Bevan Keating has one goal – to foster local artists from childhood through their professional careers.
It’s a goal that Keating, director of conducting and choral studies at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, spends much of his busy life trying to accomplish.
At UA Little Rock,Keating conducts the Concert Choir, the Chamber Choir, and the Community Chorus. He is also director of music and the arts at Second Presbyterian Church in Little Rock and founding artistic director for Praeclara, a multidisciplinary performing arts company supported by Second Presbyterian. To these positions, Keating adds a new role as artistic director of Wildwood Park for the Arts. Keating previously served as artistic director of the Wildwood Academy of Music and the Arts, which he will continue to oversee. He is the park’s third artistic director since its founding in 1991. Over the past 26 years, Wildwood Park has provided a home in west Little Rock for both natural beauty and artistic expression, including 105 acres of trails and botanical gardens and a 625-seat theatre and art gallery. Keating will manage the park’s music and arts education programs, all concerts and events in the Lucy Lockett Cabe Festival Theatre, Wildwood’s Art in the Park visual arts exhibitions, and many seasonal festivals.
Through the combination of his leadership roles in the arts, Keating is enjoying helping young artists from childhood through new careers.
“This is another way to be active in the community and representing the university in a positive way,” he said. “Many of our graduates from UA Little Rock participate in productions at Wildwood Park for the Arts. It really shows young students what they can do in their future career.”
Keating keeps up with his many responsibilities thanks to an immeasurable amount of energy, help from his co-workers and friends, and a love for the arts.
“I don’t have jobs,” Keating said. “UA Little Rock is not a job; Wildwood is not a job. It’s who I am. When I get up in the morning, I want to do something that I love. So when I get up in the morning, I don’t go to work. I go do something I love.”
He is thankful to the many people who help him with his artistic projects. They include Karen Kuralt, graduate coordinator for the UA Little Rock Department of Rhetoric and Writing, who serves as communications director for Praeclara and handles social media, web design, and publicity documents for many of the choirs Keating leads.
Keating enjoys helping artists from childhood through new careers.
“It takes a community to foster and raise the arts in a city like Little Rock,” he said. “Now at Wildwood, I am working the community as a professional. I am helping young performers to gain professional experiences. It’s a great way to connect the community at all levels, and that is the exciting part to me.”