The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas (ASC) has hired arts administrator and painter Katherine Strause of Little Rock to be its next executive director, effective Monday, March 11, 2024.

“We are absolutely delighted to introduce Katherine as our incoming executive director,” said Assistant Director Lindsey Collins. “Her dynamic energy is simply infectious, complemented perfectly by her outstanding qualifications.”

Strause succeeds Dr. Rachel M. Miller, who accepted the role of executive director of the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History in Pacific Grove, California. Miller led ASC from April 2017 to February 2024.

“Just as Dr. Rachel Miller instilled a legacy of excellence and resilience, Kathy’s spirited and vibrant leadership approach will inject our organization with a fresh wave of enthusiasm and innovation,” Collins said. “We are incredibly grateful for Dr. Miller’s guidance and are eagerly anticipating this new chapter under Kathy’s leadership, as we navigate towards continued success and impact.”

The executive director appointment follows Strause’s history of leadership. She was chair of the art department and professor of painting at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia from 2007 to 2022. Previously, she taught at institutions including Pulaski Technical College in North Little Rock, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the University of Central Arkansas in Conway and the Arkansas Arts Center (now the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts). Strause has also worked in numerous artist residency programs, including one currently at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

Strause said, “I am thrilled to be joining the team at the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas. After meeting with the talented and innovative staff, supportive board of trustees and some of the big-hearted donors, I was sold on the position. I’m looking forward to working with all the folks in the 10-county service area and beyond.”

Sandra Fisher, member of the ASC board of trustees and the executive director search committee, said, “Kathy Strause brings experience, excitement and the enthusiasm needed to continue the upward trajectory of ARTx3’s vision for the future. Her love for art, community and inclusiveness are qualities that will help ensure that we can engage with the largest audience possible.”

Born in Independence, Missouri, Strause grew up in Conway, Arkansas. She earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, and her Bachelor of Arts degree in visual art from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. In 2023, she received a Catalyze grant from the Mid-America Art Alliance as part of its first central Arkansas cohort.

Noted for their vibrant colors and textures, her paintings portray spirited and defiant women and girls. “I want to believe that women are in charge. I enjoy watching women take control in subversive and playful ways. My paintings contain the spirit of that rebellion,” Strause explains in her artist statement. “The figures are on a mission of change; they lack inhibitions, are confident, and have hope for the future. They are in full possession of themselves, in charge of their space, bodies, feelings, and actions. They will not sit down and be quiet.”

Her works have been featured in more than 70 exhibitions, including ASC’s 2020 show, “Whimsy and Flights of Fancy.” Her latest exhibition, “Fierce Women: Paintings by Katherine Strause,” is at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith Gallery of Art and Design through Friday, March 8.

Strause works out of a private studio at St. Joseph Center in North Little Rock. She lives in Little Rock with her husband, David Jukes.

For more information, contact Lindsey Collins at or call 870-536-3375.

About The ARTx3 Campus

The ARTx3 Campus is the convergence of art, creativity, and community in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The campus features three facilities: Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas (ASC), located at 701 S. Main Street, and The ARTSpace and ART WORKS on Main, located at 623 and 627 S. Main Street. All three facilities present programming in the visual arts, performing arts, and STEAM education through exhibitions, performances, classes, and local partnerships. Gallery admission is free. Founded in 1968, ASC is accredited with the American Alliance of Museums and features three exhibition galleries, an interactive youth activity space, and the 232-seat Catherine M. Bellamy Theater. Since 2021, the modern and multipurpose ARTSpace and ART WORKS facilities have hosted live music, local and regional art, diverse workshops, and small productions. For more information, visit or call 870-536-3375.

Support is provided in part by the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas Endowment Fund, the City of Pine Bluff, the Pine Bluff Advertising & Promotion Commission and the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Division of Arkansas Heritage, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional operating support is provided in part by the Windgate Foundation, Ben J. Altheimer Foundation, Kline Family Foundation, Relyance Bank and Simmons Bank.