Chamber, Creative Institute to Unveil New Mural in Downtown Conway as Toad Suck Daze Begins | News

Visitors to the Toad Suck Daze festival can expect a vibrant new show as they flock to downtown Conway this weekend.

The new mural, visible from the Oak Street side of the EM Building, features an illustrated snapshot of historic downtown Conway with postcard-style text welcoming visitors to the city. The work is a continuation of a series of murals in the building’s large street-facing windows, commissioned by the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Creative Institute of Central Arkansas.

Festival-goers may be able to see the artist in action on Friday and throughout the weekend, putting on the finishing touches. The mural is the work of local artist, Jessica Jones, whose work is featured throughout Conway, central Arkansas and the region. This is his latest contribution inside the EM Building, which houses Studio Downtown and the Creative Institute. Once the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce mural is complete, the building will house three street-side murals and six interior murals.

The artwork is based on a 1940s destination postcard featuring a snapshot of downtown Conway from the intersection of Front and Oak streets. The Halter and Kordsmeier buildings dominate the scene. The back of the original postcard included driving directions “through the beautiful foothills of the Ozark” to Petit Jean State Park.

“The Chamber is thrilled to partner with the Creative Institute to celebrate the artistic and cultural movement taking place in our city,” said Brad Lacy, CEO of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce. “We believe in the power of public art and hope this mural will encourage investment in the arts, entertainment and cultural goals of the Conway 2035 Strategic Plan.”

The Conway 2035 Plan includes more than 140 community-set goals in 14 sectors, including fine arts and performance, live music and public art. The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce facilitated this collaborative plan through the contribution of 1,800 individual survey responses, dozens of committee volunteers and a 13-member steering committee. The plan was finalized at a summit hosted by the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute.

Community goals and ideas on how to get involved can be found at

David H. Henry