The Black House

   The council has occupied this little slice of history since 1999, and has served as a place where the council can promote the arts and cultural heritage of our community.
   Each year, the gallery hosts six major art shows that showcase works from local artists. The council also opens each exhibit with a reception that gives council members and guests the chance to meet the artists and purchase their artwork. .
   Shirley Baugh, a Searcy native and retired banker, recently was hired as the director of the Black House. Shirley's tasks are to keep the historic home in order and watch for any deterioration of the house itself. She is to help in the decision making process of what artists' works to have displayed at the gallery. She gives tours and knows historic information about the house and all of the items that have been donated by the Black family that are in the house on display. The home itself was built in 1874 and was only occupied by the Black family. The house still has most of its original floor and ceiling and even the staircase which was shipped to Searcy from France.
   Shirley says her new job was very attractive to her not because she is an artist, but because she appreciates art. "It's a lot different than working with numbers all day at a bank," she explained. " A Searcy Art Council meeting is much different than a bank board meeting. I love history and I love art, so I figured, you know I might really like to do this job."
   Born and raised in the city of Searcy and longtime member of the council, Shirley was a great choice for the position. "I have lived in Searcy all of my life," she said. "I was born on John Walker farm and was raised in the Harmony community." Shirley joked that people always remember her birthday because of the date, Dec. 7, 1941- Pearl Harbor Day.
   The council tries to plan what is going to be showcased in the gallery about six months ahead of time and are looking forward to some of next year's displays. "In the January/February display, they are going to display some works from artists at Harding University. In the months of March and April, they will have children's artwork displayed." In conjunction with Arkansas Heritage Month, which will take place in May and is themed " Arkansas Arts: Discover Our Treasures," The Searcy Arts Council chose to feature "Music: A Window of Our Heritage." Shirley explained that the council needs some help with the May/June display." The council wants to have displays not only in the Black house, but also events downtown that showcase the different types of music. "We would like to see people who play the fiddle and dulcimers, etc. come and play their instruments downtown."

You pass by it almost every day, and may not even realize the historical significance to our hometown. The Black House (which is actually yellow) was named after a prominent family in Searcy's history, the Black family, and is now a historical museum of Searcy's cultural heritage and home to the Searcy Arts Council.

  Shirley said they are a1solookingfor information regarding the singing schools that used to be a huge part of Searcy If you have memorabilia from these schools, please contact Shirley Baugh at
The gallery is open Monday thru Friday from Noon- 3 p.m. and everyone is welcome to just stop in and check out this historic piece of Searcy and the local art.