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The Latest Press Releases from Arkansans for the Arts

Check out Arkansans for the Arts news, get updates on the latest ARftA events, and read arts news from around the state.

Arkansans for the Arts Plans Multi-District Town Hall Meetings

The first arts town hall with local leaders is in Pine Bluff on April 26.

Arkansans for the Arts, the  only statewide arts advocacy nonprofit organization, kicks off a four-city tour of town hall meetings meant to bring together arts communities and build support for arts advocacy at 11 a.m. Friday, April 26, at the ARTSpace on Main at the ARTx3 Campus, located at 623 S. Main St. in Pine Bluff. 

The event is free, and includes lunch, but seating is limited. Registration is required via Eventbrite or by contacting Executive Director Mariah Hatta at

“We are excited to be back in Pine Bluff for the first 2024 town hall meeting. Our lineup will feature leaders from South Arkansas who work in the vast sector referred to as the creative economy,” said Jean Lacefield, board chairperson for Arkansans for the Arts. “Listening directly to communities, bringing together nonprofit organizations, creatives and artists with civic leaders and sharing how to advocate for the creative economy is essential in building ecosystems that support all aspects of the creative economy.”

Jimmy Cunningham, tourism development director for the Pine Bluff Advertising and Promotions Commission, will be a featured speaker during the event. Cunningham is the director of the Delta Rhythm & Bayous Cultural District, a cultural heritage tourism initiative highlighting music, arts and bayou history along U.S. Highway 65 and U.S. Highway 82 from Pine Bluff to Greenville, Mississippi. Other confirmed speakers include: Dr. Suzzette Shaw Goldmon, assistant professor of hospitality and tourism management for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Pam Griffin, president and CEO of El Dorado Festival and Events with Murphy Arts District, and Chef Cynthia East-Malik, director of Food and Beverage at Saracen Casino Resort

The arts town hall includes lunch and a tour of the ARTSpace on Main, located at the newly named ARTx3 Campus that includes the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas. The ARTSpace features a retail gallery of works by regional artists along with a community gallery space and hands-on arts workshop studios. The two-hour event will cover arts-related issues focusing on southern Arkansas counties. The areas included are related to the Arkansas Arts Council’s arts districts, which mirror the Arkansas planning and development districts, and are outlined at

Attendees will have the opportunity to discuss the arts and creative industries, ask questions and learn how they can advocate for the arts with other artists, creatives and art workers, educators, and community and civic leaders. Each town hall will highlight creative work by local creatives and artists. Participants will be invited to become members of Arkansans for the Arts.

The 2024 Arkansans for the Arts Town Hall tour includes events in Northwest Arkansas, Jonesboro and Conway. Times and places are pending. The event in Pine Bluff is in partnership with the ARTx3 Campus, which includes the ARTSpace on Main, ART WORKS on Main, and the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas.



Arkansans for the Arts Announces New Teacher Award

Nominate a fine arts teacher for a $1,000 award for the 23-24 school year.

LITTLE ROCK – A new award will spotlight and reward one fine arts teacher in Arkansas with $1,000.

“We are excited to announce the inaugural initiative – The Arkansas Fine Arts Teacher of the Year program – to recognize, celebrate, and support arts teachers statewide,” said Jean Lacefield, chairwoman for Arkansans for the Arts. “This program aims to highlight the importance of the arts in education and tell the stories of the heroes who show up every day to improve our children’s lives through art.”

The Arkansas Fine Arts Teacher of the Year program, created through Arkansans for the Arts, annually will recognize one full-time arts teacher who lives and works in Arkansas. Nominations are open from Dec. 1 through Jan. 15 and will reward teachers and educators for the 2023-2024 school year. Anyone can make a nomination.

To be considered for the award, teachers must be full-time fine art educators in one of the content areas of art history, dance, literary arts, music, theatre, or visual art. Educators may teach public, public-private, private, or homeschool in any grade or combination of grades, kindergarten through 12th.  

Nominees will be contacted to complete an application packet for consideration. The final recipient will be chosen by an independent panel via Arkansans for the Arts.

The Arkansans for the Arts Education Committee will announce the final candidate in late spring of 2024. The Arkansas Fine Arts Educator of the Year will receive a certificate and $1,000.

To make a nomination, please fill out the form online at




Groundbreaking Study Reveals Economic and Social Impact of $306.4 Million Nonprofit Arts and Culture Sector in Arkansas

Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 marks the first time this study has been completed statewide.


Oct. 17, 2023 -- Arkansans for the Arts, CACHE, and the Arkansas Arts Council today announced that the state of Arkansas’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $306.4 million in economic activity in 2022. That economic activity–$202.1 million in spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and $104.4 million in event-related spending by their audiences supported 4,800 jobs and generated $49,377,951 in local, state, and federal government revenue. Spending by arts and culture audiences generates valuable commerce to local merchants, a value-add that few other industries can compete with.

“AEP6 reminds us of how critical the arts and culture industry is to community well-being, neighborhood pride, and integrative empathy,” said Jeannette Balleza Collins, CACHE Board Co-Chair. “The data underscores the creative power of the arts to accelerate a common sense of belonging and stoke economic vibrancy, all the while highlighting how diverse representation makes Arkansas stronger.”

These findings are part of a nationwide study, Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6), an economic and social impact study conducted by Americans for the Arts. Nationally, the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6) study reveals that America’s nonprofit arts and culture sector is a $151.7 billion industry—one that supports 2.6 million jobs and generates $29.1 billion in government revenue.

“Arts and culture organizations have a powerful ability to attract and hold dollars in the community longer. They employ people locally, purchase goods and services from nearby businesses, and produce the authentic cultural experiences that are magnets for visitors, tourists, and new residents,” said Nolen V. Bivens, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “When we invest in nonprofit arts and culture, we strengthen our economy and build more livable communities.”2

Key figures from Arkansas’ AEP6 study include:


●        Arkansas’ nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $104.4 million in event-related spending by its audiences.

●        The typical attendee spends $31.57 per person per event, not including the cost of admission.

●        4.9% of arts and culture attendees were from outside the state of Arkansas. They spent an average of $56.40. All vital income for local merchants.

●        92% of respondents agreed that the activity or venue they were attending was “a source of neighborhood pride for the community.” 

●        92% said they would “feel a sense of loss if that activity or venue was no longer available.”


“The state of arts and culture in Arkansas is strong,” said Jean Lacefield, President, Arkansans for the Arts Board of Directors. “The Arts and Economic Prosperity 6 study backs up, with data, what we already knew. When speaking to our elected lawmakers, government officials, and community leaders, being able to reference the real impact of the arts and culture and adjacent industries is vital. This report strengthens Arkansans for the Arts’ narrative that we must increase and continue to support public funding for arts and culture including artists and arts education.”

“The detailed findings of the AEP6 study provide valuable data on the true impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations on Arkansas’s economy," said Patrick Ralston, director of the Arkansas Arts Council. "Local arts organizations are economic engines in the truest sense that consistently bring an enormous return on investment even in rural areas of the state.  It is a privilege for the Arkansas Arts Council to stand with partners like CACHE, Arkansans for the Arts, and Americans for the Arts as we share the good news about our state’s thriving creative economy.”

AEP6 demonstrates the significant economic and social benefits that arts and culture bring to their communities, states, and the nation. By measuring arts and culture’s wide-ranging impact, public and private sector leaders can work together to secure funding and arts-friendly policies that shape more vibrant and equitable communities.

The full report, a map of the 373 study regions, and a two-page economic impact summary for each can be found at




CACHE formed in 2019 to act as the central regional agency committed to connecting, supporting and developing the region’s arts, culture, and creative communities. CACHE brings cohesive vision and strategy to the region’s organic creative activities, uplifting local artists, the nonprofit sector, municipal leadership, creative industries, and arts philanthropy and investments. CACHE programs include the Arts and Culture Bridge Fund, OZCast, region-wide cultural planning, the Music Ecosystem Strategy and Action Plan, and ARt Connect. Learn more at


Arkansans for the Arts

Arkansans for the Arts, is the only advocacy organization whose mission is to advance the arts, arts education, and the creative economy in Arkansas.

Arkansans for the Arts has raised awareness about the creative economy through data compilation, communication, and advocacy leadership training. ARftA serves eight arts districts that coincide with the established districts of the Arkansas Arts Council and the Arkansas State Economic Development Planning Districts. For more information on Arkansans for the Arts, please visit


Arkansas Arts Council

The Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of Arkansas Heritage, advances the arts in Arkansas by providing services and supporting arts endeavors that encourage and assist literary, performing and visual artists in achieving standards of professional excellence. In addition, the Arkansas Arts Council provides technical and financial assistance to Arkansas arts organizations and other providers of cultural and educational programs. Arkansas Heritage is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.


Americans for the Arts

The Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 study was conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. It was supported by The Ruth Lilly Endowment Fund of Americans for the Arts. Americans for the Arts' 297 study partners contributed both time and financial support to the study. For a full list of the communities who participated in the Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 study, visit


Brittany Johnson, Director of Communications, CACHE
Lindsey Tugman, Public Information Officer, Arkansas Arts Council
Mariah Hatta, Executive Director, Arkansans for the Arts

July 7th, 2021: Creative Campuses for the Creative Economy (by Jake Hertzog)

May 18, 2021: Seeking Art + Technology Connections Throughout Arkansas

April 9th, 2021: Building Arkansas’ Creative Economy and Quality of Life (by Lenore Shoults, Ph.D)

April 5th, 2021: Art and Technology in Education (by Lenore Shoults, Ph.D)

March 12th, 2021: Sen. Elliot & Rep. Warren Introduce and File SB531

March 8th, 2021: Sen. Elliot & Rep. Warren Announce “Arkansas Legislative Arts and Technology Bootcamp”

October 6th, 2020: Arts Advocacy Day 2020

August 9th, 2020: Creative Business (by Capi Peck)

July 9th, 2020: Confronting Systemic Racism

April 17th, 2020: The Creative Economy (by Lenore Schoultz, Ph.D.)

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