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My Town Hero: Shirley Faulkner | Arts & Culture

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My Town Hero: Shirley Faulkner

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. - Hidden away in the River Valley, specifically Russellville, Ark., is a lady that never tires of giving herself to her passion; sharing the gift of music to everyone she meets.

The lady is Shirley Faulkner, the executive director of Arkansas Center for Music Education (ACME). Shirley founded ACME because of her love of music and her deep desire to bring the art of music to the community around her.

The Arkansas Center of Music Education's mission is to provide quality and affordable (free, if needed) music education in classroom instruction, instrumental and vocal ensembles to students, pre-kindergarten to adult, who would not otherwise have such an educational experience available to them. 

ACME is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.  It is ACME’s goal to instill in their students the desire to practice the use of music as a means by which to develop themselves wholly as individuals and citizens in private and in community service through performances and participation in such venues as community events and groups, churches, graduation ceremonies, public concerts or wherever music can improve the quality of life.

Shirley has the ambition and dedication to make ACME’s mission viable for the six counties it serves: Pope, Yell, Johnson, Logan, Conway and Perry. 

Whenever there is a need to bring the art of music to the community, Shirley is there finding a way to meet that need. She works 10 to 12 hours or more a day, most days of the week, 12 months a year without any monetary compensation for her labor. Shirley runs the non-profit predominantly by herself with help from a few volunteers. Shirley’s many responsibilities as director of ACME are secretarial duties for the non-profit, plus being advertising and media manager, she locates additional musical professionals to teach classes, she coordinates the venues for all musical performances, teaches music classes, plans, organizes and executes ACME’s yearly schedule and promotes ACME in the community.

Shirley teaches elementary and general music for home school students, beginning band and orchestra, a music reading class for adults and a weekly music class for special needs students at Russellville High School. Shirley is the musical director of West Central River Valley Community Band, the Community Festival Chorale, Wee Children’s Musical Theater and Children’s Musical Theatre. Shirley organizes and teaches summer activities for the community children such as Summer Band, Summer Musical Camp, Cabaret Camp and all activities culminate with a performance for the parents and community.

Shirley coordinates fundraisers through the year to raise money for ACME. 

ACME solely operates off funds raised though fundraisers, donations and its supporters “Foundation Builders.” Community support of ACME is vital as the non-profit offers musical experiences to everyone regardless of a person's ability to pay. It is important that ACME continues to operate as it serves a critical need for our children, families and community to be exposed to quality musical experiences.

Not only does Shirley perform all of these responsibilities for the community through ACME, but she is the mother of three grown children and a five-year-old who she is home schooling. Shirley’s husband, Dr. Brian Faulkner assists her with some of the daily obligations of ACME and responsibilities of parenting their son, Jaxx.  Dr. Brian Faulkner operates his own educational music business, Makin Music, and teaches workshops all over the state for child care providers and teachers, while Shirley takes care of financial aspects of their company.

Shirley gives herself each day to a cause she is dedicated to and loves with all her being. The only compensation Shirley receives is the smiles of the people she touches with music.