The Friends of Dreamland Ballroom (FOD), a group that focuses on sharing the musical, cultural and architectural history of the Taborian Hall on W. Ninth St, has hired a new Executive Director, Amber Jones.
Ms. Jones is an Arkansas native with several years of experience in nonprofit administration, historic preservation and music education. Ms. Jones holds a B.A. degree in Education with an emphasis in Music from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville. Ms. Jones most recently assisted with operations and management of the Little Rock Visitors Center at Historic Curran Hall.
“Amber brings the ideal combination of nonprofit experience, education and preservation background that our organization needs to move forward,” says board chairman, Robyn Madden.
Ms. Jones aims to implement programming that capitalizes on the significant musical and cultural history that the Dreamland Ballroom embodies. FOD Programming will include a jazz music series, music education for K-12, historical and cultural lectures, and implementation of The Taborian Hall Museum.
“The Friends objective is to engage the community in the rich history that exists within the Dreamland Ballroom and Taborian Hall. By reusing the historic resource in much the same way it was used nearly a century ago, as a community event and social center, we are able to share the cultural and aesthetic value of the space and implement a new phase in its history. I am excited to help the Friends of Dreamland share this important Little Rock treasure,” says Ms. Jones.
More about the FOD: The Friends of Dreamland Ballroom focuses on supporting and sharing the musical, cultural and architectural resources of the Dreamland Ballroom, located on the top floor of the Taborian Hall, headquarters of Arkansas Flag and Banner. Taborian Hall is the last historic building on West Ninth Street. It remains as a testimony to the street’s former vibrancy and glory days as Little Rock’s “Little Harlem.” The building was constructed in 1918 by Black fraternal organization, The Knights and Daughters of Tabor, in what was, at that time, a thriving Black business district, made so by segregation. The structure was also the home of Gem Pharmacy, doctors’ offices, a USO club, Doc’s Pool Hall, and many other businesses and social organizations. The popular dance hall on the third floor was the venue for big bands, jazz, and blues, and the scene for dances, socials, and basketball games. Many of the era’s leading Black musical artists performed in the building including Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Count Basie, and Ella Fitzgerald, Arkansans Louis Jordan and Al Hibbler, and comedians Redd Foxx and Sammie Davis.
The FOD are currently engaged in a donor drive, program development and community outreach.