Spotlight on InfoComm 2019

‘Smart’ Event Space Takes the Party to New Heights

Historic 19th century building revives downtown Walnut Ridge, Ark., with event space controlled by ELAN.

CI Staff
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When a fire swept through the downtown area of Walnut Ridge, AR in 1915, only one building survived. It then remained vacant for nearly a century — until September of 2014 when local business owner Fran Cavenaugh purchased the historic building and transformed it into just what the town needed.

The Studio is a premiere space for residents and businesses to host private events. Since Walnut Ridge has no other communal event space, Cavenaugh knew that she needed to provide patrons with a superior quality luxury AV system that was both efficient and easy-to-use. To do so, she turned to Ryan Heringer at Sound Concepts, who suggested that an ELAN control system was the ideal way to go.

“Fran Cavenaugh came to us with a single-floor 7,100 square foot space and the dream of turning downtown Walnut Ridge into a lively hub for local parties and events,” says Heringer. “We knew that we had to unify this massive space with technology that’s conducive to orchestrating a successful event. That’s why we chose ELAN to serve as the central backbone so that one large room turned into a cohesive entertainment venue for any type of event.” 

“With the new audio system, hiring a third-party music provider isn’t necessary. We can simply link up our company’s Spotify account.”

Heringer worked with Cavenaugh to conceptualize and install a complete AV system that provides renters with the crucial elements of any event, including audio/visual components.

“We host all different types of events, from wedding receptions to class reunions to local business meetings,” says Cavenaugh. “We needed the technology to be versatile to cover a wide range of uses depending on the renter.”

To do so, Heringer installed six 70″ 1080p Hz Sharp LED TVs, an Apple TV, and a Samsung BD-H6500 Smart BluRay Player so that any renter can stream content onto multiple screens.

“Since we host a wide range of business meetings, it was important that we include screens where presenters can showcase graphics and additional information,” says Cavenaugh.

For larger parties like wedding receptions and birthdays, music is of the utmost importance. Taking that into consideration, Heringer installed ten different speakers, two of which are outdoors in the front and back of the building.

“We wanted to create an event center that didn’t require the renter to hire a DJ to throw a fun party,” says Cavenaugh. “With the new audio system controlled by ELAN, hiring a third-party music provider isn’t necessary. We can simply link up our company’s Spotify account and let them control what music plays from which speaker.”

Photos: New and Improved 19th Century Building Event Space

While The Studio’s management staff controls the system from a mounted Apple iPad and an ELAN remote, Cavanaugh also uses the ELAN g! app on her smartphone so that she can troubleshoot remotely. “It’s been life-changing to not have to be physically present to troubleshoot a minor, fixable issue,” she says.

In addition to providing audio for private renters, the two outdoor speakers are used to create a new ambiance in downtown Walnut Ridge with a free soundtrack.

“As part of a revival of downtown Walnut Ridge, we like to supply music for people walking by,” says Cavenaugh. “During the Christmas season, we flood the streets with familiar tunes to enhance the experience for tourists and local residents alike. We love that we’re helping set the tone for downtown Walnut Ridge.”

The Studio has been a success in less than a year since the venue opened. “We’re currently averaging three business meetings a week and one wedding per weekend, and we expect those numbers to grow,” says Cavenaugh. “It’s been a wonderful experience thus far, and ELAN helps us ensure that every renter’s event is the best that it could be.”