The mission of Brandon House Cultural & Performing Arts Center, referred to as Brandon House, is transforming lives through creative and performing arts!
Affirming its core belief in urban renewal as it relates to promoting job creation, urban renewal, economic development, and creative economy, Brandon House uses the power of the arts to embrace creative talents of local, regional and global artists and performers. Brandon House provides a gathering place where cultural activities illuminate, educate and entertain through affordable cultural opportunities that can enrich the quality of life of diverse audiences in a venue located outside of downtown Little Rock.
Brandon House is unique in that it uses the arts to engage high-risk youth in untraditional ways to address their career development, as well as their personal, academic, and social issues and to prevent them from engaging in negative behaviors that lead to juvenile delinquency. Additionally, Brandon House uses creative and performing arts as a way to generate increased economic activity and social viability; and as a way to engage and expose community residents to digital, visual, literary, performing and creative arts.
Brandon House is a nonprofit tax-exempt organization that was co-founded in 2010 by members of the Bax family: Paul and Pam – husband and wife; daughter – Patrice; and son – Dion Bax, with the organization receiving its tax-exempt status in March 2014. Brandon House’s programs and services are designed to expose high-risk youth to creative arts, enhance youth development, promote the development of artistic skills and talents of youth, and to transform their artistic skills into a creative economy. As a creative arts organization, our goals are to promote a variety of performing and creative arts activities that are accessible to diverse audiences through music, drama, plays, open mics, poetry slams, dance, comedy, arts education and commissioned art work.
During its formative years in 2010-2012, Brandon House engaged in several community needs assessments to assess the need for creative arts programming to high risk youth. A year-long project by the co-founders and members of the Brandon House Development Team resulted in a document and video called Shaping the Vision which were presented to potential investors, community based organizations, faith-based entities, school districts, and other constituents. The Shaping the Vision document served as Brandon House’s business planning efforts and the vision for the organization for years to come.
During the spring of 2013, Brandon House met with various youth organizations and faith-based groups to introduce these organizations to Brandon House and to develop collaborative partnerships. By the fall 2014, Brandon House had solicited interests in incorporating its arts-based programming into afterschool programs at two organizations. Since its inception, Brandon House’s philosophy has been that all school-age students should be exposed early in life to arts integration so that they can connect academic learning to their own experiences and perceptions as a basis for developing skills for life.
In 2016, Brandon House offered DreamStarters as a pilot afterschool contract-based prevention program at a local charter school. This program served middle school students and activities exposed these students to the arts by incorporating arts-infused experiential learning experiences to increase improvement in writing, reading comprehension, verbal expression, science and math and to deter them from engaging in negative behaviors that lead to delinquency. Students were engaged in hands-on arts integration that incorporated activities and projects that fostered awareness of skills for life through STEAM activities, music production projects, anti-bully stage plays, and literary arts competitions. Brandon House utilized upper class students from Philander Smith College who were trained as positive peer mentors. The college students from Philander Smith were assigned to the DreamStarters students by their fields of study and their own career interests. The Philander Smith students were then matched to the middle school student by grade level. The mentors had the responsibility to engage the students in prevention activities that promoted their self-esteem, increased their academic performance, and exposed them to the arts by serving as peer role models and facilitating positive youth activities.
In January 2017, Brandon House began a fruitful partnership with Better Community Development, Inc., (BCD) a local community-based organization that is dedicated to improving the lives of the residents in the Midtown community of Little Rock Arkansas. Through its partnership with BCD, Brandon House moved into a renovated facility at 3802 West 12th Street in the Midtown area of Little Rock where youth afterschool and summer programs are held and administrative offices are located.
Today, Brandon House offers both school-based and center-based out-of-school prevention and intervention programs. Brandon House has grown both in enrollment, sponsorships and funding through the city of Little Rock Department of Community Programs, Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Community Foundation, Dollar General, private support through the Hussman Family Foundation and individual donors. Through our various partnerships with community-based organizations, faith-based groups, and schools, Brandon House works with high-risk elementary, middle and high school students in proving positive youth prevention programming that offers opportunities for these youth to gain new skills, establish positive peer relationships, and take learning risks in untraditional ways. Brandon House offers creative arts activities that engage youth in innovative cultural arts programming and provide them with various competencies to improve their writing, reading comprehension, verbal expressions, science and math skills; as well as become economically self-sufficient, and productive members of their community and the society at-large.