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The 14th Annual Arkansas Shorts: A Night of Short Film

Low Key Arts presents the 14th annual Arkansas Shorts: A Night of Short Film festival, taking place on Saturday, January 2, 2021. For the first time in the history of the festival, it will be an outdoor drive-in event, presented in partnership with Hot Springs Mall, Visit Hot Springs, KUHS 102.5 FM, and the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival

Festival Director Jen Gerber brings her vision for a provocative, moving experience to this year’s Arkansas Shorts. Drawing from a multicultural cross-section of submissions, the program this year represents the diverse population of our state and the peculiar political landscape of our nation, while not losing sight of the fun and creativity that have always been characteristic of this night of short film. Chris Wilks, a veteran of the festival and International Shorts Programmer, has overseen selections from a vast and encouraging number of Arkansas filmmakers, as well as hand-picking additional selections from among the best international shorts of the past year. 

“As one might imagine, Arkansas Shorts will look a bit different this year, but after the overwhelmingly positive experience from the HSDFF drive-ins, we are confident that this event will be safe, fun and our strongest lineup to date”, says Festival Director, Jen Gerber. 

The biggest change organizers are making to the format is the elimination of the three separate screening blocks for International, North American and Arkansas short films. Instead, the program will be a highly curated mix from all 3 sections, with a special showcase granted to the filmmakers who participated in the virtual edition of the Inception to Projection Filmmaking Program. “While 2020 has forced nearly every organization to pivot away from their traditional plans, this year Low Key Arts found tremendous success with Inception to Projection as we made the programs virtual, enabling us to reach students all across Arkansas. We are overwhelmingly proud of the strong filmmaking community in Arkansas that has weathered quite a  storm this year and we can’t wait to celebrate all these accomplishments in January,” says Gerber.  “Uptown Hot Springs is proud to be a supporter of Arkansas Shorts,” says Scott Green, manager of the Hot Springs Mall. Scott has been a huge champion of these pop-up drive events by supplying a safe venue for this community to gather to see these films on a big screen and we are grateful for all the support we continue to receive from the community.

Covid restrictions presented difficulties in producing Arkansas Shorts in its traditional venue, the Malco Theatre, in 2021. We would like to take this opportunity to extend our gratitude to Maxwell Blade for allowing us into his Theatre of Magic in years past, and for his gracious and very generous support of Low Key Arts.

The 14th annual Arkansas Shorts: A Night of Short Film festival drive-in will take place at 4501 Central Avenue in Hot Springs, in the parking lot facing the former Sears location on Saturday, January 2, 2021. Gates will open at 5:00 pm and the shorts will begin at 6:00. Total running time is 2 hours. Cost per vehicle is $20. Tickets available at the gate or in advance HERE from

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Low Key Labs

Low Key Arts Announces a New Slate of Digital Arts Creativity Workshops for Summer 2020

Thanks to the success of their recent #GivingTuesdayNow Fundraiser (the fourth highest grossing Givesource fundraiser in the entire state of Arkansas!), Low Key Arts is pleased to announce brand new workshops for music, film, screenwriting, photography and graphic design for Summer 2020.

“The coronavirus lockdown has awakened a desire in people for creative outlets”, says Sonny Kay, Executive Director of Low Key Arts. “We felt like this was a great chance to offer a way for people to make their own content, rather than simply sitting home, watching or listening to things made by others. I can’t think of a better time to encourage people to be adventurous in their self-exploration.”

All the workshops are led by working artists who have found critical success in their given areas of expertise. Starting the first week of June, Low Key Arts will be offering masterclasses in the following areas: Filmmaking, Screenwriting, one-on-one Guitar, Bass and Keyboard lessons, Photography, and Graphic Design. For the safety of the community, all classes will be taught virtually but will still offer the same impactful education, training and professional mentorship.

Building on its ten year history, Inception to Projection is Hot Springs only filmmaking workshop. This one-of-a-kind program has afforded a growing number of Arkansas filmmakers their first step to pursuing a career in television and film production with many alumni having gone on to attend both undergraduate and graduate film schools and find employment in the industry. Taught by filmmaker Jen Gerber, Inception to Projection is expanding this summer to include three sessions: the Introductory Inception to Projection Filmmaking Class, Advanced Directing, and a 12-week Feature Screenwriting workshop. The Introductory level course is for new filmmakers, while the Advanced Directing class is geared towards participants who have previously completed a session of Inception to Projection. The short films produced during Inception to Projection are screened each January at the Arkansas Shorts film festival and are the heart of the screening. “Inception to Projection is so special because it fosters a community of like-minded creators who have stories to tell but just need an outlet to get them made. This program provides the tools, training and resources for these filmmakers to fulfill their vision and share their films with a captive audience at Arkansas Shorts,” says Inception to Projection program director, Jen Gerber. “I’m so thrilled to offer our first feature length screenwriting class this year! There is so much talent in this state and it’s my hope that these programs will help elevate the unique stories of this community,” says Gerber.

Low Key Labs is an ongoing community-focused music and arts workshop series. Working musicians, artists and professional makers are recruited to mentor students of all ages and skill levels in both one-on-one and group study classes, teaching the fundamentals of various creative disciplines using fun, low-pressure methods tailored to each individual participant. Low Key Labs is designed to give newcomers the tools to become proficient, while more advanced students are provided with challenging exercises to expand their skill set. Returning instructors Harry Glaeser and Bobby Missile (Low Key Arts Artistic Director and a member of Ghost Bones, banzai florist, and Mind Rider) resume their roles leading one-on-one instruction – now retooled for social distancing via Zoom – on Guitar, Bass, and Keyboards for students of all ages and skill levels in 4-week sessions. As Glaeser, frontman of renowned Little Rock indie groups, Couch Jackets and banzai florist, points out, “There’s no better time than now to improve at something as fun and pragmatic as your musical talents. I love helping people realize their potential.

Low Key Labs expands this year to include a new 3-week survey in Digital Photography taught by Hot Springs’ very own Aaron Brewer. Brewer is a native of Arkansas, and a Hot Springs resident for three years. Self-taught, he has photographed the people, places, and events around Hot Springs since his first visit in 2008, is the official photographer of National Park College, and has owned his photography studio, Aaron Brewer Photo, since 2016. Low Key Arts is honored to include him among the Labs staff.

The final new class offered this summer is Digital Graphic Design, taught by Low Key Arts Executive Director, Sonny Kay. As a freelance graphic designer for over a decade before moving to Hot Springs, Kay has a long resume of clients and nearly three decades of experience in the music industry. “Since I moved here, people have been encouraging me to share my knowledge and experience. Teaching is something I’d intended to do for a long time and now I have the opportunity. I really hope I can help people feel empowered to use certain software and perhaps lift the curtain a little bit on the “magic” of things such as Photoshop. Tapping into people’s creativity is very rewarding.”

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Inception + YouTube = 😍

Stay-at-home blues got you climbing the walls? Tired of TV? Have we got the antidote! Inception to Projection now has a YouTube channel!!! HERE

Nearly a decade’s worth of Inception to Projection films – all in one place. SO much incredible work has come out of this program – see for yourself!

We’ve pulled as many films from the vaults as we could find (nearly 60!) but realize there’s a few missing. If you or someone you know has an Inception to Projection film that hasn’t been uploaded yet, please get in touch. We would like the channel to be as complete as possible. It’s an archive we can all be proud of!

And, as we’re gearing up for another great session this summer, there’s never been a better time to support Inception to Projection and the many incredible opportunities it provides young people in Hot Springs. Donate today!

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VOV 2020

VOV 2020 Opening Reception – Sonic Youth Rockumentary Double Feature

Low Key Arts and Superior Bathhouse Brewery welcome an international lineup of musicians to the 16th annual Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival taking place at Low Key Arts, 118 Arbor Street in Hot Springs. In addition to a stellar lineup of fresh talent (140+ musicians) from across North America and beyond, the festival this year features some exciting events outside of the shows at Low Key Arts, including workshops and film screenings. Fans of iconic punk rock and musical gadgetry, in particular, are in for some treats!

Partnering with the Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute, on Wednesday, March 19, Low Key Arts will present the VOV 2020 opening reception – featuring an incredible musical film double-feature, both of which are Arkansas premieres! Desolation Center (featuring live performances by Sonic Youth, Minutemen, Redd Kross, and featuring Perry Farrell from Jane’s Addiction) will screen at 7:00 PM, followed by Sonic Youth: 30 Years of Daydream Nation, a new film from director Lance Bangs, at 8:45 PM.

Immediately following the screenings will be a Q & A with SONIC YOUTH drummer, STEVE SHELLEY, and Desolation Center director, STUART SWEZEY. In a first for the festival, the opening reception will take place on Thursday, March 19 at the Pocket Community Theater at 170 Ravine Street. Tickets are available for $12 HERE.

Valley of the Vapors workshop series this year features a rare Arkansas appearance from legendary punk icon, Keith Morris, a founding member of Black Flag, Circle Jerks, and his current project, OFF! Keith will read from his book, My Damage: The Story of a Punk Rock Survivor at Kollective Coffee and Tea (110 Central Ave.) on Saturday, March 21 at 4:00. This event is free but registration is required. Please see

Low Key Arts and Mid America Science Museum welcome guitarist and musical innovator, Bobby Bray, of San Diego’s The Locust who will lead a free workshop on Do-It-Yourself Virtual Audio Effects Using Pure Data freeware on Sunday, March 22 at 2:00 at ASMSA. Matt Shea, founder of College Station, TX -based Idiot Box Pedals will lead a free workshop on Do-It-Yourself Analog Guitar Pedal building on Saturday, March 21 at noon at Low Key Arts. These events are free but registration is required. Please see

VOV will also feature surprise shows each day as well as the annual painting auction which serves as a major fundraiser for Low Key Arts.
Tickets for Valley of the Vapors 2020 are on sale now at and are also available at the door each day of the event. Daily passes are $10, and a 4-day festival pass is $35. For more information please see

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VOV Volunteer Roundup

Sunday March 15, 5:00-7:00 pm
Low Key Arts, 118 Arbor Street

Mark your calendars! Please join us on Sunday, March 15 @ 5:00 pm for the VOV volunteer orientation and handbook review as well as the opportunity to get your exclusive 2019 volunteer shirt screened by Jose Hernandez! This year, shirts will kindly be provided by Superior Bathhouse Brewery! We will post a link to choose your size soon!

If you would like to volunteer for The Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival (The VOV) 2020 please reach out to our volunteer coordinator, Rob Cox. Email him at

VOV 2020 is March 20-23! Spread the word!!

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10th Annual Spa City Sweethearts Burlesque Revue!

Friday February 14 & Saturday February 15
Arkansas’ largest and longest running burlesque show, The Spa City Sweethearts, is back Valentine’s Day weekend 2020, with a show unlike any other! Don’t miss some of the best burlesque and variety performances Arkansas (and beyond) has to offer!

Featured Hosts:

  • Gentleman Jack Hammer
  • Ace Wildman
  • Tipsy Tart

With performances by:

Astra L’amour, Bang Bang Bloom, Bri Rose, Beatnik Betty, Caerdwyn Adel, Cheetah Nautràle, Count Rosé, Crystal Glass, Doll Eyes, Eva Greenway, Ginger Rose, Ivy St. Germain, Jezabelle Jaxxx, Karma Couture, Kevin Honey, Lana Violette, Love Lee, Maxie Fauna, Minerva Minx, Mischief Managed, Moxie Cyanide, Myra Mains, Opal Sassafras , Penny Slayne, Pepper Darling, Rosa Lee Bloom, Schweeeeet Tea, Sukie Pearl, Sylvia Stems, Tease Supreme, The Siam Fox, Vesper Rose, Violet D’Vine, Zelda Zietgiest and MORE!!!!


Must be 18 years of age or older. Handicapped accessible.
Buy your tickets for each day by following the links below. This event will sell out!

Friday February 14 tickets:
Friday February 14 reserved VIP table for 4 persons:–hot-springs
Saturday February 15 tickets:
Saturday February 15 reserved VIP table for 4 persons:–hot-springs

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Shorts on Tap

Low Key Arts presents an encore afternoon screening of selected highlights from Arkansas Shorts 2020! This event is free and all ages are welcome. Films begin at 2:30 followed by a Q&A with filmmakers in attendance.

Where: The Trough (formerly Core Public House) 833 Central Ave.

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Open Call for Submissions for Arkansas Shorts!

The open call for submissions for Arkansas Shorts – A Night of Short Film 2020 begins Saturday June 1, 2019!

2020 marks the lucky thirteenth year of Arkansas Shorts. To celebrate, we’re extending the limit on film running times and will now accept films up to 20 minutes in length!

Arkansas Shorts is an annual event showcasing short films in 3 categories: Those made by Natives and current residents of Arkansas; by North American Filmmakers; and by International filmmakers. Additionally, Arkansas Shorts is a showcase for the work produced in Low Key Arts’ filmmaking workshop, Inception to Projection, during the prior year. These often include work by a wide variety of local filmmakers, ranging from teens to seniors. Arkansas Shorts proudly takes place in downtown Hot Springs at the historic Malco Theatre.

For more information or to register, please go here:

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Just in time for this weekend’s Rock n’ Roll Buffet, we are very pleased to announce that effective immediately – and from now on – any person with a valid ASMSA student I.D. enters FREE to all Low Key Arts events!

That’s right, just present your current ASMSA identification and you will be admitted free of charge to all public events at Low Key Arts (118 Arbor Street), as well as the The Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival (The VOV)Hot Water Hills Music & Arts Festival, and any other live events produced by Low Key Arts in Hot Springs. We may occasionally ask that ASMSA students RSVP to an event to guarantee entry (Arkansas Shorts – a night of short film has limited seating, for example) but other than that, there’s nothing to remember – except bring your i.d. and be back at ASMSA before curfew!

Many thanks to Corey Alderdice at ASMSA for supporting Low Key Arts and promoting community growth in Hot Springs.

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Low Key Arts presents Inception to Projection – PRODUCTION IN ACTION

Inception to Projection – PRODUCTION IN ACTION is a series of master classes that will give emerging filmmakers experience working on a large scale production. Students will obtain professional on-set training and will have the chance to immediately apply these skills to a music video produced by the class. The course is designed to give students practical hands-on experience that can translate to finding employment in the film industry. The class will correspond with the Valley of the Vapors Music Festival and will create a music video for the band GRANDCHILDREN. Master classes will focus on production protocol, pre-production planning and execution, art direction, lighting and cinematography.


Class Schedule:
Sat., March 2nd 11:00 AM-3:00 PM
Overview of the Project
LECTURE: Crew Position Roles & Duties
The Role of the Assistant Director, Call-Sheets, Schedules, Budgets, Pre-Production Documents

Thurs., March 7th 6:00-8:00 PM
The Role of the Production Designer: Locations, Set Dressing, Props, Wardrobe, Hair & Makeup

Sat., March 9th 11:00 AM-3:00 PM
Assign crew positions
The Role of the Director of Photography and Gaffer
*With hands on Lighting Lecture

Thurs., March 14th 6:00-8:00 PM
Pre-Production Meeting: Review Production Schedule, Shot Lists, Locations, Casting, Call

Sat., March 16th 11:00 AM-3:00 PM
Tech Scout, work in departments to finalize prep

Sun., March 17th: PRODUCTION DAY
EST time 9:00AM-5:00PM

Mon., March 18th: PRODUCTION DAY:
EST time 9:00AM-5:00PM
plus optional filming of the live performance of GRANDCHILDREN at VOV- approximately 9:30PM

FEE is $50 for the entire class (includes all meals during production days)


For further info, please email:

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