For more than 65 years, Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C. has been committed to service, a dedicated culture instilled by one of the law firm’s original partners and founders, Maurice Mitchell.
Maurice was actively involved in the arts community. He was a founding member of the Arkansas Arts Center Foundation (AACF) Board of Directors and served on the Arkansas Repertory Theatre Board of Directors. He was awarded the Edwin Hanlon Memorial Award for Outstanding Individual Contributions to the Arts from the Arts and Humanities Association and the Arkansas Arts Center’s Winthrop Rockefeller Memorial Award.
Mitchell Williams Attorney Chris Barrier was also committed to service in the arts. Chris served on the Arkansas Arts Center Board of Trustees, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Foundation Board of Directors.
In 1967, Maurice and Chris discussed how the firm could support the arts community in a unique way that would bring attention to the arts, support individual artists and promote local arts organizations. The idea was formed to build a corporate art collection. Because of his love, passion for and knowledge of art, Chris became the firm’s Art Partner, sometimes referred to as the Art Curator, and was responsible for selecting and purchasing art for the collection. He began with the concerted effort to build a collection of works by Arkansas artists.
The Mitchell Williams Corporate Art Collection features 92 works of contemporary art including drawings, paintings, etchings, lithographs and prints. The collection focus is primarily works on paper by Arkansas artists. Works were purchased at non-profit fundraising events such as the Arkansas Arts Center’s Tabriz, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s Artworks and Saints & Sinners, and other charitable art auction events. Chris would purchase work from artists living and working in the state. This collection strategy helped build the collection with sophisticated, contemporary works of art by Arkansas artists while supporting local non-profit organizations.