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Top Five Accomplishments of 2019

Arkansas Arts Council - Thursday, December 12, 2019


ArtLinks 2019

Staff at the Arkansas Arts Council worked hard this past year to provide more professional development opportunities for artists and arts supporters and to bring the arts to more Arkansans statewide. In 2019, we traveled the state, met with more artists and more teachers, recruited new and experienced professionals to lead workshops, partnered with more organizations to grow arts programs and gave out more grants that support the arts.

We are here to support and enhance the creative economy of Arkansas. We are here to make sure Arkansas artists and crafts people are recognized, and we are here to honor those who continue to support and grow the arts in communities statewide.

With that said, here are our biggest accomplishments of 2019:

  • 1. Veterans grant – Although our Arts for Lifelong Learning grant has been around for a while, this year we expanded and added to the main program to allow artists and organizations to apply for funds specifically for veterans arts programming. This new sub-grant category has perks – like not requiring matching funds – and is geared toward bringing arts and crafts to military veterans statewide. Studies have long shown access to the arts helps heal people mentally and physically. We want to see the arts help more of Arkansas’s 207,000 veterans.
  • 2. ArtLinks – Our biennial statewide arts conference drew about 100 people from all over our state. Artists, arts supporters, grant writers, educators, university officials, fundraisers and nonprofit associates turned out to hear best practices for using the arts to build the creative economy at the local, city level and to use the arts to create tighter-knit communities. Attendees left with ideas on how to implement creative placemaking strategies, how to preserve a sense of place and how to create an atmosphere that fosters the growth of the arts.
  • 3. Artspace – We collaborated with government agencies, nonprofit and arts organizations and individual artists to help bring Artspace, a nonprofit real estate and property management agency, to Central Arkansas. The first meetings for Artspace drew hundreds of local artists who are interested in affordable living and work spaces for all genres of the arts. The Artspace market survey kicked off in August and more than 800 artists responded. The findings are expected to be released early next year!
  • 4. Arkansas Poetry Out Loud – The number of Arkansas high schools that registered to participate in the statewide poetry recitation competition grew again this year over 2018. As of now, about 20 schools have registered and school-level competitions have started in earnest. Winners at the school level will compete at the Arkansas Poetry Out Loud competition March 14. Already, more than 50 people have reserved free tickets to attend the competition. Register to attend before all the seats are gone!
  • 5. GetSmART! Learning Series – We held more workshops on more topics and in more locations this year than in 2018! Our line up included screenwriting, memoir writing, grant seeking, grant writing, business planning, budgeting, copyright and fair use laws and more. More than 100 artists, arts supporters and nonprofit staff attended our professional development workshops in 2019. Expect to see a new line up of more GetSmART! workshops in 2020!