It's a Solarbration

artwork by Tyler S. Arnold courtesy of Dr. John Tennison
artwork by Tyler S. Arnold courtesy of Dr. John Tennison

Glasses ready? Check.
Snacks prepared? Check. 
Sun-and-moon-themed playlist? In progress.

The total solar eclipse, which will pass over the Ark-La-Tex region on Monday, April 8, 2024, is an astrological event that will not happen again for another 20 years, according to NASA. Texarkana has been preparing for the momentous day for ages, but the time has finally come.

Nichole Holze, an adventure and travel-mom blogger local to Texarkana, has not only experienced a similar total solar eclipse before but has also helped to prepare Texarkana for the curious droves of expected visitors and guests.

Holze set out in August 2017, with her two children, at the time three and six years old, to camp on the centerline of totality in Casper, Wyoming. The Holze family made an adventure of the trip and turned it into a month-long journey filled with fun and exploration. To commemorate the 2017 trip and pique growing interest in the upcoming eclipse, she wrote an entry detailing the family’s Casper experience, “Total Solar Eclipse with Kids,” on her blog.

“We planned, we packed, and we took off,” she wrote. “Our route took us out west on Interstate 40. We stopped at every roadside attraction, off-the-beaten-path oddity, and national park we could find along the way.” (To read more about this trip or her more recent adventures, check out her blogs: or

This bit of information would become increasingly important as Holze’s role in helping Texarkana prepare for the upcoming eclipse evolved. Over time, as Texarkana started preparing, she would become somewhat of a local expert on eclipse tourism. In fact, she was quickly asked to help with the behind-the-scenes social media work that the joint city Solarbration committee would commission to help attract visitors to Texarkana. Holze’s journey to Casper would help inform and color the committee’s work.

The Solarbration committee, jointly formed by Texarkana, Texas, and Texarkana, Arkansas, was commissioned to plan for the eclipse, maximize tourism opportunities, and market Texarkana, USA, as a destination for travelers seeking prime eclipse viewing locations. The committee has masterfully branded Texarkana’s eclipse with a website,, a vibrant social media campaign, eye-catching billboards, engaging advertisements, and much more, creating a unified and captivating presence. In all the Solarbration excitement, it would be easy to focus on the 50,000 visitors projected to visit the Texarkana region, but the conversation would be sorely lacking if it did not include all the art and events that have been inspired by the pending phenomenon.

Texarkana native Dr. John Tennison, a filmmaker now living in San Antonio, is one example of an artist who worked on something distinctly related to the eclipse. His collaboration with artist Tyler S. Arnold was a painting unveiled last spring called Texarkana Totality. The image, originally created in 2022, features a character in front of the United States Post Office and Courthouse on State Line in downtown Texarkana wearing special eclipse viewing glasses, gazing up at the skies. It exudes excitement and wonder.

“I came from a background as a child that inspired psychedelic art,” Tennison said. “I knew what I wanted in this image when I took it to Tyler. I had the elements mapped out in my head—mandala, Tibetan sand painting, black light felt poster vibes, circular and concentric—but I never could have put it together the way Tyler did.”

Tennison also traveled to Casper, Wyoming, in 2017 to view the solar eclipse and realized then the next eclipse would impact Texarkana. So, the painting by Arnold and Tennison, focusing on the eclipse, proceeded plans for Solarbration. At Tennison’s request, all proceeds from Texarkana Totality will generously benefit the Texarkana Museums System’s enhancement and augmentation of the Wilbur Smith Research Archives in the oldest remaining brick building within the original city limits of Texarkana, USA.

Tennison’s work does not stop there, as he recently released a Texarkana-based documentary, The Place That Forgot It Existed: A Texarkana Reckoning. The film allowed Tennison the opportunity to collaborate with Los Angeles-based artist Sam Shearon, along with numerous local artists, including Chelsie Bullock, Catt Dahman, Keith Gladney, Candace Taylor, Deric Kennedy, Haley Patillo, Dick Eckstein, Harper Baugh, James Peeples, the singing groups Phed and O’Malley’s Prayer, and many more. Tennison also composed a signature piece called “Texarkana (Time to Shine)” for the film, which he calls the masterpiece.

“I’ve been documenting Texarkana and Texarkana things since I was in high school,” said Tennison, who graduated from Arkansas High in 1986. “I always want to find an interesting way to tell about the people and things that I’ve been lucky enough to experience, and the eclipse is just one of those things.”

Posters, paintings, and documentaries have certainly earmarked the total solar eclipse as an event for the Texarkana history books, but many more events are planned for the month and weekend leading up to Solarbration.

“Texarkana has done a great job preparing ahead of time,” Holze said. “The preparations started last August, and I know it’s going to be lots of fun. Emergency management has done a great job getting ready for the potential influx of people, too. The downtown concerts are going to be great, and there’s something for everyone all weekend long. Both sides of the city are working together to make Solarbration a success. This is a once-in-a-lifetime type of opportunity, and Texarkana is doing a great job embracing it.”

The celebration starts on Friday, April 5, and continues until Monday, April 8, preceded by various groups hosting eclipse-related events.

Downtown’s usual Food Truck Friday will take place Friday, April 5, to kick the weekend off in style.

Texarkana Museums System will host tours of the Regional Museum of History during the Solarbration at a special buy-one-get-one-free price.

Silvermoon Children’s Theatre will also present its spring production, Little Shop of Horrors, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Silvermoon on Broad.

Meanwhile, the Four States Fair and Rodeo will kick off their 79th season at the Four States Fairgrounds on Friday, April 5, with a monster truck show on Friday night and the demolition derby on Saturday. The fair will continue throughout Solarbration.

The Texarkana Symphony Orchestra (TSO) will also present a special performance at the Perot Theatre on Saturday, April 6, as part of their Pops III series featuring Canadian-based touring act Jeans ’n Classics performing highlights from Pink Floyd’s albums The Wall and Dark Side of the Moon in their entirety alongside the Texarkana Symphony Orchestra. A star performer in the arts and entertainment scene, Jeans ‘n Classics is in their second decade of bringing its impressive symphonic rock catalogue to symphonies across North America. Most definitely not a tribute act, Jeans ‘n Classics plans to faithfully interpret the music of legendary rock and pop albums and artists with their own special and signature flair. “Our pop concerts are always fan favorites,” said Andrew Clark, Executive Director of TSO and manager of the Perot Theatre. “This Dark Side of the Moon performance couldn’t have lined up better with all the community buzz and excitement. We are looking forward to a great weekend in downtown Texarkana!” Nita Fran Hutcheson plans to guide tours of the historic Perot Theatre throughout the weekend, as well.

In a historic weekend for downtown Texarkana, there will be live music offerings each night of the total eclipse celebration downtown. Texas Country headliner Pat Green will be on stage at Crossties Friday night. Magic One, Roi Chip Anthony, Cecily Wilborn, and J Lake with DJ Godfather will make up a Southern soul and blues set on Saturday night at Crossties.

The City of Texarkana, Arkansas, will host the Sunset Sinners at the Loading Dock stage at Front Street Plaza Sunday night, and the Emerald City Band and Kin Faux will conclude the Solarbration weekend on Monday afternoon.

Fundraisers, signature cocktails, special brews, sales, and much more are planned. All these events, merchandise, and more can be found on the solar eclipse website, HERE.

Solarbration Event Schedule

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Eclipse of a Lifetime with TC Stem Professor Delbert Dowdy at Texarkana College at 4 pm.

Silvermoon Children’s Theatre presents Little Shop of Horrors at 7 pm.

Friday, April 5, 2024

WALL-E showing at Texarkana Public Library at 10 am and 2 pm.

Food Truck Friday at the U.S. Post Office/Courthouse from 11 am to 2 pm.

Historic Perot Theatre tours guided by Nita Fran Hutcheson at 12 pm.

The 79th Annual Four States Fair and Rodeo kicks off at the Four States Fairgrounds. AMMP Motorsports Monster Mash at 7 pm.

Silvermoon Children’s Theatre presents Little Shop of Horrors at 7 pm.

Chace Rains at Hopkins Icehouse at 7 pm.

2Pianos at Front Street Festival Plaza at 7 pm.

Pat Green with special guest Lane Bricker at Crossties at 8 pm.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Solar Inspired Art Exhibition at 1894 Gallery.

Silvermoon Children’s Theatre presents Little Shop of Horrors at 2 and 5 pm.

Texarkana Symphony Orchestra presents Dark Side of the Moon: A Pink Floyd Tribute at the Perot Theatre at 7 pm.

The Four States Fair and Rodeo continues with the Demolition Derby at 7 pm.

A Night of Southern Soul and Blues at Crossties at 8:30 pm.

Solar Wubs featuring DJs Seige and Rx Evil at Hopkins Icehouse at 8:30 pm.

The Devil’s Doorbell at The Wild Hare at 9 pm.

Sunday, April 7, 2024

The Four States Fair and Rodeo continues at the Four States Fairgrounds.

Historic Perot Theatre tours guided by Nita Fran Hutcheson at 2 pm.

Silvermoon Children’s Theatre presents Little Shop of Horrors at 2 and 5 pm.

Sunday Fun Day benefitting Opportunities, Inc. at Crossties at 4 pm.

Sunset Sinners will perform at The Loading Dock stage at Front Street Festival Plaza at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $25.

Monday, April 8, 2024

Historic Perot Theatre tours guided by Nita Fran Hutcheson at 10 am.

Spring Lake Park opens for eclipse viewing at noon.

The partial eclipse begins at 12:28 pm.

Emerald City Band performs  in front of U.S. Post Office/Courthouse at 1 pm.

Totality over Texarkana at 1:46 pm.

Kin Faux performs at The Loading Dock stage at Front Street Festival Plaza at 3:30 pm.


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