistry Project’s Three Arts Café and Bookstore. The National Park Service issued a two-year commercial use authorization to the Muses on March 1 to operate the café and bookstore in the lobby of the historic building.
The Three Arts Café, which is slated to begin operations after Easter, will occupy the area previously used as a lobby arcade. The café will offer delicious salads, sandwiches, and light gourmet appetizers, as well delectable sweets and pastries, lovingly prepared by chef/restaurant owner Diana Marez-Bratton of Café 1217 and Taco Mama. A wide variety of gourmet coffees and teas will be available, all brewed with Hot Springs’ thermal spring water. The café will offer downtown visitors and residents a unique respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
The Three Arts Bookstore will display and sell original works by local artists and craftspeople, highlighting the excellent quality available in the region. Of particular note will be the fine ceramic pieces created by Jim and Barbara Larkin and the artisans of Fox Pass Pottery. An intriguing selection of inspirational books on creativity and the arts, ranging from music and poetry to gardening and cooking, will be available. Patrons can enjoy their books on wicker furniture in a peaceful sunroom setting. Wi-Fi will also be
available for customer convenience.
The Muses plan to submit a proposal to the National Park Service to negotiate a long-tem lease for the Hale Bathhouse to restore the remainder of the building and open it to the public as a cultural arts center. To that end, they plan a capital campaign to raise the needed funds for restoration. The National Park Service has already spent in excess of $1.5 million to preserve and maintain the building, including updating the heating and air conditioning system and making it fully accessible.
The Muses concept for the building is to house two versatile performing arts spaces; studios for the study of music, art and dance; meeting spaces; an artist-in-residence apartment and a wellness room for visitors to experience the mineral baths; sound therapy massage; and creativity life coaching.
“The Muses’ goal is to become a mecca for art and healing in downtown Hot Springs through arts immersion – nourishing mind, body and spirit,” explained Toni Spears, certified Life Coach for the Muses. The Muses Creative Artistry Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving classical art and music through performance, education, wellness and music therapy. Soprano Deleen Davidson, who holds an honors degree in history, with minor studies in fine art, music and German, leads the artistry project as president and principal artist. Based on nature’s four seasons, The Muses offers a regular series of concerts, art exhibits and creativity seminars designed to enhance the cultural life of the region and to grow the arts-based economy.
The Muses’ next performance is the first of a 2011 quarterly concert series featuring seasonal celebrations of art and song. On March 13, the Muses will present “Celtic Spring” at 3 p.m. in Anthony Chapel at Garvan Woodland Gardens. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.themusesproject.org or call (501)463-4514.