KUAF Arts Beat: 'I'm in the unique position of bulldozing myself'

Feb 20, 2019

Artist Alissa Walls with her piece "Tougher," one of the many artistic and musical acts to perform inside Lalaland
Credit Courtesy Lalaland

For nearly a decade, Lalaland has served up all-ages experimental music and art in a sleepy area of South Fayetteville. This weekend will be its "last hurrah," with 18 bands performing a two-day blowout farewell experience.

"My joke is that I'm in the unique position of bulldozing myself," admits founder Sam King, a painter and musician who works as an assistant professor of art for the University of Arkansas.

His employer is the reason the venue must close. The University of Arkansas bought Lalaland's lot to expand School of Art facilities.

The bare-bones studios that comprise Lalaland are nestled behind the cheerful Arts and Crafts bungalow facade of The Art Experience, a nonprofit dedicated to arts education and therapy, owned by Hank and JoAnn Kaminsky.

The idea of this D.I.Y. all-ages venue began when King, who rented one of the studios, collaborated with Stephanie Pierce, another tennant. They shared the common goal for creating a safe space for all-ages shows and no-frills gallery exhibitions. 

Fayetteville band Pagiins performing inside Lalaland
Credit Courtesy Lalaland

In its nearly decade run, a number of dedicated artists and musicians made the venue possible. Mikayla Hoffman began curating art shows before expanding her role into music. She's proud of the distinct role Lalaland played within the Northwest Arkansas arts community. 

"I'm very sad to lose this place," she says. "I actually had my friend tattoo the facade on my back."

Listen to the entire KUAF Arts Beat in the on-demand streaming link above. Keep up with your arts community by tuning in at 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Connect with that community by sharing this story online with #artsbeatkuaf.