Incubated at the Northwest Arkansas Council with support from the foundation, the organization will focus on building the capacity of the region's arts and cultural groups in the areas of leadership and professional development, communications, grantmaking, and advocacy. With the goal of encouraging additional support for the arts from the public, cultural tourism, and economic development, the organization also will showcase northwest Arkansas as a premier arts destination and will develop a strategic plan focused on retaining and attracting artists and cultural organizations of all sizes and disciplines to the region.
The launch of the organization is a response to a study commissioned by the foundation in 2015 that recommended creating a central agency tasked with connecting and supporting the region's arts community. The organization will be led by Allyson Esposito, former senior director of arts and culture for the Boston Foundation and a professional artist herself.
"Northwest Arkansas needs to keep investing in arts, culture, and quality-of-life amenities," said Northwest Arkansas Council president and CEO Nelson Peacock. "Allyson's leadership and focus on advancing the arts is a critical component of our strategy moving forward. The organization she'll be establishing will promote regional collaboration to benefit local artists and the entire region."